unior college power forward Jackie Rogers may still join the University of Massachusetts men's basketball program, but he's making it sound like it's far from a sure thing.
In fact, the list of schools Rogers says he's considering is almost as long as the list of those he's not.
The 6-foot-7 forward, who is now at Barton Community College in Kansas, told a junior college recruiting newsletter that UMass remains high on his list. But Rogers denied promising UMass he would sign, instead indicating he plans to wait until all his visits are completed.
Rogers spent a year at West Virginia, where he was a teammate of Jarrett Kearse. The 6-5 Kearse, who can play either guard spot or small forward, has made a verbal commitment to UMass.
Rogers is also from Syracuse, N.Y., and said he remains interested in St. Bonaventure, which is somewhat nearby. Other Atlantic 10 schools on his list were Xavier and Fordham.
In addition, Rogers listed Fresno State, Michigan, Kentucky, Purdue, Minnesota, Hawaii, Southern Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oregon State, Arkansas and Louisville among his choices.
UMass coaches and officials cannot comment on prospective recruits. The signing period is in April.
ROVIDENCE - The prospect of power forward Jackie Rogers playing for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team seems fairly bright again.
The 6-foot-8 former West Virginia University player is now at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kan., and he could turn a good UMass recruiting class - probably the best under Bruiser Flint - into a very good one.
Rogers has considered UMass one of his favorites, and his coach, Ryan Wolfe, has been quoted as saying the choices are down to UMass, Louisville and St. Bonaventure, with UMass probably in the lead. Rogers is expected to make his decision after the season.
Rogers was recently quoted by Juco Junction, a junior-college recruiting online news service, as saying his choice was still open. The report listed 19 schools that Rogers liked, though UMass was high on the list. Wolfe's comments indicate the Minutemen are looking even better.
Already signed are forward Raheim Lamb of Boston English High School and guard Jameel Pugh of Sacramento, Calif. Jarrett Kearse, a 6-5 combo guard and small forward who was Rogers' teammate at West Virginia, has given a verbal commitment. Kearse is in junior college in Philadelphia, but is not playing basketball this year in order to save his eligibility.
And according to published quotes from his cousin, 5-10 point guard Anthony Anderson of Lynn English has given the Minutemen a verbal commitment. That would leave UMass with one open scholarship for next season, unless any current player transfers. The Minutemen hope that scholarship goes to Rogers.
A REAL STEAL:
With the help of a new emphasis on pressure defense, UMass has 254 steals after last night's season-high 18 against Rhode Island, an average of 9.8. That 's well ahead of the pace set by the 1989-90 team, which averaged a school-record 8.6 per game. Last year, playing little pressure defense, UMass recorded 166 steals.
ackie Rogers is one of the top scoring forwards available in the JUCO ranks this winter. He recently knocked his list down to three schools, and is expected to take his third and final official visit to UMass in the near future.
Rogers is down to three schools -- UMass, Louisville and St. Bonaventure. He has already visited Louisville and St. Bonaventure and plans to visit UMass in the near future.
JUCO JUNCTION: Any timetable on making a decision?
JACKIE ROGERS: No, I am just going to wait until the end of the season. I am going to see what happens after my final visit. I am not sure where I am goig to go yet.
JJ: How did you like your trip to Louisville?
JR: I liked it. It's a nice place to be. All of their big men will be leaving, so they really need help over there.
JJ: What about the fact that it is not as close to home as the other two schools on your list? (Rogers is from Syracuse, NY)
JR: Being away from home is not really a big deal, because I've been away from home for three years. I am used to it by now.
JJ: Can you talk a little bit about where st. Bonaventure stands? They've had a great year thus far, can you tell us where they stand?
JR: St. Bonaventure is playing well right now, and they are looking good. I did not expect for them to be this good, but they are doing well. I like the visit that I took there, but it might be too close to home, and I am not sure if I want to be that close to home. It's only like two hours away from my house. The visit there was good. The players -- one of them -- Tim Winn, played on my AAU team with Mickey Walker, Upstate New York, so pretty much already know some of the kids on the team.
JJ: Any school that we did not mention that might have a chance to get you?
JR: Probably Xavier, because they keep on calling me. They are looking all right too. One of my former AAU teammates, Lionel Chalmers, is there now.
JJ: What do you like about UMass?
JR: I like their press, plus they are losing a four man (Chris Kirkland), and that's a lot of minutes for me. Pretty much anywhere I go they want me to play a lot of minutes right away.
JJ: Has any particular coach or staff done a great job in recruiting you so far?
JR: Coach (Tony) Barbee of UMass is right now, he is keeping up with me and calling me to make sure that I have my grades, making sure that I am doing good in school. I like that type of stuff. He is showing me that he wants me over there and that they need me over there.
JJ: Any other coaches that have done a good job?
JR: Yes, Louisville and St. Bonaventure, they have been calling. Right now, I do not know what I am going to do. I am going to wait until the end of the season.