Donovan, Hurley Hope Rosario Reaches Potential at Florida
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — As Mike Rosario heads into his senior season at Florida, his former and current coach share one thing in common.
They both want to see the vastly talented shooting guard from Jersey City, N.J., realize his potential.
“One of the most frustrating things in life is when someone with potential doesn’t reach their potential,” Hall of Fame St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley told SNY.tv at the Brayden Carr Foundation Clinic at Rutgers.
“So all we want to see is this kid who we love — he’s been in our gym since he was a little kid — that he plays to his potential this year and helps Florida to be a team that last year was a field goal away from playing in the [Final Four].”
The 6-foot-6 Rosario averaged 6.6 points last season at Florida, but with Bradley Beal (NBA) and Erving Walker (graduation) now gone, his role will expand exponentially.
Gators coach Billy Donovan will now rely even more on Rosario and fellow shooting guard Kenny Boynton.
“I think he can help our basketball team,” Donovan said of Rosario after speaking at the clinic. “I think he can be a big part of our team, but I think there’s certain things that he has to take care of on his end and if he can do that I think he’ll have a really really great senior year.”
Donovan said he may play some three-guard sets with Scottie Wilbekin, Rosario and Boynton, but that unit will have to work hard to rebound, something that Beal excelled at.
“Mike’s more of a craftier offensive player,” Donovan said. “Boynton’s got more explosion and more athleticism than Mike. Mike’s a crafty kind of player. He’s got all the tricks. He can flip it up. He’s very interesting.”
Rosario achieved a lifelong dream this summer when he played with the Puerto Rico Senior National Team during Olympic qualifying. Playing behind guards like J.J. Barea of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Carlos Arroyo, Rosario averaged just 3 points in two games.
“I think it was a humbling experience with Barrea And Carlos Arryo and having to back those guys up and maybe not getting a lot of minutes,” Donovan said of Rosario.
“I know he was really disappointed that they were really close to making it to the Olympics. I think that would have been an exciting experience.”
No one has ever doubted Rosario’s talent. He helped St. Anthony go a perfect 32-0 and win a mythical national championship during his senior season. He was the first McDonald’s All-American ever to commit to Rutgers.
But after being handed the keys to the kingdom as a freshman, his game — and attitude — went into a freefall.
He transferred to Florida after his sophomore season to help resurrect his game and his career.
“The bad habits that he established after leaving us, he’s had a year with Coach Donovan to get those habits out of his system,” Hurley said.
Donovan agreed, saying more than anything, Rosario needs to be accountable in this, his final year on campus.
“I think Mike’s whole thing for us this year is the accountability part,” he said. “Just being accountable to do the things he needs to do. And it’s not necessarily him as a player – what he can and can’t do – it’s him just taking care of the things he needs to take care of. And he’s a great kid. I’ve really enjoyed being around him.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.