Written by Cody Erbacher
Being the focal point behind the Kent State offense is a tough task; one that requires brains and brawn.
But a little help from an iron costume in the form of a day-to-day knee brace doesn’t hurt.
Rodriquez Sherman uses the brace to help him perform his duties on the Kent State team without a struggle.
Rod’s a great slasher,” Kent State coach Geno Ford said about Sherman’s greatest ability: cutting to the hoop. “He can get to the rim really well. He can do it off the dribble or off the catch.”
Although Sherman hated the idea of the obtrusive metal object on his leg, he is now able to refer to it as his “best friend.”
Photo Illustration by Daniel R. Doherty and Phil Botta
Just as Tony Stark changed into the man inside the Iron Man suit after being in hostile captivity, Sherman changed into a point guard after repairing his leg.
Both of the superheroes were a bit shaky during the beginnings of their new occupation but have been able to beat the odds and master their trade.
“He played the wing his entire life — in high school, for three years in our program.” Ford said. “And all the sudden he’s a point guard. The consistent production we’ve gotten from Rod has been why we’ve had a lot of success.”
Ball-handling drills helped Sherman. Millions of dollars invested into an energy source placed in a chest cavity helped Stark.
Surprisingly, Sherman may be more similar to Iron Man than people would think.
“I do got some metal in my knee,” Sherman said about a couple screws in his knees. “It was left from my surgery.”
So the question still remains that was asked by the media, and apparently answered by Tony Stark claiming he is the superhero at the end of the Iron Man movie: Who is the Iron Man?
Is it the man that uses his brains to tear apart opponents defenses while sprinting to the hoop for an easy bucket? Or is it the man that uses his brains to build and then wear a costume while sprinting through bullets?
“Absolutely there’s more to come,” Sherman said. “If they’re naming me to Iron Man and there’s an Iron Man 2 coming out, of course there’s more to come.”
He can’t be stopped! Injuries, surgeries and position changes have tried, but failed!
Rodriquez Sherman is the man with a knee brace that has the ability to stop on a dime, juke a defender out of his shoes and penetrate his way to the hoop for an easy score.
After redshirting last year to recover from an offseason knee surgery, the junior has lead the Kent State offense to a Mid-American Conference title as its point guard — different from his former role as a shooting guard before this season.
With the MAC Tournament starting this Thursday for the Flashes, sports reporter Cody Erbacher sat down with Sherman after practice and asked him about the transition into a different position and how he has contributed to the team.
Q: To start off, you’ve had that brace on all season. How have you been feeling with it?
A: It’s like my best friend now. At first I didn’t like the fact that I had to wear a brace but once I got used to it and comfortable with it, it’s almost like a shield and it’s keeping my knee tight.
Q: The point guard position, how do you like it?
A: I like the point guard position. It’s tough because you have to do a lot of things but with the type of team we have, our team helps each other with everything. It’s a tough position, but I’ve been working pretty hard, working on the ball handling. I’ve been doing better vocally and leading by example.
Q: Early in the season, you told me you weren’t where you need to be vocally as a point guard. Are you at that point now?
A: I still don’t think I’m at where I need to be vocally. I’ve gotten a lot better though. At first I wouldn’t say anything, and now I can come to the team and say what I have to say. I can talk down and encourage but I do more encouraging than talk down because who wants to be talked down to?
Q: Anthony (Simpson) has a great dunking ability — probably the most well known to Flash fans. Do you think you’re better at the dunk?
A: Of course he’s going to be better because he’s taller. It might look better coming from me because I’m small. We call each other the “dunksters” because we get a lot of dunks. We’re kind of in competition to see who can get one each game.
Q: Do you think you two are the best on the team?
A: No. (Sophomore guard) Ian Pinckney. Watch out for him. His dunking ability is crazy.
Q: Compared to the seniors on the team, do you think there is less pressure for you going into the MAC Tournament?
A: Of course it’s less pressure, but I’m going into the MAC Tournament as if its my last season because if I wouldn’t have redshirted, it would be my last season. It’s the type of mindset I have and hopefully that mindset will rub off on everybody. Play every game like it’s your last game.
Q: What are your thoughts on playing Ohio in the first game?
A: We know it’s hard to beat a team three times and we’ve beaten them twice. We’re going to have to go extra hard because now they know what we’re going to do and we’re going to know what they’re going to do. We’re looking at this as a tough matchup.
It’s tough to determine a weakness for a superhero with Iron Man and Sherman’s abilities.
Both men have experience and talent that can be compared with the best of their peers. But all good has to come with a bad. “My 3-point shooting,” said Sherman about his weakness. The interesting part about his weakness is that he isn’t a bad shooter. It’s that he doesn’t shoot enough because he passes up an open shot for the opportunity to cut to the hoop. “I don’t even think about taking the three sometimes,” Sherman said.
If there is a villain that wants to prevent Sherman from competing at his full potential, he said the best away to defend using the 2-3 zone defense, "because when people play zone they want you to shoot the three." Luckily, Sherman isn't alone and he has a supporting cast to help him defeat the other team in the Mid-American Conference. "Rod's role on our team is to do a lot of things," Ford said. "He doesn't shoot a lot of three's because we've got other guys to do that."