Mr. Basketball Preseason Candidate: Austin Rotroff

High School
Ohio

Posted On: 10/26/17 7:00 AM

Austin Rotroff, one of the top centers in Ohio, burst onto the state scene by taking a 27-2 Waueson team to the Division II State Championship game last season. Wauseon eventually lost to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary but Rotroff tallied 24 points on 61 percent shooting, 16 rebounds, and 8 blocked shots during the weekend. Over the entire season, Rotroff averaged 13 points, 8.3 boards, and 2.1 blocks, good enough for Second Team All State.

When looking at the formula below, it feels like Rotroff, a Duquesne commit, could make a run for the Mr. Basketball award in 2017-18.

First of all, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball must have elite talent. Since 2001, only LeBron James (#1 NBA Draft pick) and Justin Fritts (Wheeling Jesuit) didn’t play Division I basketball.

Next, we considered projected team success. Again since 2001, 10 of the 17 Mr. Basketball winners led their high school team to the State Final Four that season.

Then, the most important piece of the formula considered is production. We’re considering the player’s projected role on their team to predict if they have the opportunity to fill up the scorer’s book. It’s especially imperative that you put up points, as the only Mr. Basketball to average under 20 points since 2001 was Jared Sullinger at 19.9 points per game in 2009. But, Sullinger made up for that tenth of a point by averaging 14.8 rebounds, being the #2 player in the country, and winning the Division I State Championship.

So, let’s see how we grade Rotroff in each qualification.

Talent: A

Rotroff is going to be a contributor for Duquesne. He is a low-post scorer who gets the ball into the rim over either shoulder. A college weight room and training regiment will help him, but Rotroff already clears space with his drop step. Rotroff is also a game-changer as a rim protector. He combines a long wingspan with the ability to move from the block to the elbow quickly, making every two-point attempt tough for the opponent.

Team Success: A

Wauseon lost their leading scorer in Carter Bzovi. Bzovi was a reliable point guard who stretched the floor. But, the offense can be ran through Rotroff and Brooks Gype. Because of that and the impact Rotroff has on both ends of the floor, we expect Wauseon to be one of the top teams in Division II again. Last season, they ended #8 in the State AP Poll, and they should be right around that spot again.

Production: B+

At 56.7 points per game, Wauseon doesn’t play a fast pace. And they shouldn’t either, considering their best player is an interior scorer. But, it could be hard for Rotroff to make a seven point leap this season, given the pace of most of their games. There just isn’t enough shots most of the time.

However, his production will still definitely be very solid. He could average a double-double with about 3 blocks per game. We could also be underestimating how much more Wauseon will dump it inside, given the loss of Bzovi.

Rotroff’s chances:

Now that Rotroff is a known figure across the state, he’ll definitely be on the voters’ radar all season. In order to win, Wasueon is going to have to repeat their one-loss regular season and Rotroff will have to get up over 20 points per game. They likely won’t play in a lot of marquee games in front of big crowds, so Rotroff will need to be incredible in the scorer’s book.