By Diana Chamorro
Entering his fifth year at Santa Clara University, Brandon Rohe has definitely matured and overcome many obstacles affecting not only his minutes on the court, but how he spent much of his free time. Rohe came to Santa Clara to play basketball under head coach Dick Davey as a recruited freshman from Santa Margarita Catholic High School. The 6-4 guard from San Juan Capistrano has evolved not only personally, but also as a Bronco men's basketball player during his time at SCU. Rohe has been challenged on and off the basketball court, resulting in a well-rounded individual, not just player, who is ready for his fifth and final season at Santa Clara.
Entering as a freshman, Rohe was immediately a standout player and definitely proved his abilities on the court. Breaking Steve Nash's freshman record for most three-point field goals and attempts, as well as cementing his name in the record books for most assists, free throws and steals as a freshman. After being one of only three players to appear in all 28 games, it appeared to only be the beginning for young Rohe's career. After such a noteworthy rookie season, breaking records and creating his own, it seemed as though he would only get better with age and experience on the Bronco rooster.
Unfortunately that was not the case. His sophomore season began well with him consistently playing solid basketball, but ended abruptly due to a back injury that would affect his play that year and for the next couple years. Instead of playing what would have been his junior year in 2004-05 he had to sit patiently and observe from the bench due to his problematic back injury.
Coming back from a year of rehabilitation as a redshirt junior last season, Rohe saw limited minutes throughout the season due to continual problems with his reoccurring injury. While he did play well when healthy as evidenced by his three steals against UC Riverside and his three-for-four shooting from behind the three-point line against the University of Portland, he never fully regained the form of his freshman campaign. Now, he is entering his final season at Santa Clara and is looking to make up for lost time and help lead the team to a successful run in the West Coast Conference.
As a fifth-year senior, Rohe is one of the most experienced players on the team, being around the program the longest. With this level of seniority he definitely has much insight about the program.
"We have a lot of depth this year, but the only thing that could hinder us is injuries," Rohe said about this year's team. "Everyone has some bumps and bruises right now, but nothing too serious. We are fortunate enough to have five fifth-year seniors and a lot experience and depth. The juniors, like Brody (Angley), Mitch (Henke) and sophomores, like Calvin (Johnson) and John (Bryant), have now been around the program for a couple of years now are much more experienced."
With many veterans on the team this year, their age, experience and knowledge will definitely aid in the success of the team in the 2006-2007 season. In preparation for this season, many players spent their summer continually practicing and conditioning; however Rohe did not have that luxury. He had to have back surgery in an attempt to further heal his ever-present injury.
"I don't know if I will be 100 percent by the time the season begins, but I am definitely coming along," he said. "It is a very long process, but everyday is a different day. It could be a good day, a bad day so the way I play if is definitely dependent on how I feel."
Naturally Coach Davey would love to have Rohe consistently back in the lineup and have his former standout freshman perform at a high level again. Davey and the rest of the coaching staff will definitely be evaluating all the players' performances and seeing who is ready to have key roles this season.
"We started practices about three weeks ago, and they have been going pretty well," said Rohe. "Our first scrimmage did not go as well as we would have hoped, but we are coming along. We watched a lot of film, and our coaches discussed different stuff we need to work on. We have not totally gelled yet since a lot of us were not around all summer and we need to get used to each other again. However, I think with practice we will once again play at a high caliber."
Personally Rohe is looking forward to playing as much as he can in his final season with the Broncos.
"I am ready for my final season, but I definitely wish I had had a few more healthy seasons. There is nothing I can do about it now, and we will have to see how it goes. This season I just want to be healthy enough to play in games, and we have a pretty good team that could be very successful."
In the broader spectrum Rohe has much on his plate, with graduation anticipated for this spring, he is also taking into account his plans after this season.
"I guess I have to get a job, but I would like to play as long as I can if I can go anywhere. It is truly dependent on how my back feels, and if I want to deal with it anymore," he said. "Most likely I will get a job, which is what the real world is all about. Over the summer I did a real estate internship in San Diego with my brother, so maybe I'll join the real estate business, but other than that I don't have any real concrete plans, and I am keeping my options open."
No matter where he ends up, or how this season goes, Brandon Rohe will always be a Bronco basketball player. He has made an impact on the program both in the record books and also with his teammates. This very personable individual truly has a love for the game, which is seen through his perseverance to overcome a painful back injury. He will definitely be a leader on the court when healthy, but no matter what he will continue to show his teammates leadership from the bench with his insight and knowledge of the game.