Tag Archives: Angel Rodriguez K-State

Rodriguez transfers from Kansas State

22 Apr

 

Angel Rodriguez, Kansas State’s point guard from Puerto Rico, announced Monday that he is transferring from Kansas State after leading the Wildcats to a Big 12 championship this season.

Once a freshman with a tendency to dribble too much and drive too wildly into the paint, Rodriguez matured this season into an electric playmaker who ranked near the top of the league in assists-to-turnover ratio. He contributed 11.4 points per game and 5.2 assists per game. He drained 3s in big moments, sliced to the rim for layups and got to the foul line. Coaches voted him All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team.

In short, the sophomore looked ready to be a leader in 2013-2014, ready to help push Kansas State to make this year’s league title more than an anomaly.

Instead, Rodriguez is the third of three players who are leaving the program before their eligibility has expired.

“It is important that everyone understands that this was a really difficult decision,” Rodriguez said. “I have really enjoyed my time here and this decision was based entirely on my family and has nothing do with Kansas State, basketball or the coaching staff. It’s unfortunate after the year we just had, but I just feel right now this is the best thing for me and my family. Whether it is the right choice or not, family has and always will be first with me.”

His statement included more favorable comments about head coach Bruce Weber, who replaced former coach Frank Martin and had to re-recruit Rodriguez, among others, to stay after Martin left. Rodriguez said he made the right choice to stay, even though he is leaving now.

“It was the right decision to come here and I don’t regret it all,” Rodriguez said. “Coach Weber and his staff made the transition a lot easier than I ever thought it would be. He made me a better player and to play with more confidence. I never thought I would get this close to my teammates. The past few days have been difficult for me, just thinking how this decision would impact them. However, at the end of the day, I have do what I think is best for my mom and my brothers.”

A native of San Juan, Rodriguez played his first two years of college basketball more than 2,000 miles away from home. His mother came to a game this season, and it was the first time she had seen him play since before high school. While Weber is undoubtedly disappointed by the defection of his point guard of the future, he could hardly be critical in his explanation of Rodriguez’s reason for leaving.

“After multiple conversations, Angel feels an obligation to be closer to his family,” Weber stated. “His mother is raising his two younger brothers all by herself in San Juan and he just wants to be able to see them more often.”

The coach added that while Rodriguez played an integral part in the team’s championship run this season, his loss is an opportunity for someone else to emerge in a bigger role. The Wildcats now have three scholarships available for the coming year.

 

Calling on Angel

17 Feb

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Against the University of Kansas, freshman guard Angel Rodriguez played his worst game. Not just the worst game of his career, but the worst game of his whole entire life. In what was his ninth straight start of the season, he did not score, and he turned the ball over seven times.

Coach Frank Martin thinks of a young Jacob Pullen and recalls a scenario that was not so different. But few others do.

“We all remember the final product with Jacob,” Martin said. “There were a lot of bumps early, but the reason I never quit on him was because he never quit on himself, and that’s what you look for as a coach.”

Playing against the likes of Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor, Oklahoma State’s Keiton Page and many other talented guards in the Big 12 conference, Rodriguez has learned the college game with a slim margin for error.

“There’s no forgiveness in this league,” Martin said. “It makes you grow up.”

Since Rodriguez cracked the starting lineup a few weeks ago, he is averaging 8.8 points and a team-leading 3.3 assists in 21.4 minutes per game. In four of the nine games he started, he scored in double figures. At times, his willingness to go aggressively to the basket breathed life into the Wildcats, and in other situations, it hurt them.

As Rodriguez sat along at the media table on Thursday night, his brown eyes still looked haunted at the mention of that most recent game. He watched it over and over and over in the film room, and when he talked about it to reporters, it seemed as if he reviewed the plays in his head yet again, trying to pinpoint what had gone wrong. In the second half against Kansas, he played much better than he did in the first 20 minutes. Trying to tell him that, though, is a lost cause.

“To be honest, when I think about the KU, all I think is negative stuff,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t get any positive thing about that game, so all I’m taking is the negative stuff and trying to make it into a positive for the next couple games we have.”

The way Rodriguez continued to work to improve in practice after his uncharacteristic performance against Kansas encouraged his coach.

“He isn’t going away,” Martin said. “Like all freshman, he’s had some moments where he’s had some mental lapses and he’s gotten frustrated and hasn’t handled things, but that’s between he and I. There’s no quit in him. That’s not who he is. He didn’t come out here to quit after a bad day or a bad game. He’s going to keep fighting.”