SDN Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Blake Rogers

Blake Rogers
Staff Writer

It didn’t take Greg Carter long to realize the work ethic that he had in young Blake Rogers.

Four years ago, Rogers was in eighth grade and had ambitions to be a major contributor for his beloved Starkville Yellowjackets. He woke his father up early on the weekends to take advantage of Carter’s open gym opportunities and his father obliged.

Rogers also took part in practices with the high schoolers that included for Players of the Year Raphael Leonard, Tyson Carter and Darrious Agnew. It was likely an up and down journey filled with dejection, but the journey in Starkville ended with celebration.

After the hard work and dedication to perfecting his craft, Rogers led his team all the way to the Class 6A State semifinals this season, an undefeated Region 3 record and a district championship. He also ultimately signed with Jones Junior College where he will continue to work until he makes that next step.

“It’s been fun," Rogers said. "It’s been tough, but all of the hard work paid off. A lot of folks didn’t think that the team could make it to Jackson this season, but we worked hard. We’ve got a lot of young guys that are coming back next year to get us back and hopefully they can finish the job.”

Coach Carter isn’t surprised by what Rogers has been able to do. He watched his son, Tyson, put in the same amount of work and also pass the torch to Rogers before he left for Mississippi State.

Rogers, the Starkville Daily News Boys Player of the Year, finished the season as the team’s leading scorer and was a marksman from 3-point range. If there every was any room between he and a defender, he was firing away and finding nothing but the bottom of the net.

That ability comes from hours and hours in the gym, and Carter said it didn’t happen overnight.

“It’s been night and day," Carter said of Rogers’ progression over the years. "He’s really come along well. He and a couple of other guards have carried us all year. His ability to make shots has been big for us.
“He’s put a lot of time and effort into it and people just don’t understand how much work he put into it. It’s amazing the amount of time these players have put into it and the hard work they’ve sacrificed to get them where they are.”

The time in Starkville and in the black and gold has come to an end for Rogers and he’s ready for the next opportunity. He and Carter both are looking for the next player to grab the torch and take the responsibility of hard work, sacrifice and dedication to being the best one they can possibly be at their craft.

That’s why the last couple of years have been spent by Rogers showing the younger players how it’s done. Hours upon hours in the gym and some sound advice has been his go-to as he hopes that the Yellowjackets continue to march on as state title contenders for years to come.

“I just tried to stay in the gym," Rogers said. "On the off days, I just wanted to get with those guys and tell them when they need to be up there in the gym with me. I’ve told them to keep their heads up when they mess up. It’s the same thing that Tyson did for me.”