When you watch the Ohio Bobcats play basketball, you see players who are confident in their roles on the court. In the case of Jason Preston, he’s confident in his ability to find teammates and make plays. Lunden McDay takes pride in his defense and Dwight Wilson can count on being a presence in the paint.
But for Ben Roderick, this season has been all about finding and growing his confidence. And over the past few games, it’s been clear what his calling card is: shooting the ball.
So far this season, Roderick leads Ohio in 3-point shooting percentage (47.1%) and has developed into Ohio’s deep threat. In games, Roderick will pull from the half court logo to the corner with a defender in his face and still sink the shot. Not everyone can shoot with the fearlessness that the sophomore has. Some people have to develop it, but according to Ohio coach Jeff Boals, Roderick has had it ever since he first saw him.
“He’s (Roderick) one of those kids that makes tough shots and just really needs one to go in,” Boals said.
Throughout Ben Roderick’s high school basketball career, he could always count on his consistency.
A four-year letter winner at Olentangy Liberty, Roderick was a problem for defenders in the Ohio Capital Conference on a nightly basis. Roderick’s long 6-foot-5 inch frame allowed him to consistently shoot over defenders, averaging 27.9 points per game. His strength made him dependable on the glass and his steady dominance made him a sure lock for Ohio Gatorade Player of the year.
But when Roderick stepped foot on campus for his freshman season, nothing was consistent.
“Yeah, I’ve sorta had some bad luck...” Roderick said
A knee injury kept him out of Ohio’s first six games. It wasn’t the first time Roderick had battled injuries, having torn his left ACL his junior year at Liberty, and it wouldn’t be his last. After struggling his first four games, Roderick hurt his hand and missed another five games.
It was an awful beginning to what was supposed to be an arrival to the big stage. When Roderick’s decision to come to Ohio was announced, fans rejoiced. It hadn’t been since the days of DJ Cooper that Bobcat fans were as excited to see someone play. Roderick was just as anxious.
When he finally came back, you could see the nerves manifest themselves on the court. Roderick had to scrape for every minute, possession and point he got. It can be tough for a freshman to adapt to the college game, but even tougher when all eyes are on you.
After COVID-19 delivered the final blow to Roderick’s underwhelming freshman campaign, he’s done everything he can to get back to form this season. And the first start is by developing consistency.
Roderick has started in all but one game this season. He hopes to remain healthy to help lead Ohio (7-6, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) back to the MAC Tournament. In order to do that, he’ll have to keep sharpening his game.
“I’ve been working every day in practice before and after and it’s been working,” Roderick said. “I think being able to shoot more I can just add more to my game and it’ll make me a whole better player.”
Roderick’s work before, during and after practice has played a big part in Ohio's success this season. Roderick is currently fourth in the conference in 3-point percentage and has made six 3-pointers in a game twice this season already. After having to fight for minutes last season, Roderick has become a staple in the starting lineup and is showing the potential that Boals saw in him as a high schooler.
“I think he’s really in a good groove right now,” Boals said. “We need him to be. As a shot-maker, which I never really was, when you hit a couple shots like that, you get confidence.”
And that confidence will continue to grow...with consistency.