"I was there this weekend when I committed," Rodriguez said. ""It was really nice. Students were gone but there was more than 8,000 at the game and the players took me out."
Rodriguez, who had an early offers from Central Florida, was inclined to commit because of the opportunity to play right away and a special bond he had with the UMass coach, another sub-six-foot point guard himself.
"I think now because we were talking 3 hours to Coach Ford and he wanted to get it done because he didn't want to have to recruit more point guards. What better than a situation where I can come in and play for a guy who was a small point guard?
"When he played at Kentucky he always had a chip on his shoulder. His motivation was to prove people wrong and he thinks I play like that."
Rodriguez is benefiting from seeing talent on the high school level and lining up against good players not just in practice but during an aggressive schedule Lake Howell has played.
"I think a lot of kids on our high school team are Division I prospects. The practices and the teams we play against gives me the confidence to play against high-level players."