Dec. 27, 2002
When recruiting players, Santa Clara has always subscribed to the philosophy of telling a player his weaknesses rather than blowing smoke about how a kid will start for four years before heading to the NBA. Brian Jones told me the first thing Dick Davey told him was that he didn't defend well, but could be a pretty good player down the road.
That day came in his third game as a freshman when B.J. torched Marquette for 34, but he also added six steals and became the best defensive player on the team. By his senior year, the coaching staff believed he should have been the defender of the year, an award which went to Gonzaga's Mark Spink.
Six years later, the Broncos have a freshman guard Davey feels can "be pretty good down the road" if he works on his defensive deficiencies. I feel the conservative forecast is just that. If he continues to improve, Brandon Rohe will play the lead in the fourth remake of "A Star is Born."
With injuries to Kyle Bailey and Bakari Altheimer, Davey has turned to Alex Kargbo and Rohe at the point. A natural two-guard, Rohe dished out 4 assists without a turnover in the blowout win at Loyola. Two of the dimes were jaw-dropping 50 diagonal chest passes that resulted in transition layups. While his point guard skills don't yet bring back visions of Woolery, Nash or Jones, his scoring ability is fun to watch and will be put on display tonight at the 36th annual Cable Car Classic.
"I played a little point over the summer so it's not much of a change," says Rohe. "It's trying to work through the system and learn all the plays that is a little difficult. "
Rohe comes off the bench, but is the second leading scorer on the team at just under 12 points a game. He has a high game of 22 against UC Santa Cruz and led the Broncos with 17 against the Greyhounds, including five of six from the three-point line.
However, he's more than a spot up shooter who can get his own going to the basket. Decision making will be an issue, taking the line from Al McGwire, "The best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores." His defense is a work in progress and he needs to avoid his Velcro attachment to screens along with ball-man relationship in positioning.
Like Jones and Kyle Bailey, Rohe is unfazed with errors and missed shots. In his 0-for-10 game against Washington, Rohe kept firing and like the rest of his teammates, came up empty (4-for-32 in the second half).
"A lot of the players were telling me to keep shooting, so you'll hit the next one and if you don't keep shooting and eventually one will go in. You've got to work through it and keep shooting."
Family support has been key to the rookie's adjustment to college. His parents are season-ticket holders who drive up from Southern California for all the games at Leavey. Last weekend, they upped the ante, making the five-day trip to Baltimore.
"It's awesome. My brother also made the trip out here so it's nice to have the support they give me."
Kris Kristofferson broke into show business after landing a helicopter on Johnny Cash's yard to drop off some songs. "Sunday Morning Come Down" was the song of the year in 1970, but his career fizzled with his role as John Norman Howard in "A Star is Born". Brandon Rohe's star is getting ready to rise and Bronco fans get a chance to see him land the chopper this weekend. Ask the coaches about him and they'll tell you he's got a chance to "be pretty good." He has a CHANCE to be much than that.