Posted On: 10/28/17 6:00 AM
Dayton Springfield was 19-3 in last year’s regular season, good enough for the #10 spot in the Final AP State Poll. After losing their two leading scorers to graduation, they’ll need new faces to step up. During this grassroots season, a couple of those players emerged, one of which being junior 6’2” point guard JaJuan “Jay” Rodgers (2019).
“People aren’t expecting us to be that good, but we’re going to shock them … [In the starting lineup] it will probably be me, Mike Wallace, Sam [Towns], Leonard Taylor, and RaHeim Moss,” Rodgers told Prep Hoops.
While, as Rodgers mentioned, the expectations from the outside aren’t high for Springfield, the team itself is excited for the upcoming year.
“I think [the expectations] are just as high, maybe even higher honestly. We feel like we’re going to be really good … We have a lot of key guys; we’re all going to be incorporated this year, it’s not going to be just mainly two guys,” Rodgers said.
After playing sparingly as a sophomore, averaging 3.1 points and 1.7 assists, Rodgers has been preparing like crazy over the last several months.
“Definitely my best offseason … Just really been in the gym a lot. Been lifting a lot, that’s the big difference in my game — being stronger. That’s the big thing is being ready for the season, because I know I got to do a lot more than last season,” Rodgers said.
The work showed in July with Pro Bound. He displayed a nice in-between scoring game, with a sneaky pull-up from about 10-feet and a floater. The lefty is also a shifty dribbler who changes speeds to get into the lane.
“Before this past summer, I was mainly known as just a shooter. So, my mid-range is really, probably my best shot. I’m really consistent on that shot. But, I’ve been getting to the basket a lot … [I’m a] playmaker/scorer,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers came onto our map in July. But more importantly, Division I programs also liked what they saw during the live period.
“Miami came, I worked out in front of them, been talking to them — Miami Ohio. Northern Kentucky was in to watch me and Sam’s open gym yesterday. They said they would stay in touch with me and Sam, they said they liked us both. Vanderbilt, that’s probably the biggest one, they’ve been calling my dad a lot. Kent State, I played at a camp in front of them, they like me and they’ve been calling my dad. Youngstown State was talking to me for a while,” Rodgers said.
Of the five schools that have shown interest, Vanderbilt is sticking out the most.
“I take my ACT [today], that’s what they’re waiting on. And they want me to come down for a visit,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers has taken a visit to Kent State before, which was his first.
The 3.7 GPA student told us that he doesn’t know exactly what he’s looking for in a program quite yet. However, he and teammate Sam Towns have dreams of playing at Xavier together in college.