Thursday, August 8, 2013

Top 20 Departing #5: Gabe Rogers

I am counting down the top 20 players that are departing the Big Sky via graduation, transfer, or any other way.

Gabe Rogers had an up and down career at Northern Arizona, mostly due to an injury. After his sophomore year, where he averaged 13.0 PPG and shot 47% from three-point range, he looked like he would be a star in his last two seasons. The he suffered a shoulder injury in the offseason, and even though he was able to return for part of his junior year, he wasn't the same player. As a junior, he averaged 10.2 PPG and shot just 31% from the floor.

Last season, he became the centerpiece of an NAU offense that didn't have a lot of guys to create their own shots, leaving much of the scoring burden to him. While his efficiency numbers didn't look great (39% shooting overall, 37% on threes), he put the offense on his back, which sometimes forced him into less than stellar shots. He finished the season averaging 17.9 PPG, among the best in the conference.

He took 33.5% of the team's shots when he was on the floor, the 15th highest mark in the nation. Despite having the ball so much, he did take good care of it, with a low 16.6 turnover rate. Though he wasn't great at getting to the free throw line, he got better at it as his career went along, which was a boost since he shot over 81% from there last year.

I am not sure if Rogers would have been as valuable to any other team in the Big Sky last year as he was for NAU, but they needed him to be the centerpiece of their offense, and he took that responsibility every night, which helped other guys around him perform better. His 18 points every night will be tough for the Lumberjacks to replace.

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