ShareThis Page
Robert Morris

Robert Morris men's basketball looks for new leaders

Paul Schofield
| Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, 11:05 p.m.
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor shoots a 3-pointer over Long Island-Brooklyn's Trevon Woods in the second half Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor shoots a 3-pointer over Long Island-Brooklyn's Trevon Woods in the second half Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at Sewall Center.

Now it's Rodney Pryor's turn to be a leader at Robert Morris.

One year ago, Pryor was in the same shoes as the incoming recruiting class.

He was unproven on the Division I level and was coming off two seasons where injuries sidelined him.

But after helping Robert Morris return to NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years, Pryor and fellow senior Aaron Tate will look to nurture the incoming class.

When practice officially begins 10 a.m. Sunday, they will be there to lead the way.

Pryor said he didn't know what to expect during his first year of D-I basketball after two injury-plagued seasons.

He surprised himself with how well he played last season, which ended with the Colonials playing in the NCAA Tournament and defeating North Florida before falling to eventual champion Duke in the Round of 64 in Charlotte, N.C.

“I really impressed myself just to see how I could come back mentally and physically and be able to accomplish what I did,” Pryor said. “I credit my teammates and coaches for pushing me every day and making sure I did my rehab and was staying accountable.”

Now he gets a chance to hold other players accountable.

The players have big holes to fill if the Colonials are to make a repeat performance in the Northeast Conference and NCAA tournaments. RMU must replace senior Lucky Jones and NEC Rookie of the Year Marcquise Reed, who transferred to Clemson.

Pryor, Reed and Jones combined to average 45 points. Pryor averaged 15.6 points. But who will replace Reed and Jones?

Sophomore Elijah Minnie (Lincoln Park/Monessen), who averaged 6.8 points, and junior point Kavon Stewart are two players expected to pick up the scoring.

“We have to lead the guys the right way and always trying to be positive,” Pryor said. “Showing guys how to bring it every day.

“It will make my role a little tougher because I'll have to bring it every day because these guys will be looking up to me.”

Tate said he talked with coach Andy Toole earlier this week about being a leader.

“We have some talented new players that are eager to learn,” Tate said. “We have to teach them how to come together.”

The newcomers include freshmen Isaiah Still, Matty McConnell (Chartiers Valley), Steven Whitley, Joe Hugley and Jordan Lester and junior college transfer Billy Giles.

Toole said while it will be tough to replace Jones and Reed, he sees no reason why it can't be a group effort.

“We knew Rodney had that potential, and he started the season with some big games,” Toole said. “He was able to stay pretty consistent. What Marcquise did last year was a little bit of an anomaly. He was able to score, but he still had a lot to learn about when to give up the ball and playing defense.

“I don't know if we have someone like Marquise, but we could have a bunch of players that average between 9 and 14 points per game. We expect Rodney to be above that.”

Robert Morris (20-15) got hot at the right time last spring, putting together a seven-game winning streak which cumulated in an NEC Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Paul Schofield is a sports writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me