During last Friday's Rodney Beasley Memorial Senior All-Star game at Southern-B, a spectator noticed that Shawnta Rogers was wearing shorts from the University of Miami. The spectator thought it had some significance as far as which college the 5-foot-5 Lake Clifton point guard and the Baltimore Sun's Boys Player of the Year would attend.
Rogers has ties to Miami, where his cousin and former teammate, Kevin Norris, was the starting point guard this past season. But yesterday, Rogers signed with George Washington University, where he will join a longtime friend, Kwame Evans, in the backcourt.
"They [George Washington] have a quality program and Coach [Mike] Jarvis made me feel comfortable around him," Rogers said. "The school is close enough for my family and friends to be able to see me play."
Rogers, the area's top college prospect, chose the Colonials over California, Clemson, Dayton, Maryland and Xavier, and becomes the fifth local player to attend an Atlantic 10 Conference school, joining Donta' Bright (Dunbar High/UMass), Ted Cotrell (Annapolis/UMass), Terrance Payne (Lake Clifton/Xavier) and Evans (Southern-B.).
Evans, a 6-6 shooting guard, was the leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 as a junior last season as the Colonials finished 18-13. Evans and Rogers have played recreation and AAU basketball together and will be reunited in the Colonial backcourt.
Rogers said he and Evans have been together for most of the week, but Evans didn't influence his decision to attend the Washington school.
The Colonials entered the recruiting picture for Rogers late, similar to last year when they sought forward Rodney Elliott of Dunbar, who opted to sign with Maryland.
Because of NCAA rules George Washington coach Mike Jarvis cannot comment on Rogers' signing until the school receives the letter of intent.
Dayton had appeared to be the front-runner for Rogers. The Ohio school had been recruiting him since November and would give him a scholarship, even if he didn't meet the required score for freshman eligibility of 700 on the SAT.
Rogers hasn't received the results of his third attempt on the SAT, which he took April 1. His previous score was 690. Rogers is confident that he surpassed the minimum score this time and plans to be the starting point guard at George Washington for the next four years.
"The Atlantic 10 will be a big challenge for him," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore. "He will step up and play big, in big times in big games. He has done it during his entire high school career and I don't see that changing."
This past season, Rogers averaged 24.2 points, 9.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Lakers (23-1), who won the state 4A title and finished ranked No. 1 in the area and No. 11 nationally by USA Today.
Rogers, the school's all-time leading scorer, was named to the Associated Press all-state team, an All-American by College Sports Magazine and a honorable mention postseason All-American by USA Today.
"I don't feel any pressure," Rogers said. "I still have to work on a lot of parts of my game. I think the adjustment won't be so big, but I do have to make one."