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The Potential of Ty Rodgers

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Ty Rodgers is starting to show his immense potential.

Illinois basketball brought in an incredible recruiting class this year. The headliner of that class was arguably the 6 foot 6 wing from Saginaw, Michigan. Ty Rodgers was a consensus top 60 recruit, and was such a massive recruiting win for Illinois for a multitude of reasons. First off, Michigan State was hot on his tail. Rodgers is the nephew of former Spartan great, Jason Richardson. Additionally, Rodgers had that Draymond Green vibe that Tom Izzo was likely heavily interested in. He’s known as a high motor, versatile forward who just plays really darn hard.

Rodgers was also a starter for the FIBA u18 USA team. Ayo Dosunmu and Adam Miller were previously a part of this squad prior to joining the Illini, and had success while there. This ultimately translated to success on the Illini team. Despite Miller leaving, he started practically the entire season and showed immense promise. With Rodgers showing he was a key cog on this team, the expectation was that he would.

Not the start you would expect

Rodgers, however, struggled to start off his Illini career. Rodgers’ lack of a consistent jump shot severely limited his offensive impact, and he was not able to consistently use his physicality to his advantage as he did in high school. Ty practically looked like Da’monte Williams without the ability to knock down an open 3. Hence, he looked limited and at sometimes detrimental.

However, recently Rodgers seems to have found what works. He has simply played extremely hard and let the rest figure itself out. Rodgers is a plus-athlete, and he has used that to sky over individuals for rebounds, particularly on the offensive glass. This has allowed him to play more minutes under Brad Underwood, which in turn has allowed him to get into a rhythm

A mild offensive spark.

In the game against Penn state, Rodgers finally reached double digit points. He was able to take his defender into the post and confidently get to the basket. He additionally always crashes the glass, which allows him to join the highlight reel for putback dunks. In the last 8 games, Rodgers has averaged 4.8 points and 5.8 rebounds on 72% fg percentage. Though he obviously is not taking jumpers, this is an outstanding efficiency for a wing.

I stated the other day that staying old in the Big Ten pays off. Rodgers will hopefully be with Illinois for at least 2-3 years, and will hopefully expand his offensive game and potential. Doing so would allow him to have an Aaron Henry like impact to the game. Henry was not a knock down shooter, but was an elite defender and physically gifted enough to impose his well in the post.

Talking to Ant Wright, he feels that Aaron Henry is a strong comp for a guy like Ty Rodgers. Henry turned into a key piece on a very successful Michigan State team. Brad Underwood said from the beginning that he always would try to emulate the success and culture that Tom Izzo created at Michigan State. Having a player develop his potential under you like Ty Rodgers is the first step.

Alex is the Owner of Armchairillini.com, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.

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