DUNK CITY, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team added another key piece to its program this week as 5-foot-3 point guard Darnell Rogers signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Eagles beginning as a freshman in 2017-18.
The feisty, quick and elusive Rogers averaged 23 points, seven assists and two steals per game this past season at Believe Preparatory School in Rock Hill, S.C.
For his senior season in 2015-16, Rogers transferred to Shiloh High School in Atlanta from Indian Land High School in South Carolina, where he finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,776 points. He averaged 28.2 points, 6.9 assists and 5.1 steals per game as a junior.
“Darnell will be a tremendous addition to our program,” stated FGCU head coach Joe Dooley. “He comes from a great basketball family. He adds a different dynamic with his speed, and he can really shoot the ball. He’s gritty and will get after it on the defensive side of the ball as well.”
A native of Fort Mill, S.C., Rogers started at point guard on the varsity level since 7th grade and helped Indian Land go 86-23, leading the school – as a team captain – to the Upper State Final Four twice. In 2013-14, Indian Land won its first Region 4-2AA Championship in 30 years and won it again in 2014-15.
“I’m really excited to be a part of Dunk City,” said Rogers. “We have phenomenal players and coaches. Coach Dooley is a great coach who I know is going to push me and develop my game to another level. I’m definitely anxious and excited to play in front of the amazing fans. I love everything about FGCU.”
The All-County Lancaster Player of the Year in 2013-14 and two-time Region 4-2AA Player of the Year, Rogers also had a successful 2015 summer on the Nike EYBL Circuit where he played for Team CP3. In 22 games, he averaged 10 points per outing and ranked 11th in the league with 3.5 assists per game.
Team CP3 is an elite AAU club hand-selected by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, and Rogers drew the admiration of the nine-time NBA All-Star and 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Of Rogers, Paul had the following to say in a CBSSports.com feature: “I’m probably one of his biggest fans. I’m not as undersized as he is, but I’m one of the biggest believers that it’s all about your heart, not your size. I brag about him to my teammates all the time. I’ll put him up against anybody. He doesn’t see height when he’s on the court. The biggest thing is he plays with a chip on his shoulder.”
Rogers, whose full name is Shawnta Darnell Rogers, Jr., is the son of Shawnta Rogers, a 5-foot-4 star for George Washington who was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year in 1999 and is a member of the GW Hall of Fame.
Rogers is joining an FGCU team coming off a record-setting 26-8 season in 2016-17, claiming a second-straight ASUN Tournament title and advancing to play its sixth NCAA Tournament game in the last five years. The Eagles return nearly 80 percent of their points, roughly 65 percent of their rebounds and more than 80 percent of their assists next year.
The Eagles have 6-10 Michigan transfer and Southwest Florida product Ricky Doyle (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) joining the lineup next year as a redshirt junior, in addition to 6-10 Miami and VCU transfer Michael Gilmore (Jacksonville, Fla./Rickards HS). Additionally, high school senior Brian Thomas (Marietta, Ga./Kell HS), a 6-9 forward, rising 6-10 redshirt sophomore Brady Ernst (Clinton, Iowa/Indian Hills CC/Iowa State/Clinton HS) and 3-point specialist and rising redshirt junior Dinero Mercurius (Orlando, Fla./Daytona State/UTRGV/USF/Faith Baptist Christian/University HS) have also signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Green and Blue.