Rose becomes on-court leader after transfer
Sophomore guard L.J. Rose didn’t think he would have to deal with the same nagging obstacle when he transferred from Baylor.
The Cougars’ starting point guard sustained a foot injury and missed five games midway through the season — the same injury he had during his junior year in high school.
Rose, who averages 8.3 points per game and leads the team in assists with 5.2, said the injury made it tough for him to adjust, but it just meant he had to persevere more to prove himself a productive point guard in the American Athletic Conference.
Rose said he now feels comfortable in his role as one of the leaders of this team.
“He’s still just a sophomore, but anytime you put the ball in the hands of your guards, you expect them to be leaders out there,” said head coach James Dickey.
Adapting to his new environment was easier than he expected, but simultaneously having to deal with an injury made it more challenging for Rose. He said he had to put in extra work to feel right mentally. Fortunately for Rose, he had welcoming teammates, some of whom he already knew, like junior forward Mikhail McLean and sophomore forward Danrad Knowles. Rose, Knowles and McLean all have Bahamian roots.
The coaching staff was also helpful, which made transferring a fluid process, Rose said.
“(Transferring) is almost like starting over, but we were thrilled to have him eligible immediately, and he knew a lot of our guys and they knew him, so it was a smooth transition,” Dickey said.
It was an up-and-down process for Rose to adjust after coming back from his injury. During his rehabilitation, he was keen on returning to game shape and getting his timing back. Now that Rose has his timing back, he feels like he is able to contribute.
The 6-foot-4 Rose has even earned some admiration from a legendary opposing coach.
“They’ve got a transfer point guard that knows how to play and makes others around him better,” said SMU head coach Larry Brown after his team defeated UH 75-68 on Jan. 26.
Rose’s primary motivation is to win, and he is steadily trying to improve his leadership and his ability to control the game to help this team get back on the map.
“We need to win, which comes back to our coaching staff and our point guards, who are an extension of the coach on the court,” Rose said. “With us not winning, I think that’s what motivates me the most. A couple games we played well but were unable to come out with a victory, so that’s my main thing.”