Game one is in the books for the USA U18 men’s basketball team, and a future Illinois basketball superstar didn’t disappoint.
It was a big deal when Illini commit Ty Rodgers received the invite to try out for the USA U18 men’s basketball team. When he made the team consisting of 12 of the best players from around the country, this opened the eyes of many to how good this kid is going to be.
The team just finished up their first game on the road to win gold on Monday night. Team USA took on the Dominican Republic, and from the start, this wasn’t a close matchup.
Team USA could have stopped scoring at halftime and we would have won the game. A 59-20 halftime lead quickly turned into a 116-48 victory for the Red, White, and Blue.
Rodgers got the starting nod in the first game for Team USA. The superstar wing played 14:12 in the game and finished with seven points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals while shooting 2-of-3 from the field and 3-of-5 from the free throw line.
Illinois basketball commit Ty Rodgers is the complete package and more.
This was a game against the Dominican Republic, so I have to take everything I am seeing with a grain of salt. But what Rodgers displayed in game one is exciting.
My first thought when I see him on the court is he is bigger than I thought he would be. As the game went on, another attribute I love with Rodgers is the fact he is constantly moving. He doesn’t just stand around and wait for the ball to move. He is actively moving around the perimeter or cutting to the basket for a potential bucket.
Rodgers is a playmaker in the truest form as well. His handles are really good for his size. He had a play early on in the game where he went behind his back while driving and finished at the hoop for an and-one. That tenacity to get to the hoop is exciting to see.
I want to point out Rodgers’ communication skills as well. He was helping his teammates get in the right spots on defense and set up plays on offense. The leadership qualities in him are unteachable. Those are natural abilities. I can honestly sit here and say, I think Rodgers was the best overall player on the court on Monday night.
Illinois basketball is in good hands with Rodgers. The future is extremely bright, but I am not sure this kid is going to last more than a couple of years. He has NBA written all over him.