An integral part in the Pickerington Central "Big Three" that helped lead the Tigers to yet another district championship in 2014, junior guard Rodney Culver had himself a coming out party in Central Ohio. A lanky, but very athletic two-guard, Culver was third on the Tigers in scoring this past season, behind seniors Jae'Sean Tate (Ohio State signee) and Connor Kern (Arkansas State signee). As Culver is picking up mid-major Division I interest, let's take a look at the junior guard in the first part of a year-long series profiling Ohio hoopers through a mix of interviews, analysis and highlight videos.
Interviewing Rodney Culver
Question: So first off, what are all the schools talking to you at the moment?
Culver: As of now, it's just Bowling Green, Dayton, Wright State, Northern Kentucky, and Ohio.
Question: Do you have any visits planned for the summer and are there any schools that you are hoping to visit that haven't shown any interest yet?
Culver: As of now, the only visits set up are for Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky sometime in the next couple of weeks. I'm also hoping Michigan comes along.
Question: Who would you compare your game to? College or pro, doesn't matter.
Culver: I think probably Caris LeVert. My freshman year of high school, which was his senior year, people always said we played alike. I didn't really think so, I just thought they said that because we were built the same. Now that I actually break it down, we do play alike. We are both long, lanky guards that do everything; defend, put the ball on the floor, score in a variety of ways, rebound and can create for ourselves and others.
Question: I thought the exact same thing, actually. What type of things are you looking for in a college program and what type of play style would suit you best at the next level?
Culver: I personally think I can play in a lot of different styles, but if I just had to pick, it would be an attack style, getting up the floor, pressure defense. And a coach that I know will be there my whole career, rather than going and having a different coach than the one that I got to know during the recruiting process and my freshman year at the university.
Question: Being in a successful program at Pickerington Central, what types of things have you learned from people like coach Jerry Francis, Caris LeVert, Jae'Sean Tate and Connor Kern?
Culver: HARD WORK AND DEDICATION REALLY PAYS OFF. Coach Francis taught us how to win and handle adversity. Caris, Jae'Sean and Connor have crazy work ethics and are all successful. Caris wasn't even on the No. 1 All-Ohio team and out of everyone in that class that he graduated with, he is having the most success at the college level, also being projected as the No. 4 pick in next year's NBA mock draft. Not saying it's anything wrong with Division II, but Connor was committed to a D2 school in Wheeling Jesuit, and he continued to work and work, and he got his D1 offer in Arkansas State. JT (Jae'Sean Tate) is just a hard-worker and had a non-stop motor and improved his perimeter game from his sophomore year, to where he can be considered a shooting guard going to Ohio State instead of an undersized power forward and also earning a top 30 spot in the national rankings.
Question: If someone had no idea who Rodney Culver was, how would you describe yourself to that person?
Culver: A laid back kid that never gets too high or too low, likes to have fun like a normal teenager, but at the same time is still focused on his priorities and loves basketball.
Men Lie, Women Lie, Footage Doesn't.
Still unfamiliar with Culver? Take a look at his junior season highlights below.
Take a look at Culver's ability to put the ball on the floor here in this devastating crossover that was made Vine famous.
The Scouting Report
What does Culver do best? In the case with the Pick Central junior, there isn't one skill that Culver particularly relies on, but rather a combination of different things that the 6'4 guard can do on the floor. In whatever situation that he is needed, Culver is capable of delivering.
In a 74-70 win over area powerhouse Columbus Northland on Jan. 25, Culver had arguably his best game of the season. Finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, Culver helped Pick Central mount a late rally to take down the Vikings, 74-70. In that contest vs. Northland, Culver was dominant on the glass, and a major part in the Tigers' transition offense that game, which relied a great deal on the junior's play-making ability on the defensive side of the ball.
After Tate went out with a season-ending shoulder surgery in early February, Culver and senior guard Kern would greatly increase production in the final month and a half of the season, leading the Tigers to a district championship. Averaging 17 points per game in the final nine games without Tate in the lineup, Culver showed the type of promise that the junior possesses with four 20+ point games in that span.
As Tate and Kern both graduate next month, the keys to the Pick Central engine will be handed over to none other than Culver. With the drive and determination to reach any destination, don't be surprised if Culver leads the Tigers down a familiar path in 2014-15.