Warriors get tips from a professional

Mike LaughlinDecember 2, 2008 

Shawnta Rogers (left) and his son Terrell, a sophomore point guard on the Indian Land basketball team. Shawnta Rogers is an assistant coach for the Warriors.

MIKE LAUGHLIN/FORT MILL TIMES

The Indian Land High School boys basketball team is admittedly young this season, but the Warriors have had a boost in their learning experience from an assistant coach - at least for the beginning of the year.

Shawnta Rogers, whose son Terrell is a sophomore point guard on the team, moved to South Carolina last year after playing several seasons of professional basketball in Europe.

Head coach Nate Smith said having Rogers as an assistant coach has been extremely helpful while trying to teach the young players.

"It means a lot," Smith said. "As a coach, I'm learning from him every day. The way I look at it, the kids have that insight. He's telling the kids what they have to do both inside the classroom and on the court to make it at a college or professional level."

Rogers, who grew up in Baltimore, played collegiate basketball at George Washington University in Washington, D,C,, where he was named Atlantic 10 player of the year in 1999. Rogers also led the nation in steals that season.

After college, Rogers played for the Baltimore Bayrunners in the International Basketball League then for Le Mans in the Ligue Nationale de Basketball Pro A, the top league in France. He has played for several other teams in France and Italy since then and is currently considering offers to go back this season.

"It could be any day. They could fax over a contract and I'd leave within two days," Rogers said.

In the meantime, he is lending his skills to the Warriors team and helping them improve.

"I'm trying to show them the basics, the fundamentals of the game," Rogers said. "Trying to teach them about dedication and help them with their commitment to the game."

During the nearly nine years Rogers spent in France and Italy with Terrell and Terrell's brother, Shawnta Jr. (who goes by Darnell), the family learned a lot about the European style of basketball and the culture in general, he said.

"Both of them speak French fluently. Terrell is more polished since he is older," Rogers said. "We enjoyed the parks, basketball and soccer and went to watch the race cars in Le Mans."

Le Mans is well known for its motor sports, Rogers said.

Rogers said a main reason for the move back to the U.S. was that he wanted his sons to be able to choose what they wanted to do as they grew up.

"They have been here for two and-a-half years now, living with their mom," Rogers said. "They need to find their own identity so they can choose at an early age what they want to do."

Rogers said his sons, especially Terrell, have adjusted well to life in the U.S.

"Europe was good, we learned how to speak different languages," Terrell said. "It was healthy, more family related. You could go to the doctor for free."

Terrell also said he learned a lot about the European style of basketball during his time in France.

"They played a different style over there - more together," he said.

"They worked as a team and their big men could step back and shoot threes."

Both Terrell and his father agreed that working together on the team this year has been positive.

"He is helping us out a lot. We are a lot smarter than we were last year," Terrell said.

Rogers said even if he decides to go back to Europe this year, his time with the team has been valuable.

"After this I want to go into coaching myself, so it's good for me too," Rogers said. "To learn how to help the kids."

Rogers said he is looking forward to seeing both of his sons' progress on the court and thinks both of them have shown great potential.

"I would love to see them go pro, but that's up to them, I have to let them determine their own destination," he said. "Any help they can get from me- I'm there for them and they know that."

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