After stops at two junior colleges, TeNale Roland, a 2009 New Albany High School graduate, is playing major college basketball at Utah State.
Roland, now a junior, attended Vincennes for a season as a redshirt before landing at Rend Lake. In between junior-college stops, he sat out a season after a late-summer coaching change at Vincennes left him without a roster spot.
Roland has started six games for Utah State, scoring a season-high nine points against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Santa Clara.
“He’s a quality young guy that’s trying to figure out everything he can do to help our basketball team,” Aggies
coach Stew Morrill said. “I think he’s going to do nothing but continue to be more confident in our system.”
Roland spoke this week with The Courier-Journal’s Matt Denison.
You sat out a year between Vincennes and Rend Lake. How did you keep your game sharp?
I found out a week before school started that I wouldn’t have a spot at Vincennes, and I basically had no options or any backup plans. I worked out the whole year with (former Jeffersonville star and overseas pro) Paris Bryant. He played point guard, too, so I learned a lot about the game from him. I really credit him for a lot of my success right now. That year off got me in the best shape of my life. I went to a (junior-college showcase) in Indianapolis and met the Rend Lake coach. They liked me and gave me a scholarship.
How did the junior-college experiences help prepare you for NCAA Division I basketball?
The year at Rend Lake was great from Day One. I was in tip-top shape when I arrived on campus. I was named Player of the Year in Region 24 and ended up as a second-team All-American. We had a great year as a team and ended up going to the national tournament for the first time in the school’s history.
Why did you choose Utah State?
It’s a winning program. They win every year and graduate 90 percent of their players. They have a great coaching staff, and I liked the (other recruits) coming in my class. They ended up recruiting me towards the end of the season (at Rend Lake). Coach Morrill came to the national tournament to see me play. That’s when they brought me out (for a campus visit), and I ended up liking it and coming here. The campus is really nice.
What’s living in Utah like compared to Southern Indiana?
It’s really different and extremely cold right now. The atmosphere is good and the altitude is high. When I came out here I had to get in better shape. They love basketball here as well. We probably have one of the best fan bases in the Western Athletic Conference. It’s a tough place (for visiting teams) to play. They win a lot of games here.