Roodly awakening

When you look in the dictionary under the definition of a team player, you might see a picture of Roodly Prophete.

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound walk-on freshman guard for the men’s basketball team may not come in a big package, but the kid has heart, and sometimes that’s all you need.

“(Roodly) is the ultimate team player. (He) works hard every day in practice and always has a smile on his face,” assistant coach Greg Gary said. “It’s good to be around people like that and have those kind of kids on your team, (the kind) that always puts the team first and will do whatever it takes to help the team.”

Selfishness is not in Prophete’s vocabulary. He is content with his role on the team and knows that he is gaining invaluable knowledge about the game of basketball by just being a part of the team.

“Coming from high school … it’s nothing like high school,” Prophete said. “I’m learning a lot from coach (Robert McCullum); stuff that I don’t know about the game. To me, it’s just a learning experience to learn more about the game.”

McCullum recognizes Prophete’s hard work and believes that he makes the team stronger with his determination and defensive skills.

“Roodly has been a valuable asset,” McCullum said. “He came out last year during the 2004-05 season and things didn’t work out. It was important enough to him that any way that he could help to be a part of the program, he wanted to do that. He played with our guys most of the summer and came out again via the walk-on tryouts.

“He does a very good job of defending the dribble – probably his strongest asset (is) his ability to defend the dribble through his quickness and athleticism. He is also very valuable in terms of assimilating the kind of defensive pressure that we may face from our opponents.”

Basketball has been the focus for Prophete, 20, for the majority of his young life. He was born in the Caicos Islands but grew up in Southern Florida.

“I started playing basketball in the fifth grade,” he said, “but I didn’t get real serious until the seventh grade.”

Prophete played for the Silver Lake Middle School team during the seventh and eighth grade, then attended Cardinal Gibbons High School and later transferred to Coconut Creek High School in North Lauderdale.

“When I transferred my junior year to play at Coconut Creek, which is a 6A school, the competition was a lot tougher,” Prophete said. “They went to state the year before I came there.

“It was a good experience when I came on and started. There a real difference in competition, and I had a lot to prove.”

Prophete played with current teammate McHugh Mattis at Coconut Creek. Mattis was named the captain and most valuable player of his high school team.

Playing college ball with a friend from youth can definitely make a difference, especially when you are a wide-eyed freshman in a strange town.

“It’s bringing back memories,” Prophete said. “It feels good being part of a team, especially with my old teammate, somebody I already know and I’m close to. I give him rides home everyday, and we always talk and chill.”If it weren’t for family and friends, Prophete might have taken a different path.

“I was a bad kid; I was on the streets and stuff,” Prophete said. “My ‘second’ family, which is like my brothers – I have seven brothers, actually. They actually own a high school magazine called Breakdown. They took me into their family and worked with me and took me all over the country playing basketball – (seeing) the best talent all over the world. They kind of inspired me to play the game.”

Prophete has a favorite NBA player who had to overcome adversity due to his lack of size and power, something that the freshman can associate with.”Allen Iverson. Hands down, he’s someone I wouldn’t, say, compare myself to, but he kind of inspires me to play the game,” Prophete said. “If you got heart and hard work, you can overcome and do anything. That’s why I got the tattoo, ‘Only the Strong Survive,’ and he has that tattoo, too. I feel like if I am strong, I will survive.”

Roodly believes that all his hard work will pay off eventually, and someday he might be able to play pro basketball somewhere, overseas possibly.But no matter what he’s doing, Prophete wants to be part of the team, playing the game that he loves.

“I’ll be waiting patiently to do whatever I can to help out,” Prophete said. “If that means coming in for 10 seconds to play defense, or if it means playing for 15 minutes like I did in the UAB game, closing out the second half of the game. I’ve dreamed about playing college basketball, and playing against a team like Syracuse (on Saturday) is a dream come true.”