Monday, June 18, 2007

Player Profiles: #23 Steve Rossiter

Before the first ever game in his D-I career, Steve Rossiter probably had a butterfly or two. The Wildcats were opening their season at Cameron Indoor Stadium, one of the nation's toughest venues, against Duke University, the nation's top-ranked team at that time. I was nervous just being a spectator.

Steve Rossiter did not ever get a chance to play in that game. In fact, Rossiter missed the entire 2005-2006 season due to a stress fracture. Although he returned to full health by mid-season, the forward from Staten Island decided to take a medical redshirt year.

When all of the 2006-2007 season previews began to be bandied about within message boards and conversations, Rossiter's name was rarely mentioned. Most casual fans had even forgotten that Davidson had a 6-8 forward who had been practicing against Ian Johnson the entire season before.

When Davidson returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium, Rossiter, though officially listed as a freshman, knew what the Dukies were all about. Rossiter played 15 minutes and corraled a couple of rebounds in the 'Cats' losing effort.

Over the course of last season, Rossiter only averaged 7.3 minutes a game and 1.6 points a game. Playing as the fourth big man in the lineup, Rossiter was used sparingly.

However, to take a look at Rossiter's numbers, one would generalize that the forward usually accumulated most of his minutes in the trash time at the end of a game. While Steve certainly headed up the scout team in practice every day, his game minutes often came in very crucial situations.

If Meno or Sander entered foul trouble, it was up to Rossiter to provide a legitimate threat in the paint to keep opponents honest. While his PT did not often coincide with big shots, slam dunks or posterizing blocks, Rossiter remained as one of many sources of oil keeping the machine running.

After most games, Bob McKillop would exclaim to the gathered media: "And did you see the play of Rossiter tonight? I mean that guy played tough for us. He put in some really important minutes. He's always ready to go as soon as he steps on the floor." After McKillop sang Rossiter's praises in the large press conference after the Southern Conference title game, most of the media members quickly whipped out their team guides to try to figure out which guy McKillop was talking about.

During every game, Rossiter always sat down at the end of the bench next to the team trainer. Although some might think it was habit after sitting in that seat for all of his redshirt season, I know that it's because Rossiter always has to be on his feet after every shot that's taken or made. You can look at any picture or video of a Davidson game and Rossiter is always the first on his feet to congratulate his teammates and yell encouragement.

With the repeated refrain of every player on Davidson's basketball team, Steve Rossiter maintains an incredibly personable spirit that loves to have fun and talk to anyone that will talk back. Davidson would be an even better place if it were able to keep more people like Rossiter around for five years.

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