NCAA Basketball: 5’2 guard Darnell Rogers coming up big at UMBC

Darnell Rogers is 5’2 and will give your whole team buckets. Here’s a look at NCAA Basketball’s smallest player with a big game on display.

It almost seems like it was meant to be when Darnell Rogers signed with UMBC back in June. A team that shocked the NCAA Basketball world just two years ago, brings in a player that has and continues to beat the odds himself. The Retriever guard hasn’t had the easiest path to get to where he is now, but it seems like he has finally found a home in Baltimore.

If you were a fan of high school mixtapes a few years ago, I can almost guarantee you came across Rogers’. He was an internet sensation ever since his first mixtape dropped back in 2014. The videos consisted of quick crossovers, acrobatic finishes, and impressive scoring numbers against even some of the most talented high school teams of 2014 through 2016.

Video after video, the comments consisted of haters claiming he would never be able to do this at a higher level, but Rogers would continue to prove them all wrong. He even starred on “Team CP3”, an AAU program run by none other than Chris Paul.

Side Notes About the Video:

  • Rogers scored 18 points and had 5 Assists
  •  Played against a stacked Oak Hill Team
    • Lindell Wigginton: Iowa St
    • Matt Coleman: Texas
    • Devontae Schuler: Ole Miss
    • David McCormack: Kansas
    • Billy Preston: G League
  • They lost 102-56

Darnell has had an interesting road since high school. His impressive high school numbers landed him with a scholarship to George Washington, his dad Shawnta Rogers’, alma mater. A legend at GW, Shawta who only stood at 5’4, was able to average over 20 points per game his senior season with the Colonials. Rogers was a pest on both sides of the ball, averaging over 2 steals per game each of his 4 years. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in Washington D.C for Darnell and he never played a game for George Washington University.

He then made the trip to “Dunk City”. His one year at Florida Gulf Coast was frustrating for him. He only played in garbage minutes and it eventually led to him leaving to go play a year of basketball at a Junior College. He finished his one season with the Eagles appearing in 20 games and only seeing double-digit minutes in one game against a Division 1 opponent. His next year consisted of putting up some impressive numbers at New Mexico Junior College. His final averages were: 14 PPG to go along with 3.7 APG.

The one-time high school phenom had once again been doubted. Ryan Odom gave him another chance to compete at the Division one level in June of this year. It was different this time though. He worked extremely hard and earned a starting spot for the Retrievers for opening night. He came out and impressed with a double-double to start the season. He followed that up with a “revenge game” against Florida Gulf Coast where he finished with a game-high 21 points and four rebounds, including the game-sealing rebound and free throws. You could see the fire and confidence he was playing with that night, as he could be seen looking at the FGCU bench and players after made shots.

Then came the game where he was thrown into the national spotlight, LSU on SEC Network. Twitter blew up, with tweets about this 5’2 guard that was scoring against one of the better teams in the entire nation. The announcers couldn’t help but laugh after each made bucket Rogers poured in. In the end, the extreme size and athleticism of the Tigers were too much and UMBC and Darnell Rogers fell 50-77.

Next: Teams exceeding expectations so far

He finished with six points and four assists. Rogers may have not caught the victory in Tuesday night’s matchup, but he did catch the attention of the college basketball world. This 5’2 kid is a baller and will continue to prove it throughout the 2019-20 season

Season Stats Through 11/19: 14 PPG*, 3.6 RPG, 5.0 APG*           

*Team Leading