Rodriguez is Ready to Lead

Kaileb Rodriguez has been on Nevada's radar for quite some time now —they started recruiting him when he was 15-years-old. However, when California made its offer to Rodriguez about two years later, he simply couldn't resist playing for a bigger program. It didn't turn out so well because after a sour first semester with the Golden Bears, Rodriguez knew he had to transfer.

"It turned out I didn't like it, I actually hated it at Cal, so I decided to get out of there as soon as possible," Rodriguez said. "There was no patience for development — they wanted me ready right then and there and since I wasn't ready, they weren't going to give me any attention or respect and acted like I wasn't even a member of the team."

As everything unfolded and Rodriguez was back on the recruitment platform, Nevada didn't hesitate to reopen its arms for him.

Head coach David Carter and associate assistant coach Doug Novsek supported Rodriguez through thick and thin, which allowed Rodriguez to view them as father figures.

"They were right there — they've been there since day one and they are still there," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez decided to play at Sheridan College this season and verbally committed to play the 2014-2015 season as a red-shirt sophomore with the Wolf Pack.

Rodriguez will join a deep veteran frontcourt next season because Nevada brought in A.J. West, Chris Brown, Ronnie Stevens and Lucas Stivrins, who are all frontcourt players that played junior college basketball last season.

That's not including returning sophomore forward Cole Huff, who started 14 games and averaged 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season.

But it doesn't seem to faze Rodriguez because he believes in his leadership, energy and finishing ability inside the paint, where the Wolf Pack badly needed help last season.

The 6-foot-8 Rodriguez is originally from Highlands Ranch, Colo., where he lead Thunderidge High School his senior season to a 20-6 record and finished as the 5th ranked team in the state of Colorado. Rodriguez averaged 11 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, and three assists per game.

Rodriguez was invited this past summer to play in the Jerry Mullens Junior College Top-100 Camp in St. Louis, Missouri.

An NBA player Rodriguez emulates is Kevin Garnett because of his leadership and passion for the game.

"He has a very strong post presence, great jump shot from the outside but he's also a commanding person, a leader and that's what I want to bring to Reno," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said it felt right when he came about two weeks ago for his official visit to Nevada and is extremely excited to finally have the home he has been searching for a long time.

"I want to be a great member of this community, be an outstanding member on my team as well as contribute every minute Carter puts me in on the floor," Rodriguez said. "I want to make sure I show him that I'm serious of being there and that I want to take Nevada to a conference championship if not further than that."

Leo Beas can be reached on Twitter @beasleo

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