You’d be hard pressed to hear Andrew Rogers say anything negative about his time at St. Jude.
In fact, Rogers absolutely enjoys the Class 1A school so much that he wanted a similar environment at college.
“I got a small school now and it kind of reminds me of it,” Rogers said after signing with Alabama A&M on Tuesday. “I know a lot of people at A&M, so it’s like a home away from home for me. I really wanted to stay in Alabama and not be too far away from my family.”
The 6-foot-4 senior opted to sign with the Southwestern Athletic Conference program over Jacksonville State, Troy and Alabama State.
“This means a lot for our students, that school and the community,” St. Jude coach Earl Taylor said. “Not only is it good the student-athlete gets a good education, but he gets an opportunity to play on the next level. Andrew’s a special kid with a high motor and an exceptional athlete.
“His IQ for basketball is extremely high.”
Rogers played a huge role in helping the Pirates win the Class 1A state championship last season. He averaged 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds en route to earning Advertiser 1A-4A Player of the Year, All-State and participating in the AHSAA’s North-South game, too.
“It’s a real humbling experience,” said Rogers, who transferred from Escambia County and sat out as a sophomore at St. Jude. “I am surrounded by a whole lot of people that I didn’t even know five years ago. It’s amazing how far God has brought me — it’s just real humbling.”
Rogers did not want a lot of hoopla surrounding Tuesday’s ceremony because St. Jude was just hours away from its season opener at BTW Magnet.
“Most people looked at it as real big deal, but due to the fact that we have a game (Tuesday) I was just really trying to focus and not let this be a distraction,” Rogers said. “I am just trying to stay focused on the task at hand.”
Led by Rogers, St. Jude should compete once again for the state crown with the majority of the team still in the fold, according to experts.
“What we did last year is over,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to get focused on the task at hand in defense of our state championship. He has stepped up and is ready to be a leader.”