The Providence Pilots have proved this season that they can hang with anyone in the MCAC on any given night. With the second seed locked up going into next weekend’s Final Fours, they know the team they’re going to have to hang with is the College Wesmen. In Week 18, despite a banged-up lineup, they sent a message with a dominant win against CMU, and a breakout performance from Richard Rodgers – this week’s Athlete of the Week.
With 23 points, five rebounds, two steals, and 32 minutes of playing time, Rodgers used his increased role on the team to carry a large load in the Pilots 87-53 victory against CMU. Although his style of play doesn’t usually light up the score sheet, it sure did in Week 18. But despite his offensive output, head coach Colten Gryba sees his defensive ability as the true key to Rodger’s success.
“Richie has been big for us all year, especially on the defensive end as he is tasked with guarding the other team’s top scorer,” says Gryba. “He stepped up in a big way for us last week as we were without three of our regulars, and we were looking for a spark that he really provided for us.”
Even with his 23 points, Gryba was quick to mention that Rodgers also put in the work to shut down his man on defense, and that is where the first-year Australian will be heavily leaned on for in the upcoming Final Fours. There are a lot of talented offensive players who stand in the way of the Pilots and the MCAC Championships, but if Richard Rodgers can continue on this path, he could be a real x-factor for the biggest games of the Providence Pilots season.