Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rodney's Ride : Mid-Major Recruit Culver Garnering More Interest

Assessing the new offensive style Elev8 Prep will implement in 2015-16, Rodney Culver understands his role.

He doesn't need to adjust, assimilate or adapt much at all.

This breakneck, high-horsepower attack mirrors the style on which Culver tends to thrive.

At Pickerington Central High in Ohio, Culver scored the rock at all three levels--at the rim, from 18-feet, and from beyond the confines of the arc.

An adrenaline-fueled 6-foot-4 wing, Culver carved his niche as an effective rebounder and more of a menacing shot-blocker than his size would indicate.

 This unbridled defensive energy solidified Culver's jack-of-all-trades status.

Simply put, the mid to high-major recruit utilized his athleticism all across the stat sheet.

 A slasher at heart, Culver refined his mid-range game. He flipped turnovers into transition leak-out buckets, and soared in for stickbacks.

His multi-faceted role entailed expanding his overall offensive package over time.

"Elev8 has the playing style that I'm accustomed to, that's the style I like," said Culver, who took an an unofficial visit to the University of Florida this weekend.

"It's an easy adjustment for me. I envision myself as an athletic wing who can score and bring energy to the floor defensively, play my hardest and be the best teammate I can be."

One of the more intriguing attributes of Culver's game is his battle-tested poise.

He's got a natural calming awareness to him, never rattled under amplified pressure.

This has enabled him to become a key source during crunch time.

Culver has recent interest from aforementioned Florida as well as Nebraska, rapidly evolving into a fringe
high-major recruit.

Nebraska Assistant coach Kenya Hunter was sold on the wiry, deceptively athletic prospect. Hunter has been in consistent contact. Culver hasn't narrowed down his list or arrived at a timetable on his decision.

His focus remains on the task at hand.

"I like to do a little bit of everything, there's not one specific area of my game where I'd say 'this is where I am.' I like to contribute all over," Culver said.

"I pride myself on getting to the basket whenever I want and getting to the foul line. I'm developing into more of a consistent shooter, my shootng's starting to come along. My identity is that of a versatile guard."

George Mason, Campbell, East Carolina, and IPFW, and a bevy of others have expressed interest in Culver.

St. Peter's and St. Bonaventure have recently offered.

 Coaches from St. Bonnies will likely be in Delray Beach, Fla., this weekend to see Culver in live scrimmages.

Flanked and smothered by higher-caliber players at the prep ranks, Culver must seize a piece of the leadership mantle.

He credits Elev8 coach George Johnson for pushing him out of his comfort zone, demanding an uptick in leadership while simultaneously imploring him to increase his vocal presence on the court.

Featuring a surplus of guards and wings, Elev8 will break out the track shoes in this newly-minted transition attack, with some 110 high hurdles and high jumpers displaying the aerial game.

"Rodney's 6-foot-3 but he possesses a 6-foot-11 wingspan, he's an intriguing threat given his versatility," said Johnson.

"He's a tremendous asset for us given his ability to guard multiple positions. In my eyes, he can guard the 1-4. He additionally brings a level of savvy that's pretty much a requirement at this level."

Elev8's Cody Toppert envisions Culver as a high-major player down the road. His shot needs consistency, his form needs a little tweaking, but the advanced skill-set could render him a sleeper in the Division-I upper crust.

"He's got an underrated basketball IQ," Toppert said.

"There's no question in my mind he's a high-major basketball player. For him to prove that he's going have get out on the wing, run as hard as he can every possession. He's going to have to defend full court. Sometimes the point guard, sometimes the wing, it might even be the four."

His versatility has enabled him to play at the four, should Elev8 go small. He has the attributes of a high-efficiency scorer, a guy who can reel off points without requiring a vast number of shots. Should his stroke improve, should he sustain his level of play at the higher plateau this season, expect more in the category of high-major programs to come calling.