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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rodgers far from dream

    Chris Rodgers
    Chris Rodgers

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – Former Arizona guard Chris Rodgers probably didn’t think he would be sitting on the bench in front of approximately 200 people the summer after his senior season.

    Playing just seven minutes for the NBA Pros, a group of basketball vagabonds coached by former NBA player Olden Polynice at the Long Beach Summer Pro League, Rodgers wasn’t willing to talk about the path his career has taken.

    “”This is a bad time,”” he said while walking out with a teammate from whom he was receiving a ride.

    For the one-time NBA hopeful, this is indeed a bad time. Rodgers was not taken in the NBA draft, was passed over by NBA summer league teams and found his way onto a free agent team roster by coming to tryouts a day before the summer league began.

    Polynice said Rodgers’ talent was clearly above everyone else who showed up, but it was evident that Rodgers dominated the tryouts with sheer talent and nothing else.

    “”He has to realize that it’s not all about talent,”” said Polynice, who played 15 seasons in the NBA, the last with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003-2004. “”When we had the tryout he was so much better than the other guys and, yeah, he outshined them, but he’s playing the same way now against better competition, and that’s why his game is struggling.””

    In four games, Rodgers is averaging just over five points, but similar to his career at Arizona, the inconsistency is extreme. In his first game, Rodgers poured in 15 points in 15 minutes, but hasn’t scored more than two points in any game since. Effort has always been an issue with Rodgers, who was a highly touted scorer as a prep in Oregon.

    “”Not just in practice but in games too,”” Polynice said of Rodgers’ lack of effort. “”Again, I think it’s because of the talent. He doesn’t have the awareness that he has to put 100 percent, or that he has to go hard.””

    When asked if Rodgers was disappointed that he wasn’t drafted, he responded by saying, “”I’m done at Arizona. (Former guard) Hassan (Adams) is in the league. He’s the one to talk to.””

    Polynice said he has seen the Rodgers’ story before. With so many players chasing the NBA dream, a large number fall through the cracks.

    “”A lot of young guys, and even guys in the NBA, they’re going through that,”” Polynice said. “”They’re lucky to be drafted, and they think that’s it, and they don’t realize it’s a lot of hard work, not only being in the league but maintaining your status in the league and staying in the league.””

    So what now for Rodgers? A trip to France (Rodgers speaks fluent French) to play in one of the leagues there? An NBDL stint in the United States? Will he quit basketball all together?

    “”I’m just gonna leave it up to the people’s imagination,”” Rodgers said.

    The summer league comes to an end this Wednesday, and Rodgers will have to make a decision on his future in the game. The NBA is a far cry from where Rodgers will likely end up.

    “”He has the NBA talent, but I don’t know if he has the NBA mentality,”” said Polynice, pointing to his head.

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