Terry Rozier landed on campus with a point to prove. He was originally a commitment for the 2012 recruiting class and could have been a member of last year’s national championship team. Academic concerns prompted him to spend a year at Hargrave Military Academy with future college teammate Anton Gill. While he could have just been another story of a highly-regarded recruit failing to make the grade (literally) and ending up at another school, potentially to never live up to the hype, Terry Rozier stuck to his goal, determined as ever, to make it to the school of his dreams.
The work ethic has never been a question with Rozier, dating back to his early days in high school as an undersized freshman who simply forced his coaches to play him purely out of his passion, toughness and drive to excel on the court. His high school coach Danny Young claimed he had “the heart of a lion” and that the coaches couldn’t afford to hold him back for the team’s success and for Terry’s. Even with the odds against him, facing bigger, older opponents, Terry shined and continued to do so throughout his high school and prep school career, all the while maintaining the commitment to improve every area of his game and himself as a student.
Some 28 months after he initially committed to the program as a high school senior, Terry is halfway through his freshman season, not only laughing in the face of the odds that said he wouldn’t end up at Louisville, but steadfastly contributing in a Rick Pitino system in which, historically, few freshman make a significant early impression. Since the start of conference play, Rozier has averaged just shy of 24 minutes of game time logging 8.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He’s also shooting 39% from the floor and 48% from the 3-point line. Care for a comparison? Another notable Pitino player averaged similar numbers – 8.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25.1 minutes per game – as a freshman. That was Terrence Williams.
What makes Rozier, like Williams 8 years ago, capable of contributing as a freshman under Pitino when many other highly-rated recruits haven’t been able to do so? It might simply come down to the fact that Terry stayed true to his work ethic. According to GoCards.com, Terry chose the number 0 “to start all over. Everything in the past means nothing.” See, Rozier still has a point to prove, which makes him a rising talent with a seemingly ever-rising ceiling.
The scary thing is that the young man carries himself in such a professional manner on and off the court, that you don’t really have to worry about his head getting too big from his personal accomplishments because of the determination and work ethic that he learned growing up, from his family and coaches. He shows the maturity of an upperclassmen and every bit of the potential of a highly-touted prospect. This may even be only the beginning for the do-everything guard from Ohio, because if we’ve learned anything so far about Terry Rozier, it’s that the he’s determined to be the best and that the term “freshman” really only applies to his academic standing.