Rodney Rogers 2014
Rodney Rogers came to Wake Forest from Durham Hillside High School in the fall of 1990 as one of the most decorated recruits in Demon Deacon basketball history. He was a Parade All-America third-team selection after averaging 28.9 points and 13 rebounds per game as a high school senior, where his games were considered a “must-see” by long-time residents and sports enthusiasts in the Bull City.
The accolades were endless for the powerfully-built forward with a surprisingly silky smooth left-handed jump shot. Rogers was a first-team all-state pick and named the state high school Player of the Year by the Associated Press following his senior season. He was named Mr. Basketball by the Charlotte Observer and was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina. In the McDonald’s All-America game, he scored 17 points in helping the East beat the West, 115-104.
Rogers made an impact on the Demon Deacons right from the outset of his freshman season. He averaged 16.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1991. He was also named the national Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, Rogers averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was a first team All-ACC pick in 1992, the only sophomore so honored.
The following year, as a junior, he was a unanimous first team All-ACC pick, the ACC Player of the Year and an All-America selection after leading the ACC in scoring at 21.2 points per game. He also became the only player in Wake Forest history to earn both ACC Rookie of the Year (1991) and Player of the Year (1993) honors.
For his career, Rogers averaged 19.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, and he scored in double figures in 86 of 89 games including the final 66 contests of his career. He was part of three NCAA Tournament teams, leading the Demon Deacons to the second round in 1991 and to the Sweet 16 in 1993. Further, he was honored with consecutive Arnold Palmer Awards in 1992 and 1993.
With the support of coach Dave Odom, Rogers chose to turn pro after his junior season and was a first-round draft pick (ninth overall player selected) of the Denver Nuggets. He spent two seasons in Denver before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers following the conclusion of the 1995 season. He spent four years with the Clippers before signing with the Phoenix Suns in 1999. A year later, he was honored as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
In 2002, Rogers was traded to the Boston Celtics. He signed with the New Jersey Nets in August of 2002 and helped the club advance to the NBA Finals. His final year in the NBA came during the 2004-05 season, which he split between the New Orleans Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rogers had his No. 54 jersey retired by Wake Forest in 1996. In 2004, he was inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame.