“I am a playmaker on both ends of the earth”

Toledo guard Ryan Rollins turned in a solid first season with the Rockets two years ago, but it was his sophomore campaign that put the 20-year-old firmly on the NBA’s radar.

Rollins was named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2021 after averaging 13.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 games. He started every game that season and finished second in scoring on the team behind Marion Jackson.

After that, Rollins raised his game to the next level last season.

Average 18.9 points, six rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals in 34 games, earning a spot on the All-MAC first team. His 641 points were the third in the program’s history as he became the fourth player to reach at least 1,000 points in two seasons.

Now, Rollins is looking to transfer that success to the NBA.

He was a highlight of the group last month, measuring 6 feet 3 inches in boots with 6 feet 9 wingspan. He was restricted to the fastest shuttlecock at 3.07 seconds and scored 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in his solo match.

After this show, Rollins began to appear more and more on the draft boards. He is now considered a potential first-round pick and is on the cusp of becoming the first drafted Rocket since Casey Shaw was selected 37th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1998.

Rookie Wire met with Rollins on Wednesday to discuss his career, the pre-draft process, what he wants to take to the next level and more.

please note: This interview has been slightly edited for clarity

RR: I was in Dallas training. We had a group of young undergraduates, guys working on the draft as well. I was training with them and getting a good job. I think I improved a lot, especially in the areas where I was focused, which was my shot and my reward with the ball. These two things have definitely improved over the past couple of months.

RR: I would get up at 8 in the morning and go weightlifting at 9 in the morning, and from there, I would practice basketball at about 11:30. I would rest for the rest of the day until about 9:30 and then do another basketball practice.

RR: I think I’m just a game maker – creating for myself, for others. I am a playmaker on both ends of the earth. I come up with robberies, barricades, and deflections on the defensive end that turns into an easy attack.

RR: It was cool, especially when you’re in the middle of a major. I was just kind of putting Toledo on the map and the conference in general; This is a difficult conference. Being there and being able to put in a good season and win the regular season was definitely a good thing.

RR: It was exciting. My mom was there, and my aunt was there. The people were there and I had to play a great game in a completely different country. It was amazing to be able to do that and win the championship as well.

RR: It was just about developing a better 3-point shot. Honestly, you only have to tighten everything up since my freshman year. Just improving in general, becoming stronger and more powerful. I knew coming into my sophomore year, it would be my team. I would have had more possession of the ball and had to take the lead.

RR: very useful. It allows me the ability to be a great two-way player by using my height to find distractions and lots of steals by being active on the defensive end. I’ve been using it my whole life so I think it will help in the NBA as well.

RR: I had 10 rehearsals. Throughout the trainings, I was trying to compete and dominate the drills and be one of the best players out there, which I think I did to most of them. I was just going to play my game. The team I was in won the majority of matches, so I just wanted to compete at a high level.

RR: I don’t think it’s that much, like the length of the road, but I’m sure the amount of flights I’ve taken in such a short period will be a preview of what it’s going to be like. They can negatively affect your body, so you need to stay hydrated and be aware of your body and things.

RR: I only believe my ability to create on my own and honestly. I’m one of the guys in the draft who can have a one-on-one bucket and will be able to in the NBA. Just being able to smash your cannons and get a bucket without having to pick up or get out of any action.

RR: Kobe Bryant was my favorite guy. I like Brandon Roy very much and Carmelo Anthony. I think Kobe kind of put the post-up into my game a bit. To be able to see a larger guard, take the smaller guards and use your touch, foot movement and agility to create easy shots of that. Watching him and seeing what he was able to do gave me some kind of encouragement.

RR: I’m excited. It is a dream come true. I’m ready for that to happen and learn where I’m going and other things. There is a little tension just because I don’t know where I’m going.

RR: Everyone is excited. I have a huge family, so all my uncles and aunts have been texting me and calling me to tell me how proud they are of me. It’s exciting for everyone. It’s a new chapter in life to go into, so I’m excited and all my loved ones are excited too.

RR: It will mean the world. It’s a dream come true. Just being there with my family and everyone who has been there since day one and being able to celebrate a new chapter in my life would definitely be amazing and exciting.

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