Rodney Pryor has one ultimate goal: to reach the NBA.
Many basketball players share that same vision and dream, and it's not an easy one to accomplish. For Pryor, he's used to things being difficult, circumventing through various tribulations and obstacles throughout his college basketball career. It hasn't been an easy road for the Evanston, Ill. native, but his triumph over adversity has helped keep his career going and his dream alive.
His first step out of high school at Notre Dame Prep (Ill.) began in Kirkwood Community College (Iowa), where he wasn't one of the premier players on the team. As a freshman, he averaged a forgettable 4.1 points per game, shooting 43.6 percent overall and 25.8 percent from long range. The lack of playing time led him to look elsewhere and his journey was about to get a lot harder.
He transferred to Cloud County Community College (Kan.) for the following year but never played in a single game. His two-year stint was marred by devastating injuries. In his first season as a Thunderbird, he suffered a broken bone in his foot in the team's first scrimmage in 2012. Once he recovered from that, it appeared that he would be making his debut the next season, but he never got to. During the first practice of the 2013 season, he tore his ACL, sidelining him once again for the whole season.
He recovered, well enough to charm Robert Morris and transfer over to the Pennsylvania school. Finally, two years of injuries, he was able to return to the basketball court, playing in Robert Morris' 2014 season opener against Lafayette.
He started the season off slowly, before finally taking off. He led the Colonials in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game. He earned a penchant for being a sharpshooter, hitting 42.9 percent of his shots from long range. He was given All-NEC Second Team honors and was named the conference tournament MVP, leading the Colonials to a NCAA Tournament appearance.
The following year, Pryor became the featured player at Robert Morris and a lot rested on his shoulders. Despite turning the ball over more and seeing a dip in his shooting percentages, he delivered. He posted team-highs in scoring and rebounding, averaging an improved 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. he was named All-NEC once again, but this time as a first teamer. He scored at least 10 points in 27 of the 28 games he played in.
Now, in his sixth year of eligibility, he has an opportunity to prove himself at a higher level of college basketball. As a pure scoring wing, Pryor is a welcomed addition to the Hoyas, who will have to do without D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for the first time in four years.
Pryor is a confident, all-around scorer. While he primarily likes to pop threes, especially in catch-and-shoot situations, he's far from being one-dimensional. He can drive inside and attack the basket, and excels in transition. However, don't look for him to wow audiences in an iso type of play. He's not going to use dribble moves to bypass an opposing defender and get to the basket.
Fortunately for Pryor, he's walking into a situation where he doesn't have to be the leading man. There isn't a whole lot of pressure for him to deliver and carry the team, much like he did at Robert Morris. He is just one solid, contributing piece of a greater whole. So he can focus on getting his shots, without having to worry about being the focal point of opposing defenses and being in situations where he forces up shots while being double teamed or under immense defensive pressure.
He can be a great asset for the Hoyas if he can rediscover his shooting stroke from two years ago. Georgetown had one of the worst 3-point shooting performances as a team, finishing in seventh of a 10 team conference for 3-point shooting percentage.
As a team, it shot for 33.9 percent from long range. This is a team that did not have a true 3-point shooting threat last season. L.J. Peak was the only Hoya to take at least 90 shots from 3-point range and make above 40 percent of those attempts.
So while there is a need for adjustment to a greater level of competition, moving from the NEC to the Big East, its one that Hoya fans can expect him to make. He's navigated a long, winding road to get to where he is now.
He needs to end his college career on a good note in order to have a shot at extending his basketball career at the next level. This is his last stop.