If you walked into Rockbridge County High School’s gym on Monday afternoon, you might not see anything different from a normal basketball practice.
“Grab a partner,” Head Coach Darrell Plogger shouts. “Bank shots, right side.”
What may strike you, however, is the 5-foot-11-inch senior sending shot after shot off the backboard and into the bottom of the net.
That player, Andrew Rowsey, is RCHS’s star point guard, who recently signed a contract to play Division 1 basketball for the University of North Carolina at Asheville next year.
Born and raised in Rockbridge County, Rowsey, 18, said he’s been shooting a basketball since he was 2 years old.
“We used to have this [pop-a-shot] and I’d stay on that thing. Man, the backboard was all torn up,” he said.
Last year, Rowsey told the Rockbridge Report he was considering transferring high schools to hone his basketball skills and better his chances of playing NCAA Division I basketball.
“I could’ve gone to a private school for better competition, but I’d miss my family,” he said. “I’m real close with my family.”
Rowsey said his father, Chris, is the reason he began playing basketball, but his mother, Melissa, is the one who helped him decide to stay at RCHS and accept the scholarship to UNC Asheville.
“She’s just always on my side,” Rowsey said.
This season, Rowsey led the Wildcats’ varsity team to a 10-6 record. Plogger said that loyalty and character are big parts of Rowsey’s game.
“Every year he seems to come back with some part of his game better,” Plogger said, “This year, you can really see him being a leader out there on the floor.”
Rowsey’s teammates have often seen the point guard in the limelight, but Plogger insists that the team doesn’t see him differently.
“We have a few jokers on the team,” Plogger said. “We just treat him like one of the guys.”
He also said that while most people expect Rowsey’s best trait to be his quick shot, the coach thinks it’s something else.
“He just works so hard and he’s got great character; that’s what’s different about [Rowsey],” Plogger said.