We continue our look at the 2012-2013 Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball team by moving our attention to one of the other final members on the basketball depth chart, former walk-on Alex Rogers.
2009-2010 Christian Brothers University stats: 3.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG
2010-2011 Christian Brothers University stats: 5.1 PPG, 2.9 RBG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG
A Look Back:
Alex Rogers, a transfer from little heralded Christian Brothers University in Tennessee, transferred to Ohio State as a walk-on before the 2011-2012 season. Per NCAA bylaws, Rogers was required to sit out the year though practiced with the team providing much needed organizational depth. Rogers as a walk-on makes total sense: gritty, hard working, hungry. But when you actually look at his performance in the 55 games he played at the Division II level, it makes it more challenging to figure out what he can provide at the Division I level.
In going from a bit player his freshman year at the Memphis based private school into a starter, Rogers' numbers didn't exactly swell. He only managed to reach double digits in points in two different games, which is sort of a problem when folks bill you as a shooting guard. If we're talking strictly his ability to play defense and/or distribute the rock and potentially classifying him as a 1, well sure, but his assist-to-turnover ratio was only around 1.3 and he only managed to account for 1.1 steals per game. He also averaged in the 60% range on free throws during his two years at the school. While that may have been par for the course with 2011-2012 Buckeyes, it's probably something Thad Matta, Jeff Boals, and company are doing their best to move away from.
You certainly need minutes and warm bodies and certainly from a practice perspective, guys of his ilk are always essential to a team's long term success but alas.
Thad Matta made a lot of heads turn when he gifted Rogers with a scholarship (the team had one to give) in the latter portions of this summer. Because the awards are renewed on a year to year basis (as opposed to the movement away from this at the football level), it's not as though it's going to cripple the Buckeyes should there be a need for Ohio State to hold an extra spot for someone in the class of 2013. Rogers had planned to pay his own way anyways, so I imagine he'd be amicable to do what he already does on and off the court, put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making everyone else around him better.
It's also a testament to how much respect he's garnered in and around the team for Rogers to play his way into the award in the first place. He deserved kudos accordingly, but we probably shouldn't get our hopes up that he's going to help Ohio State win many games on the court.
Outlook for 2012-2013:
Rogers will likely only see time in the same capacity Mark Titus and now Arizona assistant Danny Peters did: in the waining moments of games too far out of reach for whatever happens on the court to have a consequential impact on the outcome of the game. That's not to take anything away from Rogers, it's just the reality of the situation. If the NutHouse rallies around Rogers and makes it into something celebratory when he gets on the court, that certainly works. Again, guys like him kill themselves physically and sacrifice an inordinate amount of their personal time to make everyone better.
Best Case Scenario:
Rogers hits a couple of late open jumpers or records some lines that aren't trillions. Perhaps he also does something so remarkable that he takes away some of Titus' SEO love when you Google "ohio state walk on" (unlikely).
Worst Case Scenario:
Rogers never sees the court aside from two or three non-conference games in the final 30 seconds to a minute and records no non-minutes played stats on the season. He continues to earn the respect of his teammates through his labors and helps the team be better for it. Not such a terrible potential worst case scenario.