M. Hoops’ Rogus Quite The Catch-and-Shoot
Sophomore Guard Kevin Rogus Plays Rifleman Role for Crimson
Beatty, arms stretched skyward, was all smiles—and not just because he was in the middle of what was statistically the best game of his young Havard career. His career-high 10 points aside, Beatty’s wide grin was for his Cabot House blockmate, sophomore guard Kevin Rogus.
Rogus, Harvard’s little-used backup shooting guard, had just nailed his third three-pointer of the game to push Harvard’s lead to 55-45 with 11:33 remaining in the game. The basket—which gave Rogus more three-pointers in that one game than he had all of last year—was part of an 18-0 Crimson run.
After the trey, Lehigh had finally seen enough. Mountain Hawks’ coach Billy Taylor called for a stoppage, the official blew his whistle and Rogus’ teammates jumped from their chairs to greet him as he trotted back to the huddle.
And Rogus, whose role had mainly been confined to cheerleader until Saturday, was finally on the receiving end of the high fives and pats on the back.
The moment belonged to him.
“It’s nice having that strength off the bench,” said point guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman, who fed Rogus for the second of his three triples.
The shooting clinic put on by Rogus should not have come as a complete surprise. Since high school, Rogus has been a catch-and-shoot rifleman who has made his mark beyond the arc. His spot-up jumper is one of the most accurate on the team and was enough to attract interest from other Ivy schools, including Princeton, during his senior year of high school in Maryland.
Rogus’ scoring flurry Saturday was very much a flashback to his schoolboy days at Our Lady of Good Counsel where, wearing No. 55 for the Falcons, he stopped, dropped and popped his way to a school-record 178 career three-pointers.
As a sophomore, he was a teammate of Brown star Earl Hunt when the Falcons soared to a No. 19 national ranking. As a senior, he set the school standard for most three-pointers in a single season (98).
“We love Good Counsel southpaw Kevin Rogus,” his hometown paper gushed once during his senior season. “We’re surprised when he misses a three-pointer.”
But there were plenty of those kinds of surprises during Rogus’ rookie season at Harvard. The 6’4 wingman got off the bench in only eight games and didn’t see more than three minutes in any of them. He finished just 2-for-13 on threes for the year.
This season, Harvard coach Frank Sullivan has made a concerted effort to dip into his bench to complement his all-senior starting five, playing to the strengths of his bit players—including Rogus.
“The idea of building team depth is critical for us,” Sullivan said after the game. “We knew we had to get [Rogus and Beatty] in.”
So, after a year spent languishing in waiting, Rogus finally made his smash debut.
The first half against Lehigh saw Rogus drain a triple and bank home a jumper to trim Lehigh’s early six-point lead to one. The spurt foreshadowed his outburst in the second half.
His 13 points, by far a career-high, was more than merely helpful—“instrumental,” Sullivan put it—as Harvard pulled away for its first home win of a season that is suddenly very promising.
While much of the league has looked wobbly in the early-going, Harvard (3-2)—who plays at Rider tonight at 7:30 p.m.—continues to impress.
After being forced to carry the Crimson on his shoulders last year, Harvey has been greatly relieved of a lot of the scoring burden this season. Forward Sam Winter (11.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) has been steady up front and Brady Merchant (13.2 ppg) has moved into the starting lineup to bring offense to a small forward position that offered mostly a defensive presence the last two years with Andrew Gellert.
Prasse-Freeman showed a scoring aggressiveness that’s been missing at points in his career. On Saturday, he drove to the hole with confidence and came away with a career-high 20 points.
Important, too, have been the contributions of those role players off the bench, from freshman Brian Cusworth to Beatty and, now, Rogus.
As their promise continues to fulfill itself, so may Harvard’s.
—Staff writer Daniel E. Fernandez contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Staff writer Brian E. Fallon can be reached at email@example.com.