Rosario Providing Energy Off Bench

Mike Rosario is used to scoring. Before transferring, Rosario was one of two players at Rutgers to break the 1,000-point plateau in his first two seasons. The points weren't a problem, but the winning was. Now at Florida, Rosario is dealing with an adjustment period. He was forced to tweak his mindset to prepare for coming off the bench this season.

"I would love to start. Every kid in the world would love to start for the Florida Gators, but when you're coming to a team with a lot of experience, you have to be willing to sacrifice for one another," Mike Rosario said. "That's what I've been doing for my teammates and this program. I've been put in a great situation."

Even though he is coming off the bench, Rosario is still fourth on the team, averaging 12 points per game. At Rutgers, Rosario was the main option on offense. If there was a big shot that needed to be made, the odds that Rosario wouldn't be the one taking it were very small.

That's the way he wanted it.

That isn't necessarily the case anymore. With guards like Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Brad Beal also splitting time on the floor with Rosario, the big shot could come from whoever has to best look.

"It's a different transition for me," Rosario said. "Where I was before, I was the head guy and the leading score without too much big time talent around me. Now, I've surrounded myself around a lot of good players, and I have to do a role I'm not used to. I've got to adapt to it. Whatever it takes for me to do that role, I've got to do it."

Being a team-first player is a battle that Rosario admits he's still fighting. The two seasons he had at Rutgers, where he averaged 16.2 and 16.7 points, brought him to Gainesville with a reputation for putting the ball in the basket. The transition to being a bench player wasn't one he expected to deal with.

However, Rosario is using one of his strengths to help make it a good fit. As he sat on the bench last season and watched the team play, Rosario was energetic, always on his feet, waving a towel in the air and encouraging his teammates. He's trying to translate that energy to the court.

The points might not be there like they were at Rutgers, but Rosario knows his energy is the most important part of coming off the bench.

"Of course I would love to be the leading scorer," Rosario said. "Anybody on the team would. The position I'm in right now is a great position because not too many guys in the country can come off the bench and score double digits for a team like this. I feel like I've done a great job as far as coming off the bench and providing energy for my team."

The only thing keeping him from more minutes is his defense. It wasn't a priority for him at Rutgers, but head coach Billy Donovan has made it clear to Rosario that he will continue to play limited minutes if the defense doesn't improve.

Since Donovan delivered that message weeks ago, Rosario's defense has improved.

He's still trying to stay consistent on the court and understand that he is a big part of the team this season.

"The toughest adjustment was just sitting out last year and being able to get through it without playing," Rosario said. "I was practicing and being able to participate with my teammates in things, but now that it's here and I'm playing, it feels a little different still. I haven't adapted to playing again yet. It has been a whole year and a half, so I'm getting used to it."

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