|Ross taking time to fit in with JCSU|
|Transfer among leaders in scoring, rebounds|
|Published Saturday, December 30, 2017 11:03 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Johnson C. Smith junior forward Roddric Ross, who played high school ball at East Rutherford, is averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.|
Roddric Ross isn’t rushing to be the focus of Johnson C. Smith basketball.
The 6-foot-7 junior college transfer has settled into a role where he’s averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game with the 8-4 Golden Bulls. It was a struggle early, though, until coach Steve Joyner offered some advice.
“Coming up, coach Joyner just talked to me about being patient within the offense, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately,” said Ross, an East Rutherford High alumnus who transferred to JCSU from Caldwell Community College. “That opens up a lot and makes the game a lot easier for me because I’m not forcing a lot and making smarter plays for me and other people on the team.”
That includes better decisions off the court, too. Joyner sidelined Ross for the CIAA opener against Lincoln for a violation of team rules as an example that no one was above reproach. JCSU lost the game, but the lesson was unmistakable.
“At this particular point in time, we’re planning for league play,” Joyner said. “So, we need everybody to be healthy, everybody to be accountable. He was not accountable for us [against Lincoln] and we didn’t have him. It was a difference and we’re hoping he can hang in there and keep moving forward.”
Ross got the message. He dropped 19 points in an 82-65 win against Bowie State and 15 in an 83-77 loss against Queens, the nation’s No. 2 team in Division II.
“This is a pretty close team off the court and on the court,” Ross said. “When we play together, I feel it’s pretty hard for anybody to come in [Brayboy Gym] and beat us, or when we’re on the road.”
Ross will need to be at his best for JCSU when the Golden Bulls return from the Christmas break. After a non-conference game against Carson-Newman on Jan. 2, they travel to CIAA North Division foes Chowan and Elizabeth City State.
“All the way down to our last man, everyone plays a role in our offense, and our defense, we come out every night and work hard,” Ross said. “As long as we give it our all every night, there’s really nothing anybody can do with us.”
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