CSU's David Roddy- Renowned Mound of All-Around
Fort Collins, Colorado is a city with about 170,000 residents.
And, with apologies to former Colorado State football coach Sonny Lubick, at this moment, none of them is likely more popular than David Roddy.
But these days in those parts of middle Colorado – a city just 50 minutes from Denver – Roddy has the town and the Rams faithful feeling a bit rowdy. The Rams have sold out their last five games in 8,000-seat Moby Arena and are on the verge of a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
The Rams are 22-4 and finished in second place in the tight, competitive and overlooked Mountain West. No matter what happens in Vegas, the Rams will be in the draw on Selection Sunday and a clear threat to play into the Sweet 16.
The Rams finished a strong second in the MW, putting away conference champion Boise State over the final weekend. It was a win where Roddy had a game-high 23 points.
“I think we're turning the corner a little bit,” he said recently. “… if we just go out there and handle our business and play our hearts out, we can make a deep run wherever we end up in March.”
In fact, Roddy might be the best player – overall and otherwise – in the conference. Yes, Wyoming’s Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado, UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton, Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and San Diego State’s Matt Bradley are all sound and good in their own ways, but it’s Roddy who makes heads turn. He has it all for this mid-major that has been more major than middling.
And he makes others better, too.
“He’s got that personality like the pied piper,” CSU coach Niko Medved told the Ft. Collins Coloradoan recently. “When you meet him, he has that ability to make you feel like you’ve known him forever. He’s just such a warm, engaging person and so willing to give his time to anybody.”
So, he does, and the locals have taken notice, but more on that later.
For Medved, Roddy brings a Ram toughness: size, strength and power with some guile. He said he doesn’t have a nickname other than a simple “D-Rod” although those who remember the 1990s do say he reminds them of a versatile Charles Barkley, the “Round Mound of Rebound.”
Ok, so there’s that, Roddy is 6-6, 250 pounds and can get around the court like a freight train, but with the grace of a downhill-moving guard. He posts up smaller players and defends bigger ones, too.
“People say I’m similar to him in size and athletic ability,” Roddy said. “I guess kind of a new age Barkley … I do try to emulate a little bit.”
Why not? He’s been able to amaze and amuse the masses when on the court throughout the mountain states, averaging 19.5 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, both team-highs.
“It’s about being comfortable and aware of who I am,” he said, “understanding my strengths and weakness that I’ve developed over the years and try to minimize as many weaknesses as possible. It’s all part of the experience and growth. It’s been good.”
So, let’s give him a nickname: Why not, the “Renowned Mound of All-Around?” Maybe the college basketball world will soon know what those in Fort Collins already know: Roddy is a pretty good player, one that has the Rams trending up this season and over the past three since his arrival from Minnesota.
Colorado State’s trajectory – not coincidentally – has coincided with his arrival, given CSU was 12-20 before he arrived. The Rams went 20-12 his freshman year, one where he played in every game.
Last season, CSU went 20-12 and now are, well, one of the best teams in the west. As CSU has improved, he’s done just the same.
“It’s like night and day, really,” he said when asked how much he’s improved since he arrived on campus in the summer of 2019. “It’s the first time I have focused on one sport. Back in high school it was me dunking the basketball so it’s really interesting and awesome to see.”
Dribble drives, power moves and a nice jumper just came so much faster to the fleet-footed, one-time high school quarterback and discus thrower. Of course, he thrived in those sports too, given his penchant for success through his drive to succeed.
He did have help – with that drive – from his father who coached him when he was a younger football player and his older brothers, who at times made it tough on their baby brother. David was six years younger than the oldest and wanted to be involved with the others at a young age.
After all, don’t you get better by playing better people? Getting knocked down just means you get up to fight another day/game/play.
So, of course, there was that athletic rivalry.
“It was constantly competitive,” he said of the household with his brothers. “Constant fights around the house. People wanted to win against each other every day. I think that’s where it comes from. I’m the youngest of five so it was a competitive household.”
Still, he was the baby of the family, and well, the “Golden Child,” as he put it.
“It was an interesting dynamic,” he said. “All my brothers resented me a little bit in how I was raised versus how they were. Our parents were more strict on them, but I learned from them. They challenged me in every way. They showed me tough love, but I have great relationships with all my brothers. It’s been awesome.”
Sometime in high school – finally – David was able to win against his older brothers. He was bigger, stronger and too much for them.
“That’s kind of where I separated or had that gap,” he said.
It helped that he was very athletic, able to eventually become one of Minnesota’s best high school quarterbacks and state champion in the discus and runner-up in the shot put. It’s helped him become a better basketball player – in preparation, competitiveness, angles, leadership, anticipation of plays and more.
“It’s pretty similar actually … watching film and breaking down defenses,” he said. “Being the quarterback was key in the team’s success. It’s a lot easier in basketball because there’s only five guys, 10 guys total … I can see angles and making the right play. It’s been very interesting and fun, given the amount of film that we watch.”
Now, CSU goes in as one of the favorites to win the MW Tournament - it swept the regular-season champion, Boise State, this season. It has Colorado State and its fans salivating for more, given the Rams were one of the first four teams left out of last year’s NCAA tournament, but are clearly in this year.
“That's just a testament to the coaches, the coaching staff and choosing high-character guys,” he said, of the team’s success. “Everybody has bought into changing the culture. It's important to win and to win a championship. We’re trying to leave our legacy; it’s one of the most important things that we all stated during the recruitment process.
“It's a great group of guys, a rare group of guys where there's no egos and no selfishness on the team. We’re all bought into the idea of bringing championships to Fort Collins as well as leaving our legacy.”
In turn, the city – as cozy as it is – has embraced Roddy. In fact, he might be the perfect student-athlete for a nice college town and what NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) rule are all about.
In fact, he has several deals. DNVR, a Denver-based sports media outlet, a local radio station sponsored by a local pizza place, a credit union and just recently Great Digital Health.
“Hopefully there’s more to come,” he said. “But it’s been a great few months with all that and a lot of learning opportunities.
“It’s been great. It’s life lessons I’m learning at a very young age. It’ll definitely prepare me for later in life.”
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