The Fresh Start series will profile a new coach or eligible transfer who will make an impact in the Southeastern Conference this season. The next player in the series is former Rutgers guard and new addition to the Florida Gators backcourt, Mike Rosario.
Mike Rosario is accustomed to being the star. He was the star at Rutgers where he averaged 16.2 PPG in his freshman season and 16.7 PPG in his sophomore year. As much as Rosario was scoring for the Scarlet Knights, though, his team wasn’t winning. Both of his seasons with Rutgers were losing campaigns, including winning a total of only seven Big East games in both years combined. For Rosario, transferring elsewhere represented a chance to win.
The Florida Gators represented greener pastures for Rosario. Florida will count on Rosario to be a leader for a team that has Final Four hopes, but that doesn’t mean it will be without scrutiny. Head coach Billy Donovan said, “Rosario is playing every second of practice but what happens when something doesn’t go well? That will be the true test.” The test is already in full effect. Rosario is part of a crowded backcourt with several stars. Returnees Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker both averaged over 14 PPG last year, while newcomer Brad Beal could be the best shooter of the four and figures to start alongside Boynton and Walker. Can Rosario deal with coming off the bench as a role player when he has been so accustomed to having the ball in his hands? Rosario certainly believes he is ready to take on the challenge.