Ready to Work Hard Towards Rutgers' Success

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Mike Rosario sat calmly as a slew of reporters and photographers gathered around him with questions and comments. The first-year guard calmly responded like a veteran.

"The practices have been great because, me being so little, I've been getting knocked down, since the beginning of practice," he said. "But it's been a great experience because everyone is competitive."

Although Rosario joins this program as Rutgers first McDonald's All-American, he's still a 6-3 180-pound freshman, with a sense of humor.

"Yeah, a lot of people are going to expect a lot out of me, since I'm the first McDonalds All-American to come here," he said. "But Kobe (Bryant) doesn't make every shot; Michael Jordan doesn't make every shot.

"I'm just hoping the fans don't think I'm going to make every shot I take. I'll just try to come out there and give 100 percent every night."

Yet expectations remain high for the St. Anthony High School of Jersey City star. Like an experienced player, he takes them in stride.

"Basically I'm always going to be humble like I have been and come out and give everything I have for the fans, the people and my teammates, just give everything I got," he said. "I'm going to play every game like it's my last."

Though the Scarlet Knights have four upperclassmen on roster, Rosario believes he can lead from day one.

"Yes, because I'm looking at the big picture, as me coming in as a freshman and the high expectations that I have, I have a little bit of experience as far as winning, coming from a winning program," he said. "I feel that I can really be a leader and really help my teammates in every kind of way, get stronger and mentally tough as a team."

Rookies have transitioned successfully from high school to NCAA Division I Men's Basketball. Carmelo Anthony's incredible run with Syracuse in 2003 to former Memphis point guard Derrick Rose's March Madness domination this past year document the proof for Rosario's potential.

"There's a reason why I can't do it but as far as me coming in a freshman, I'm just looking to come in and play," he said. "I just love to hoop. That's the thing though; that's my life."

Rosario's prior contributions led to the Friars 32-0 record last season and No. 1 national ranking. When RU head coach Fred Hill offered Rosario the option of going home and being with his family before school opened, Rosario decided to remain on campus, lift weights and, ultimately, sacrifice.

"I knew for me the only way to get stronger was to sacrifice," he said. "Instead of going home, when Coach Hill said we can go home for a month, I wanted to stay in August for an extra three weeks and work out and lift so I can get stronger."

The questions for Rosario required time and patience for the recently turned 18-year-old, yet he coolly responded in the same fashion as the initial one, like a veteran.

"This year is going to be a big year for us because we're coming off a bad season last year," he said. "We have a lot of new pieces. What I'm going to contribute to the table: hard work, heart and leadership, help the team, pick my teammates up at all times, score some points for us to get some wins."

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