After his dazzling play during the preseason scrimmages and exhibitions, Rozier's start to the season limited. The product of Hargrave Military averaged just 3 points through the first six games of the season.
Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino informed Rozier earlier in the week that he was giving him the start.
"I don't really care who starts, but I was doing it because I wanted to get Terry some confidence," Pitino explained. "He wasn't playing like the Terry Rozier I see in practice, and I just wanted to get him some early minutes and get him feeling good about himself. It was nothing that anybody did wrong."
Rozier didn't hesitate in the opportunity. He connected on back-to-back three-pointers during the first 1:30 of the game to spark a 13-0 run to open the game.
"Coach told me earlier in the week to get shots up," he told Cardinal Authority following the 69-38 win over the Golden Eagles. "I like to shoot off the dribble and he said that I'm not really a good set shooter, so every day after practice I start working on my set shots. That helped me feel more comfortable coming into this game."
Notching his first start is a milestone that Rozier is grateful to have experienced, but his focus remains on helping his team and not attaining personal goals.
"It feels good," he said. "I feel like I've been working hard. I have a lot of guys around me that help me get better in practice. I feel like I deserved a shot. We have a good basketball team, so if you don't start you can come off the bench and give some energy. It doesn't really matter to me, but to start as a freshman is a great feeling."
Rozier finished with 9 points and 3 assists in 19 minutes of action.
He credits his teammates, patience, hard work and his Hall of Fame head coach in preparing for his first start.
"He's a great coach," he said of Pitino. "He's going to make the right decisions about who should play and when. I'm just waiting on my moment. Patience is everything and I've been working hard in practice and it started to show. I got the start tonight and I gave that spark at the beginning of the game."
Rozier is pleased with the progress he's making now seven games into his Cardinal career.
"I feel like I'm coming along pretty well. I get to go against great guys in practice every day and a Hall of Fame coach, so I feel like I'm on the right path."