Rohde Feeling ‘More Comfortable' After Visit

An official trip following a verbal commitment may be anti-climatic in nature. On the other hand, that's not to say that a recruit, such as Taylor Rohde, cannot thoroughly enjoy himself, as he did the other weekend on his official visit to the Sun Devils.

"It was an awesome visit," said Taylor Rohde who was hosted by Arizona State guard Jerren Shipp. "We ate at great restaurants, hung out with the players, and watched the coaches do individual workouts with some of the players. I went to the football game (against San Diego State) and it was awesome sitting in the student section…I was already comfortable with my decision but now I'm even more comfortable with it. I was really impressed with how easy going the players were and how comfortable I felt with them."

During the visit, the 6-8 215 Rohde got to sit down with the Head Coach Herb Sendek and his staff to talk about his anticipated role with the team, when he joins the maroon and gold for the 2008-09 campaign. "The coaches are envisioning me as power forward that can float a lot," Rohde commented. "I need to work more on my inside game, but I'm pretty comfortable with it."

With 20.7 points a game, ten boards a contest and 75 total blocks for the Pinnacle (Phoenix) Pioneers in 2005-06, Taylor Rohde emerged as one of the top state prospects, if not the very best, for the 2008 recruiting class. His efforts landed him both on the Arizona Republic and Desert Sky league first team. Shortly after Sendek was hired, he and his staff made it a priority to keep this talented forward in their backyard.

The recruiting efforts were fruitful, as Rohde pledged to the Sun Devils two and half months after Sendek was named ASU's head coach. "I really like the way Coach Sendek carries himself," he said then in an interview to "I know he's gonna build a great program and I want to be part of it. It was important for me to stay close to my family and friends and that was also a big part of my decision."

Time will tell if another member of the Rhode family will don the maroon and gold. Taylor's sister, Aley, is a 6-4 freshman, and she along with her parents accompanied the forward on his visit. "I think she would consider ASU," said Rohde of the chances of having the two siblings play in Tempe. "She's still young and has a lot of time to decide on that."

After a very successful sophomore season, came an extremely frustrating junior campaign. In the summer after his sophomore year, the forward suffered a stress facture in his foot. As a result, he didn't play in the AAU circuit last year. "It set me back, I put on a lot of weight and I was slower," said Rohde. "After that I sprained my ankle so it was hard coming back from that too. Right now I'm 100% healthy."

Despite the injuries, he went on to average 22.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 1.5 bpg, as he led his squad to the state semifinals. As it turns out, those two injuries did ultimately make him a better player than he once was. "I'm more dedicated now," Rohde stated. "You never realize when something is so good until it is gone. That's why I'm working very hard to get better at my game."

Leadership is a trait that Rohde, a team captain last year and this year, is looking to further to develop, with the loss of several veterans from last year's Pinnacle team. "I think we'll still be good this year," he claimed. "We lost a lot of seniors, but we also have three returning starters. We play in a tough division, but I think we'll be fine. As a leader, I'm gonna put more stuff on my shoulders and see how far we go with it."

This past July, with his health better than it has been in quite a while, the forward had a nice AAU circuit where he improved on his wing defense and perimeter offense. In terms of his 6-8 215 frame, he said that: "The ASU coaches told me that they want me to add muscle weight. I was almost at 240 and I lost weight with diet and exercise. So now I have to put all that back on with muscle."

As a local recruit that has been and will to be to several Sun Devil home games, Taylor Rohde is naturally feeling the buzz and anticipation over ASU basketball "I'm very excited to come here," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing in front of more people, getting more recognition and I love the offense because it gives you a lot of freedom and teaches you to recognize what the defense gives you and attack it. I look forward to playing in that system."

A scheme that could prove to be tailor-made for this talented forward.

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