Growing up in Washington D.C Rodney McGruder didn’t start playing basketball until the Boys and Girls club he played football for advised him that he could be good in basketball because of his length at such a young age. So giving it a try McGruder has transformed himself into a great basketball player with the help of one special person.
“I learned from my sister, my sister taught me the game of basketball,” said McGruder.
McGruders’ sister helped her brother become one of the premier shooting guards coming out of high school in 2009’. McGruder was nabbed as the No. 89 prospect in the ESPNU 100 and No. 84 in the Rivals150 ratings. McGruder was highly recruited by five teams that all offered the 6’4’’ shooting guard a scholarship, but instead signed with K-State joining his AAU teammate Wally Judge.
Rodney McGruder rose into Frank Martin’s radar when he came into Bramlage Coliseum with teammate Wally Judge for an AAU Tournament. During that time, guard Rodney McGruder showcased his scoring abilities as well as his potential to play college basketball.
Rodney is at his best slashing to the rim as well as beating the defender of the dribble as he showed during the Texas game. Rodney excels in transition as he showed with his key baskets in the loss to then No. 2 Kansas and in the win against then No. 1 Texas.
Rodney McGruder is a 6’4’’ shooting guard that has adjusted to his role on this successful Wildcats team. Hasn’t really been big in the scoring column but is big on the defensive side of the ball.
But Rodney is here to let you know he isn’t just a defensive specialist or a great slasher. He is also a great shooter.
“I use to be just a slasher but now I’m working on my jump shot and became a better shooter,” said McGruder.
In the third game of the season Rodney led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points which is a career high for the young freshman. McGruder ended the game shooting 4 of 5 from three point range and 83 percent from the field which is all career highs. Rodney was the first player for the Wildcats to hit four three pointers in a game.
“He works hard, at one point in time he kind of inspired me,” said Wally Judge “we always pushed each other through high school, after the season was over we had won our state championship, Rodney was in the gym every day.” Then added “the way he scores the basketball is amazing to me.”
You hear nothing but good things about the freshman guard from Washington D.C. Kansas State coach Frank Martin stated “He’s got one of those unique talents that’s hard to teach. The ball finds him,” said Frank Martin “Sometimes on defense he’s lost, he’s running around trying to figure out what’s going on and the ball ends up in his hands.”
Rodney McGruder has become a special player for the Wildcats so early in his career. When Frank Martin calls McGruders’ name to check in you’ll get a spark off the bench as well as a defensive presence. When presented with 20 plus minutes in a ball game he is scoring 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds on 64 percent field goal shooting.
McGruder is headed into the right direction with his performances for the Wildcats this season. However he is not counted on to produce consistently.
With every good player there is always a downfall. During this season McGruder has played well against opponents, has been the key sub off the bench behind Jamar Samuels but not in the most recent stretch. Lack of production and the improvement of Sutton have played a big part in his minutes being cut. It doesn’t help when both Denny and Jake play large minutes with the addition of Sutton playing well.
With still a lot of basketball left to play McGruder can make a case for the starting line-up next season since Clemente is in his last year of eligibility. As long as McGruder can improve his jump shooting ability, ball-handling skills, strength, and learn a lot from the Wildcats run in the NCAA Tournament he’ll go down as one of the great basketball players in Kansas State history.
You can catch McGruder and the Wildcats in action next on the road at Texas Tech before returning home to host Missouri in the “K-State Proud” game.