Hot Rod Becoming a Leader

La Salle has won 7 of its last 9 games. The recent resurgence can be traced to one player. The player that has the ball in his hands most of the time and the player that wants the ball with the game on the line. He is the player that the team leans on. Rodney Green is making a push for all Atlantic 10 honors and his Explorers are along for the ride.

It wasn't long ago when La Salle fans were wondering if Rodney Green was the answer at point guard for the Explorers. Poor decisions, inconsistent play, and mental errors plagued the junior from Philadelphia. Head coach, Dr. John Giannini has always been a staunch Rodney Green supporter. He hand-picked Green to be the quarterback for his program during its darkest days. He kept insisting Rodney was a point guard and was still learning the position as late as the beginning of this season. As the smoke has cleared on the latest stretch of games in which La Salle has made a move toward the possibility of winning just as many or more games than the La Salle team led by two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Steven Smith did his senior year, one player left standing, with Giannini standing behind him as always, is Rodney Green.

The recent transformation of Green from apprentice to point guard graduate has been remarkable. It is no coincidence that as this metamorphosis has taken place, so has the recent surge from La Salle in the win column. In the first 10 games of the season, which La Salle had a record of 5-5; Green shot only 42% from the field and just 32% from the arc. He averaged 3.6 assists to 3.1 turnovers per game during the same stretch. Since the initial first 10 games of the season, the Explorers have gone 7-2 and Green has shot 54% from the field and 38% from the arc while reducing his turnovers per game to under 3 at 2.8 per contest. In the past Rodney Green's overall game would suffer when certain parts of his game had struggled. He still will turn the ball over from time to time but now those turnovers are forced versus many unforced turnovers earlier in the year. His decision making is smarter and he has gotten his teammates the ball in spots where it is easier to score. The team's overall shooting percentage has risen as Rodney has improved his overall floor game.

Yves Mekongo Mbala had a career best 26 points in the win over George Washington. Paul Johnson and Ruben Guillandeaux also have had stellar games recently. The floor has become more open as Rodney Green has developed his point guard skills. It becomes much easier for La Salle to score the basketball. They are now 5th in the conference in average points scored per game after toiling at the bottom half earlier in the season. When La Salle needed key baskets late in the game on the road against Charlotte and Massachusetts Rodney Green delivered them. He has become more vocal on the floor and has begun to understand the importance of help defense. His maturation will only be pushed down to others on the team. Everyone now knows they can lean on Rodney Green to make an important play when it needs to be made. There is a fine line between winning and losing in major college basketball. Just ask George Washington who continues to lose close games in the final minutes. They don't have a player like Rodney Green at the moment. La Salle has a "Hot Rod" to ride. So goes "Hot Rod", so goes the Explorers. Right now both a running pretty smoothly to everyone's delight.

Penn Stars of the Game :

Third Star: Ruben Guillandeaux
Second Star: Paul Johnson
First Star: Rodney Green

Massachusetts Stars of the Game:

Third Star: Ruben Guillandeaux
Second Star: Yves Mekongo Mbala
First Star: Rodney Green

George Washington Stars of the Game:

Third Star: Paul Johnson
Second Star: Rodney Green
First Star: Yves Mekongo Mbala

ExplorerHoopReport Most Valuable Player Award Standings for the Season

Rodney Green: 38 points
Kimmani Barrett: 27 points
Yves Mekongo Mbala: 15 points
Ruben Guillandeaux: 13 points
Vernon Goodridge: 11 points
Paul Johnson: 5 points
Jerrell Williams: 5 points

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