2011 Intro: Angel Rodriguez

Miami Tropics president Art Alvarez knows all about great point guards. He has coached and mentored several of them over the past few years, including NC State senior Javier Gonzalez.

Jose Juan Barea ran the show for Alvarez before setting records at Northeastern and collecting paychecks from the Dallas Mavericks. Former University of Miami standout Guillermo Diaz and Kansas State point guard Denis Clemente also starred for the Tropics.

Wolfpack fans know all about Javier Gonzalez, who suited up for the Tropics prior to signing with NC State. Alvarez's next talented floor general is Miami (FL) Krop senior Angel Rodriguez.

"Out of all the point guards I've had, and we're talking about kids like Javier Gonzalez, Denis Clemente, and Guillermo Diaz, Angel is the one I've had that really resembles J.J. Barea," said Alvarez. "J.J. is Jason Kidd's backup right now for the Dallas Mavericks and had a great career up at Northeastern before heading to the NBA. Angel resembles J.J. the most with the way he plays and how smart he is.

"Angel can play at different speeds. He can push it, he can shoot it, and he can run the halfcourt game when he has to. His basketball IQ is off the charts, and he finishes around the basket. He can do a lot of the things you want your point guard to do."

As with nearly all of Alvarez's previous guards, Rodriguez is flying under the recruiting radar. He is currently unranked and a big reason is because he hasn't been evaluated much on the AAU recruiting circuit.

"It doesn't surprise me that he doesn't have a lot of that recruiting hype because most of the guards we've brought over from Puerto Rico have been like that," said Alvarez. "J.J. didn't have any hype around him either and neither did Guillermo, and he ended up being drafted by the Clippers.

"Angel arrived over here for his sophomore year at Krop, so he's only been here a couple of years. He was on the circuit playing some in the spring and summer, but last year he didn't even do that. I can say that the college coaches who have seen him play are pretty much in love with him."

How did Rodriguez play over the summer?

"This summer he had an opportunity to play and I can tell you that he played exceptionally well," Alvarez stated. "He was supposed to go and play in the Peach Jam with Team Florida, the other Nike team down here along with the Tropics, but he chose not to. He decided to play in a local tournament, the Breakdown Shootout, instead.

"If he would have went to the Peach Jam I believe he would have received even more offers. He hasn't been at the major tournaments, and that's hurt his recruitment some I'm sure. Like I said though, the coaches who have seen him have pretty much offered and are holding a spot for him."

In two seasons at Miami (FL) Krop Rodriguez has been one of the state's best players. As a junior he averaged 21 points per game to lead Krop to the state semifinals. For his efforts he was named first-team all-city, first-team all-state, and Miami Herald Player of the Year.

"Angel is a bulldog," Rodriguez's head coach, Shakey Rodriguez, told the Miami Herald during the season. "When the game's on the line, he's not going to let you lose. Not every great player has that quality. But Angel does. Jose Ramos did. Doug Edwards was like that. To me, before he graduates, he has a chance to be as good a guard as any in Dade County -- that includes Chris Corchiani."

"Down here the people who have seen him play know how good he is," said Alvarez. "With recruiting, college coaches don't recruit a lot during the high school season, they want to see you in the spring and summer on the AAU circuit, but he's been the guy down in south Florida. I think he's going to have another big year."

Javier Gonzalez will be entering his fourth season at NC State as a starter, and his connection to Rodriguez gives NC State a legitimate shot in the 2011 guard's recruitment.

"Angel has a great relationship with Javi," said Alvarez. "First of all they are cousins and extremely close. He's always wanted to kind of follow in Javi's footsteps. We knew it was just a matter of time before Angel would want to come to the States and follow Javi. He looks up to him a lot just like he does with Barea, Diaz, and Clemente.

"Because of Angel's relationship with Javi I believe NC State has a really good shot at getting him. I know Monte Towe, the recruiting coach for us from NC State, likes Angel a lot."

According to Alvarez, NC State, Kansas State, Florida, and Marquette have extended scholarship offers to Rodriguez. It doesn't sound like his star player is in a hurry to make a decision.

"Angel told me and his high school coach, Shakey Rodriguez, that he wants to take all five visits," said Alvarez. "He's kind of sold on that. That's something he really wants to do because he wants to see the campuses and go from there. The one thing we're not sure about is if he's going to sign during the early signing period or the late signing period.

"The schools that he's identified he wants to visit and he really likes are Florida, Kansas State, North Carolina State, and Marquette. Those four have offers on the table and have indicated he could make a decision right now and they would take his commitment. Those are the four high-majors and then there are a whole bunch of mid-majors. Those four are on him really hard and have been at almost every game he's played."

"I know he wants to play in a big conference, and he wants to play in front of 15,000 people... big crowds," added Alvarez. "Kansas State is very attractive to him because of Frank Martin. Frank has a very good relationship with me and Angel's high school coach. North Carolina State is very intriguing because that's the ACC. I know he's always wanted to play in a conference like the ACC. He loves what Javi is doing now and that's an appealing situation to him with Javi being a senior this year where Javi could be going out and he could be coming in. It's a great situation with Sidney Lowe, and Monte Towe is the main recruiter... they want him pretty bad."

Rodriguez will weigh several factors when the time comes to make a decision.

"I remember when Javi was being recruited by NC State. One of the questions we had for Sidney and Monte... we put on the table that we wanted a direct answer regarding playing time, and they came through for us," said Alvarez. "Angel is like most of these kids in that he wants to go to a place where he is going to play. He's looking to go to a big program, and he just wants an opportunity... he wants to play major minutes early, if not start. How many point guards do you have coming in? Who is left... who are you recruiting? Stuff like that he will want to know about because that is the big issue with him, playing time.

"He also wants to be comfortable with the coaches. The coaching staff is going to be huge, and he needs to get along with the coaches. He has a great relationship with me and his high school coach so he's looking for a relationship like that."

"The other thing that's going to be big is Angel loves playing in front of big crowds," added Alvarez. "He's always saying that he wants to play on TV in gyms that are packed every night. He knows that is going to happen in the ACC, and he knows that will happen in the Big 12. That's another factor that will play a major role."

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