Rosario Big East Rookie of the Week | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / February 6.
  • Rosario Big East Rookie of the Week

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    After Mike Rosario scored a team-high 26 points in Sunday night’s loss to No. 1 North Carolina, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams pulled Rosario aside and offered him a compliment.

    “He said that he wishes me the best of luck and that I’m a great player,” Rosario recalled Monday. “He said, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be successful in life.’ Coming from him, that meant a lot to me. That basically motivated me more with my season and as far as my future goes.”

    Said Williams: “[He’s a] fantastic young man, fantastic player; we really liked him. He played for coach [Bob] Hurley at St. Anthony. I saw him practice several times. I didn’t know if I’d have a chance to grab him at the end of the game, so when they took him out I yelled at him–it’s a great game. He’s really a good youngster. He’s a load; a freshman averaging 16 a game and he comes in and gets 26 against us and some of them were fairly tough shots. But, I think their whole team really has the pieces to the puzzle in place.”

    That wasn’t the only good news for Rosario this week. The Rutgers freshman was also named the Big East Rookie of the Week.

    Rosario scored 26 in the 97-75 loss to North Carolina after posting 24 points in a 78-52 win over NJIT on Tuesday to earn the honor.

    “They’ve gotten better as team,” Carolina guard Ty Lawson said. “Mike Rosario is a good player, knocking down shots. They were a lot better than last year as far as I can remember…their system is good and they are going to be a team to watch out for in the future.”

    Rosario is averaging 17.5 points-per-game to lead the Scarlet Knights and all Big East Conference freshmen (tied for sixth overall) in scoring. He is the league leader from the free throw line, with an impressive 88.1 percentage (37-42) mark, while also placing sixth overall in the Big East in three-point field goals made (2.77). In the most recently released (Dec. 21) NCAA stat rankings, Rosario placed fourth in scoring and tied for third in free throw percentage among freshmen nationally.

    At the Dean Smith Center, Rosario shot nine of 17 from the field, including four of eight from behind the arc, en route to his game-high tying output. He was also four-of-four from the free throw line and dished out three assists against the undefeated Tar Heels. At the RAC against NJIT, he shot eight of 11 from the field, including five of seven from behind the arc, en route to his game-high total. He also grabbed four rebounds and made two steals versus the Highlanders.

    For the week, Rosario shot 17 of 28, including nine of 15 behind the arc, to average 25.0 points in the two games. He was also 7-8 from the free throw line and averaged 3.0 rebounds.

    The Scarlet Knights, in the midst of their history making week, host No. 3-ranked Pittsburgh in a 2:00 p.m. tip-off at the RAC on Wednesday (Dec. 31). RU then travels to Storrs, Conn. to meet the No. 2-ranked Huskies on Saturday (Jan. 3) evening. Rutgers is believed to be the first team to ever play the nation’s top three-ranked squads consecutively, and is doing so in a calendar week.

    FRESHMAN SCORING LEADERS

    Seth Curry, Liberty, 20.4 ppg

    Sylven Landesberg, Virginia, 18.3

    Afam Muojeke, Wyoming, 17.7

    Mike Rosario, Rutgers, 16.8

    Courtney Fortson, Arkansas, 15.9

    Keith Gabriel, VMI, 15.6



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.