July 20, 2011

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Kevin McCarthy

Vegetables grow in Salinas, not necessarily basketball players, but Frank Rogers is doing his best to alter that thinking.

photo of Frank Rogers

At 6-foot-8, with averages of 14.3 points and 14.1 rebounds plus sending four shots a game in the other direction as Rogers did for Salinas High this past season, long looks are merited. Granted the competition wasn’t Oakland Athletic League standards but, more importantly, spring and summer play involved participating with a regional club basketball team so attention didn’t gravitate Rogers’ way.

But Cabrillo College in Aptos was paying attention and now the Seahawks have a replacement for graduated Bert Hall and his just under a double-double performance each game.

For the record, Salinas High went 23-2 last season, 11-0 as champion of the Tri-County Athletic League and Rogers was feted as the Most Valuable Player.

Now checking in at 210 pounds, it was basketball and football for the young man -- that is up until his freshman year when he went all in for hoops.

His reason was and remains simple: "It was more fun. I’ve had a basketball in my hands since I was two."

Besides his numbers, Rogers also sports a streak of modesty. Asked about his best basketball skills, he deferred, offering "I don’t know. I like to work on my all around game and want to develop every part. I know I need to get stronger in the post."

Plus, he demonstrates a sense of self-awareness. A query about the differences between his game as a freshman and now, Rogers said "I’m a lot smarter, bigger and more comfortable playing. With my accumulated experience, I see the game better."

Cabrillo Assistant Coach Rob Hoyt pursued Rogers since the latter’s junior season. "We found him [Rogers] to be someone you like to be around. He is well spoken, very intelligent, hardworking and extremely coachable -- and that last one is a skill."

Hoyt continued, "Frank has good hands, he can run and finish around the hoop with both hands. He picks things up fast and from April to now is a different guy."

But Hoyt cautioned, "He needs to get bigger, to work on body and put on weight and muscle."