Faced with an opportunity to continue turning the corner on his career while simultaneously becoming more mature and polished as a player, Florida Gators redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario succeeded in his mission and was officially placed on the 12-man roster for the Puerto Rico National Team on Saturday.
In Puerto Rico trying out for the team with head coach Billy Donovan’s blessing since late May, Rosario always had a legitimate shot to make the squad but had to prove to his coaches that he was ready for the responsibility, something that has not always been the case throughout his career.
He will now compete for Puerto Rico in the 2012 Centrobasket Championship beginning on Monday, an event in which a strong performance can go a long way to helping his team qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
“I’m lost for words right now,” Rosario told SNY.tv after announcing his accomplishment on Twitter. “I came down to Puerto Rico knowing that the challenge to make this National Team was going to take a lot of hard work and being professional at all times.
“I’m so happy because I’m representing Florida, my family and my character. I’m also thankful for [Donovan] giving me the opportunity to come down here to get better. Not only that but just to go for a dream that I’ve been waiting to come true. I’m humble and hungry right now and I’m not satisfied. I want more and more going into my senior year at Florida. I’m going to keep working hard and keep thanking the man above for giving me the talent that I have. I’m thankful for every last bit of it.”
Rosario averaged 6.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and an assist in 14.4 minutes per game while shooting career-best percentages from the field and downtown with the Gators during the 2011-12 season. With G Bradley Beal leaving to play professionally and point guard Erving Walker having graduated, he is in prime position to return to a starting role for the first time in two seasons when he averaged team-highs of 16.7 points and 33.7 minutes per game for Rutgers in 2009-10.
Photo Credit: Associated Press