Ready for the next step

Isaiah Rogers is one of the best point guards in the area.

Ready for the next step
March 02
14:04 2022

If you are a basketball purist who loves to see a pass-first point guard who prefers to get his teammates involved rather than focus on his stats, look no further than Reagan’s Isaiah Rogers.

Rogers is the starting point guard for the Raiders’ JV team, but the sophomore point guard has the skills to start for many varsity teams around the area. With their talented roster at Reagan, Rogers commanded the team to a 20-3 record and conference championship this season.

“My goal this year was strictly focusing on leading a team with not only my basketball skills but with my voice,” said Rogers. “I am definitely a floor general and always have been. That’s definitely the approach I take when I play basketball. It’s not only to get looks for myself but also for my teammates.”

Rogers really showcased his skill during the Lash/Chronicle Tournament in December. He led the Raiders all the way to the championship game of the Lash Bracket, but lost in a close game to Mt. Tabor.

“Our mentality, not only in the tournament but the whole season, is to go 1 and 0 every day,” he said. “So that’s what our main focus was; to go 1 and 0 every quarter and win every half. We didn’t really look at it as a tournament or championship game, we just focused on going 1-0 and focusing on us.”

Throughout the season, Rogers has continued to evolve as a player. He has broadened his game to know when he needs to score and when he needs to pass.

“I think everybody, especially after that championship game, found their role and what they were best at and that’s how we kept having success throughout the season without playing out of our game,” he continued. “We always stayed true to who we were and that helped us out a lot.”

Rogers’ progression this year has also included him being more aggressive with his scoring. He remains a true point guard at heart as he has the uncanny ability to know when to shoot and when to pass.

“I look at my teammates and their faces and body language and I can tell when they are leaning on me to figure out what to do next,” he said. “After I get them their looks and get them their buckets, then I can go out here and do me when it’s time.”

Rogers is ready to make that jump to the varsity level next season. He knows as the point guard, the team goes as he goes, so he used this JV season as preparation for what’s to come.

“It all starts with the point guard and the point guard paces everything,” he said. “If the point guard is playing slow, the team is going to play slow. If the point guard is playing fast, the team is going to play fast.

“Everybody is looking at you when you are on the court, so your body language and facial expressions are everything. It’s not just basketball, it’s not just your skills, it’s everything else that helps a point guard be great.”

Rogers says he models his game after Chris Paul because he picks and chooses when he wants to score, but prefers to get his teammates involved.

Rogers’ father Vernard Rogers is a coach on the AAU circuit and has his own organization called Next Level Prospect Basketball. Mr. Rogers noticed the leadership qualities in his son while playing little league football and his love for basketball began after watching the original Space Jam movie with Michael Jordan. 

Coming into high school, Mr. Rogers expected his son to perform well immediately because of the hard work he put in preparing for the moment.

“Yes, I did, I was definitely expecting him to do what he’s doing,” said Mr. Rogers when asked if he expected his son to perform so well so quickly. “I know he has the skills and right now it’s just him growing with the game mentally more than physically.”

Mr. Rogers says he noticed at the beginning of the year Isaiah was still trying to figure things out, but as the year progressed, he became more aggressive. With two years left of high school, Mr. Rogers feels his son can improve to be one of the best players in the city.

“I think he is going to be great considering he is just 15,” he said about Isaiah. “I think he is going to be an absolutely great point guard, definitely when he turns 16/17.”

As a coach, Mr. Rogers doesn’t contradict anything his son’s coaches tell him. He instead uses the AAU season to prepare for school basketball. He also trains his son during the offseason to prepare him for anything his high school coaches will have for him.

“I don’t say anything when it comes to school ball and when I do my travel ball, I actually train him to play school ball, so we don’t necessarily play travel ball for the travel ball expectations, we play it for school expectations,” he continued. “So, when school ball comes, I keep my mouth shut. I don’t say anything to the coaches at all. I feel like I have him prepared for any coach he gets in front of.”

Rogers’ JV coach JD Oglesby has high praise for Rogers. Oglesby and Rogers knew one another prior to his freshman season, so there was some familiarity there, making his transition from middle school to high school that much easier. Oglesby says Rogers has blossomed into a tremendous floor leader over the last few years.

“He is a lot more confident now. Seeing Isaiah in middle school, he always had talent and had a higher IQ than most of the kids, but he was not nearly as assertive as he is now,” said Oglesby about how Rogers has progressed over the years. “His confidence is the biggest thing that has changed.”

Coming into the year, Oglesby knew he had a good team. His goal for JV is to finish the year better than they started individually and as a team, along with preparing them for varsity.

“I put the owness on myself and my guys to produce and perform in the biggest times and the biggest moments every night,” he said. “As far as the expectations, I think we exceeded them. Isaiah is awesome; I had Isaiah in the JV program for two years, so I knew what I was getting with him, but even he exceeded expectations from a leadership standpoint.”

According to Oglesby, there were multiple conversations about putting Rogers on varsity this season, but they felt it would be better for him to continue to develop on the JV level this year.

“Part of our agreement was if he was going to play JV, he was going to lead the team, he was going to show that he was the best, he was going to get everyone into position, he was going to learn the game, he was going to grow within the game, and he even exceeded my expectations in that,” Oglesby continued. “Second half of the season, Isaiah probably talked to the team as much as I did.

“For Isaiah, I believe he has grown into the type of floor general and leader that any coach would want at any level. Moving forward, like anybody would, his skill level still has to increase, but as far as the intangibles and leadership, no coach at any level could ask for more than what Isaiah does right now.”

Oglesby says he will miss Rogers more than your typical player. He says you can find another shooter, or scorer, or passer, but having a player that encompasses everything you want out of a point guard is hard to replace. If he continues to develop, Oglesby feels that Rogers can be the best point guard in the area before he graduates.

“I have not seen a kid in the city, regardless of level, with the vision that Isaiah has,” he said. “He’s playing chess while others are playing checkers. He just has an understanding and a comfortability on the court that not many kids have, regardless of level.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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