Magnum Rolle continues to impress

Magnum Rolle might be the rawest talent I observed during my travels to the July summer camps. I spotted Rolle first at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis, and initially it seemed he was lost on a basketball court, or simply playing out of position. But the more I watched, the more intrigued I became with this super-athletic big man.

Magnum Rolle
6-11 forward
Freeport, The Grand Bahamas

A man 6-11 should be playing down on the blocks, not on the perimeter. With his long arms, quick feet and fluid movement, Rolle was certainly playing out of position when I first watched him play at the Nike All-America Tournament.

At least that was my first impression. But as I watched him more, it became apparent that Rolle was simply much more at ease as a playmaker than he was positioning himself for an entry pass.

At 190 pounds, Rolle just isn't comfortable putting a body on a defender in an attempt to establish post position. He has great timing, quick feet and good hands that would make him an offensive threat after he puts on some weight, but until that happens his post defense will remain way ahead of his offense.

"Right now I need to improve on playing the post and gain some weight," Rolle said. "I'm still adjusting to being a post player. I've only been playing basketball for two years. Actually three years, but the first year I had to learn the basics."

Rolle is very athletic, handles the ball like a guard and has uncanny instincts playing out on the perimeter. He's a nifty ball handler and can create a shot for himself or hit the three with consistency. He also sees the floor and looks for his teammates with the pass.

At Nike, Rolle drew a crowd, but no one knew much about this kid from the Bahamas. All of the big name coaches, including Lute Olson, liked what they saw and began the process of evaluating his talent. It remains to be seen what schools will recruit him.

"Right now I know one school, Arizona," Rolle said of the schools that have contacted him. "I'm looking forward to being recruited. Right now I'm in the dark. I really don't know who is recruiting me."

Rolle was a runner and high jumper in grade school, then stopped playing sports until he found basketball when he started high school. But because he was bigger and more athletic, the game was never as competitive as he expected.

"Basketball is good (in the Bahamas), but it's more competitive here," Rolle said. "In the Bahamas, you play the same teams over and over and you really don't learn that much. Every time you play a new team over here you learn something. I enjoyed my experience at Nike because I got the chance to go up against the top ranked players and the best of the best in the nation, and I think I did good."

Rolle will return to the Bahamas at the end of July and take a break from basketball. Then he'll decide whether it's best to finish out his high school career there on the "the island" or come to the States for one year before taking his game to the college level.

One thing is certain. He'll continue to hear from the Arizona coaching staff. The UA has a head start, but don't be too surprised if others get involved very soon.

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