2005 Focus: Tyler Rodriguez

His former high school coach says to think of Tyler Rodriguez as "Ed Nelson without about 25 pounds." The 6-9, 215-pound Rodriguez is just hoping to find a school that will fit his needs.

It's not easy to keep up with Tyler Rodriguez.

The 6-7, 210-pound senior power forward started his high school career at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) before he left with his parents for Texas, where he averaged 12 points and six boards at Colleyville Heritage.

Then he talked his parents into allowing him to go back to St. Thomas Aquinas for his junior campaign – and he put up 18 points and seven rebounds this past season before his folks wanted him back in Texas.

So Rodriguez will finish up his career at Colleyville Heritage.

``It's been hard, but I'm used to it," said Rodriguez, whose father is a Navy Seal. "I've lived in 12 different places in 17 years."

Rodriguez has also jumped around in the summer as well. He played with two different teams in the Sunshine State – Supreme Court and Coast to Coast – and counts a handful of different clubs while in Texas – Houston Hoops, Texas Top Prospects, Dallas Hoop Dreams, TA Eagles and one more he can't recall.

One team even kicked him off the team for being too loyal to his high school.

``I care more about my school team than all the individual stuff," Rodriguez said. "The state title means more to me than anything."

Rodriguez is a poor man's Ed Nelson – another St. Thomas Aquinas star – a strong inside guy who rebounds and scores with his back to the basket. The biggest difference is that Nelson was about 25 pounds heavier at this stage.

``Imagine Ed Nelson without the weight," said St. Thomas Aquinas coach Steve Strand. "He's a hard-nosed rebounder who can has range to 15 feet. He has great hands and terrific footwork. He's not a great athlete, but he's tough in the paint."

So far Rodriguez, who has a 3.3 GPA and scored a 1150 on the SAT, is getting looks from mid-majors and Ivy Leagues such as Holy Cross, Columbia and Hofstra.

``I'm fine with that," he said. "As long as I play. That's my number one thing."


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