Senior guard JR Rogers is leading Central’s basketball team in scoring, and his teammates likely don’t even know his name. At least his real name.
The 6-4 leader for the Chargers has been a starter since his sophomore year, when Central last had a winning season and won the district title. Yet, JR is known by a name not really his own.
When Rogers was playing youth sports in second grade, there were so many other kids named Jake and Jacob, those with such names were just referred to as “J” and the first letter of their last name. Hence, Jacob Rogers became known as “JR” and it has stuck ever since.
Regardless of what people call him, Rogers has been called upon to take more shots while on the floor, whether driving the lane, posting up or putting up a three-pointer.
Central head coach Gerald Sledge said Rogers’ play has been unselfish and is taking on a style which is more attuned to what the team needs rather than to Rogers’ strengths.
“He has gone from playing on a team that was loaded with talent and athleticism … to our current situation where a where we are full of role players and [he] has been forced to change his style of play,” Sledge said, noting the district championship team was loaded with three collegiate Division I athletes.
He is currently averaging 16 points and eight rebounds a game with his all-time game high of 26 points against Grapevine this year. He poured in 22 in the Flower Mound Marcus game.
Rogers admits his style may have been transformed with a new cast around him.
“Three years ago when we won district, my role was a lot different,” Rogers said. “I didn’t have to do a lot. I just had to be the guard and shoot the three,” he said.
“This year I am definitely more of an aggressor,” he added. “I score and take a lot more shots.”
Taking more shots, including pulling the trigger from long range, is something Rogers earns in practice.
“We do a weird drill,” Rogers explained, saying they have a 20-minute shooting drill where the player who hits the most threes gets the green light in games. “No one questions the shots,” he said.
Shooting from the outside isn’t the only part of Rogers’ game, who said that although his confidence is high from the outside, he also can run set plays off the double screen and drive the lane.
Going into the Chargers’ district opener on Tuesday with Timber Creek, Central was winless at 0-7. They had just fallen short last Friday in a 50-49 loss to Lake Dallas in a game which they dominated until the final quarter.
But it’s not for lack of effort, Rogers said.
“We’re in there every morning at 6 a.m., working hard,” he said. “We’re hoping we can win some games. At the Marcus game, we came out a little scared but picked up the intensity and made it a game,” Rogers said of the second half effort. “It will give us a building block heading into to the next game.”
Although many may feel the Chargers will need a number of blocks to build upon this season, Rogers’ goals for himself and the team are certainly realistic at this stage of the season.
“I envision myself as all-district,” he said of his goals. “And I think we can make the playoffs. The last time was when I was a sophomore. I think a lot of people doubt us after last year and we can sneak up on some people and beat them.”