by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
You could easily pick Rory Donovan – a long and lean 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, with large hands and feet – out of a crowd as a basketball player. And you’d be right.
Along with the ideal physique, the Rogers senior has highly-developed skills including a good shooting touch inside and outside and at the free throw line.
Donovan leads the 16-8 Royals with 15.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game. He’s hitting 46 percent from the field and 74 percent at the line.
His big games include 24 points in a 61-54 win over Prior Lake, 20 in a 70-64 OT win over Zimmerman, and 16 in a 68-63 loss to No. 5 ranked Apollo.
“His length and size are obvious attributes,” said coach Joe Belka, “but he also has a great shooting touch, he is very active around the basket, and he has good timing, which allows him to block a lot of shots. … He jumps very well and has gotten a lot stronger since last season.”
Donovan made all-conference as a sophomore when he notched 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and blocked 45 shots. His shooting stats were just about the same as this year, 47 on field goals and 72 on free shots.
“I’ve always had a pretty decent shot,” said Donovan, who ranges out to the 3-point line but not beyond. “I’ll go outside or inside, whatever is working that night.”
Another admirable Donovan hallmark is a calm demeanor. He’s poker-faced from start to finish every game. Says Belka: “As a coach you like a player who is capable of keeping his emotions in check. Rory stays very calm and is never one to let the moment get the best of him.”
Donvan concurrs: “I’m always pretty calm. I never have any outbursts.”
Defensively, Donovan guarded perimeter players a lot this year, a luxury Rogers can afford because they have lots of size.
“He has improved that part of his game,” said Belka. “His footwork has gotten better and he is able to defend the post and perimeter. He is a very good shot blocker.”
Donovan said his career highlight so far was beating arch rival St. Michael-Albertville in overtime this season. He had 14 that night.
His goals for this year are to “go to the state tournament, make all-conference and maybe lead the team in scoring.”
MIAC schools are showing interest this straight-A student who scored high on the ACT’s. Aiming for a business career, Donovan said he might try hoops if he goes to St. Thomas.
“He is capable of playing college basketball,” said Belka. “He has developed so much …. The sky is the limit for him.”
THE DONOVAN SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 17 …. Family: parents Sue and Jerry; brother Troy, 16 … Sport: basketball … Academics: 3.93 GPA … College plans: St. Thomas or U of Minnesota
Favorite stuff — Class: Team Sports … TV show: Tosh.0 on Comedey Central … Movies: Adam Sandler comedies … Food: “My dad’s cheeseburgers.” … Team: Vikings … Athlete: LaBron James … Kickback: video games, especially Call of Duty … Place he’d like to visit: “Anyplace in the Caribbean!”