``Coach (Sears) saw me walking one day and he must have saw something in me," Rolle said. "He told me to shoot and I missed completely, but he kept after me. It was a long process, but it was worth it."
That was 2 ½ years ago. Much has changed since that day when Sears first discovered his future pupil.
Now Rolle has sprouted to 6-11 and 200 pounds and has become one of the most highly sought-after juniors in the country because of his athleticism and potential – and of course, a scarcity of quality big men in the Class of 2005.
The word upside is thrown around quite often, but in the case of Rolle, it's quite appropriate.
Rolle can get up and down the floor as quick as many guards. He blocks shots, has terrific lateral quickness and agility and is just starting to learn the game. He needs to gain weight and work on his low-post game, but that will all come in time.
``He still has so many things to polish up," said Sears, his coach at Freeport's St. George High. "But he understands most of the basic stuff. He needs to be more patient when he gets the ball in the post. When he gets the ball, he makes a move right away instead of seeing the floor first."
Rolle, 17, played at the Nike Camp last summer and also played at the AAU Nationals with a team from Arkansas. However, Sears' decision to keep Rolle in the Bahamas was not for selfish reasons. Instead, it was well-calculated to keep Rolle grounded.
``I wanted him to keep his head on straight," Sears said. "If he was in the (United) States, they'd be talking about him. Here no one really cares how good he is. I have guys on our team who think they are better than him."
They may be right. For now.
But that won't last long as Rolle is catching up quick and will likely surpass all his countrymen before long. His numbers are somewhat modest at 18 points, 12 boards and 6 blocks per game, but they must be put into perspective. His team, coached by Sears, recently went from 6-minute to 8-minute quarters.
Two years ago, Rolle almost ended the recruiting process – before it all really got going.
``I almost committed to Arkansas State," he said. "Back then, I didn't know anything about the schools. I was new to it all and it was pretty easy to trick me. I laugh about it now."
``It's amazing because a couple of mid-major schools could have had him," Sears added.
That's because his top four schools are now Georgia Tech's of the world.
Not bad for a kid who couldn't even draw iron a couple years ago.
``It's satisfying, but until I play college ball, I won't be completely satisfied," Rolle said.
Look for Rolle to land at a high school in the United States – probably in Florida – within the next couple of months in an effort to help get him acclimated.
``I'm anxious to get over so I can prove myself to everyone and go up against the top players," he added.
CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: We loved Rolle when we saw him at the Nike Camp last July. He's athletic and long and reminds us of a very raw Channing Frye. It is obvious that he needs a lot of seasoning, but his talent is unmistakable.
The Cats were in on him very early and that could be important as he could very well be a top-50 recruit or better by the end of this summer.