#44, Ryan Rosburg
6'10", 264 lbs.
I feel for Ryan Rosburg. On a decent team, where he can play within himself, he could be a respectable contributor - indeed, the main difference between Ryan Rosburg and Steve Moore is that Steve played on teams where he was backing up DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons, and Ricardo Ratliffe, and Ryan has been forced to play a starting role because his teams haven't had any depth at the 5 spot whatsoever. We talked in J3's postseason wrap-up about how he was a guy who was forced to take on more responsibility than he wanted. J3 still contributed despite the pressure; Rosburg more or less imploded.
Rosburg's player profile is something we're all pretty familiar with at this point. He's a guy with limited athleticism and lateral quickness, who tries to compensate with good footwork, physical strength, and just being, you know, big. He works hard, is a great teammate, and would be a decent cog on a team where other players could carry the brunt of the scoring.
In some ways, the season Rosburg had is a symptom of the bigger problems with the roster. For most of the season, there weren't enough guys that could make plays for themselves, let alone creating plays for a big man. As evidenced by the gifs in this post, Ryan is capable of finishing some plays when given the opportunity. The problem is that he didn't have that opportunity very frequently. Instead, he was left to try and make plays himself, and he couldn't handle it.
The general expectation in college basketball is that a player makes their biggest improvement in the transition from sophomore to junior. That didn't happen for Ryan. His stats (except for APG, which stayed the same) all fell off this year, and while on a per-minute basis points and rebounds stayed fairly consistent, the drop in FG% was substantial, which suggests he both took and missed a lot more shots than he did as a sophomore. Obviously, the stat that dropped off the most was his free throw percentage, as he struggled with what has to be the worst case of the yips I've ever seen. He's never going to be a great free throw shooter, but neither is he as brutally awful at it as he was this year.
Ryan's other big problem has always been fouls. A guy who's not as athletic as his competitors has to make up for it somehow. There are good ways to do it - like working hard on defensive positioning to minimize your disadvantage - and bad ways - like fouling like crazy. Rosburg was victimized by the, er, erratic officiating in the SEC some this year, but he also has a tendency to foul guys who beat him. He needs to stop that. When he's not a foul machine, he actually plays pretty solid defense. He moves his feet well for a guy his size, and has shown a propensity for blocking a shot here or there, even against guys who have him beat on quickness. The problem is that he struggles to know when he can get a clean block and when he's going to rack up 3 fouls in 30 seconds.
Bottom line, I like Ryan Rosburg. I always have. Part of the reason I wound up doing his season wrap-up was because I was one of his more vocal defenders prior to the season. On a team where he can focus on minimizing his limitations and capitalizing on plays made by his teammates, he could be a solid contributor - I still think his ceiling is somewhere around 10 points, 8 rebounds per game. But he's not going to do that on his own. If the offense improves and can actually run some high-low action with any competence, and if guys like Wes Clark, Tramaine Isabell, and Terrence Phillips can create plays for him off the dribble, he may get there. I hope so, because he's a Missouri kid who's always played hard and kept his head up.
And I hope he works on his free throw shooting this offseason.
Ryan is a great kid, whom I had the pleasure of hosting when he was a senior in high school. What you love about Ryan is he is very intelligent, he's unselfish, he works his tail off, he does the little things, and he's a blue collar big man. Ryan will be a senior this upcoming season, which is wild to think about. I still think of him as a kid, but he's the most experienced player we'll have on the roster returning. Ryan is very much a role player, but he also is a player you can trust on the floor. Ryan knows where he is supposed to be, he knows his assignment, and he does his job. What I loved about Ryan last year was the Kentucky home game. Prior to that, Ryan wasn't seeing much time. He had a few terrific moves, and had some big moments in that first half to keep us close. He doesn't pout, he doesn't make excuses, he does the right things on and off the floor, and you can count on him to represent your program the right way. I hope Ryan has a great senior season, he's had to go through some rough times in his career at Mizzou. He deserves to go out with a winner, and I appreciate the effort and class he brings to Mizzou basketball.
What Ryan Rosburg is capable of and what his limitations are pretty clear at this point and you'd hope that another year learning on how to play his position more efficiently under Kim Anderson would do him some good, and perhaps it will going into 2015-2016. But for this year, Ryan had troubles at the line, fouling and just generally being out of position on the defensive end. At this point Ryan should probably be getting about 15 - 18 minutes a game spelling the other bigs on this team, going into those spurts where he puts up 6 or so points and grabbing some boards and being a really good teammate. If Ryan is starting (outside of senior night) most of the season next year would mean to me some of the now freshman, then sophomores didn't or aren't progressing the way we'd like to see them. Here's to hoping that's not the case. Work on your free throws this summer RR and hopefully next year you're playing a supporting role on a much improved team.
There's probably not too much left to say about Rosburg that hasn't already been said. There's a certain segment of the Mizzou fan set that loves to absolutely trash the guy, and it's really pretty unfortunate. Ryan is a solid big guy who has been overextended for two years now. He is a division one level big guy, he's just not a power 5 starter, at least not on a good team. Well, maybe if you had 4 other really good players you could get away with it...
Ryan ended up averaging about 16 minutes a contest but his minutes overall fluctuated wildly. In the two games against Kentucky he played 25 minutes and 4 minutes. He had a season high 29 minutes vs Mississippi State and played well. That game suited him because of State's relatively slow but strong bodies inside. He had two DNPs vs Arkansas and Tennessee. Two teams that are smaller and faster. At this point in his career Ros just has to be put in position to succeed when he's on the court, and that did happen more down the stretch this year than for most of the season. So here's to hoping for a successful senior campaign where he can give the team quality minutes and not shoot too many free throws.