Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Ty Rodgers is an incoming freshman at Illinois who is currently 48th in the 247Sports composite rankings. Since our first Q&A with him in May of 2020, he moved to Chicago from Michigan and played his senior season at Thornton Township High School (IL) under Meanstreets coach Tai Streets.
As Rodgers explained, his plan to be the hardest worker at USAB U18 camp is coming to fruition. Throughout camp, his motor has not stopped on either end of the floor, covering multiple positions defensively and being active on the glass while also driving the ball with aggression and showing good vision dependent on how the defense reacted to those drives. The result? Making the U18 roster that's headed to Tijuana, Mexico.
In our interview at USA Basketball Men's U18 training camp, Rodgers goes into his mindset, his love of the outdoors, and his expectations going into his freshman year at Illinois.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 Illinois commit Ty Rodgers from Saginaw, Michigan:
Pro Insight: Congratulations on being selected to the USAB U18 team! What’s been your impression so far of camp?
Ty Rodgers: Man, it's been good. Just coming in every day, competing, showing that I'm the hardest worker and got the highest motor. Just doing the little things, and that's what is keeping me here.
PI: Is there anything else you hoped you proved or showed over this week?
TR: Coming in here, I'm really not trying to prove nothing. I'm just trying to play my game and I believe that's going to get me on the team and that's going to get me minutes. Really just trying to continue to do what I do, for sure.
PI: Who have you most enjoyed playing with or against, in particular?
PI: You're committed to Illinois next year. Outside of being able to play close to home, was there anything else that drew you to the program?
TR: Man, really just the developmental plan they have and the other guys like Ayo (Dosunmu), how he developed through, I think it was three years. Really, they just had a different development plan compared to all the other schools and I felt like it fit me best.
PI: How much of a factor was the location?
TR: It was a pretty big factor. I didn't want to be too close to home but I also didn't want to be too far. It was perfect, being a couple of hours driving so my parents can come out and see me.
PI: What are your biggest goals over the next year both personally and with Illinois?
TR: Personally, continue to develop my game. See how the year goes but really, just win and making an impact as a freshman.
PI: For those who don’t already know, can you share a bit about your family, your background, where you’re from, and what led to this point?
TR: I'm from Saginaw, Michigan. My uncle, Jason Richardson, he played in the NBA for about 10 years. Brian Bowen is my older cousin and he currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves G-League team. But like I said, I'm from Saginaw, Michigan, born and raised there. Went to my first three years of high school there at Grand Blanc and then I transferred to Thornton in Chicago my senior year. And now I'm here.
PI: What led to that decision to transfer to Thornton?
TR: My family moved out there, and I played AAU with Meanstreets for Tai Streets. And he was the coach at Thornton, so it was a perfect decision and perfect fit.
PI: What made you start playing basketball?
TR: I was just always around it. I started when I was younger, and as I kept being around it longer I started playing. I was picking up balls and stuff. From there, I'd say about five years old, I've just been playing ever since. Since I was seven years old, I knew I was pretty good, so it's been serious since then.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
TR: I played almost every sport. I played baseball, football — I was on the swim team until 8th grade. I played lacrosse, pretty much everything.
PI: Who have been your biggest influences/role models?
TR: LeBron James. Just the stuff he does off the court. His on-the-court presence is always going to be there, but the things he does off the court, I feel like they go unnoticed sometimes. The stuff he does in the community is crazy and I hope to do that someday.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or a saying that you've followed throughout your life?
TR: "It's going to rain sometimes, but the sun is always going to come back out." You're gonna have bad days, you know, everyday’s not going to be good; you're not always going to make shots, but it's gonna come back around.
PI: If basketball wasn’t an option, what’s a career that you think you’d pursue?
TR: Broadcasting. I think I have a good voice and I know I speak well.
PI: What’s something most people have no idea about you?
TR: I love to fish. I'm a big country guy, I love the outdoors.
PI: Who are your top-five all-time music artists?
TR: Ooh, that's tough. Gotta go Lil Baby. Nah, Lil Durk, Lil Baby, NBA Youngboy, you probably not going to like me for that one, Moneybagg Yo, and I'm tripping, G Herbo. (This answer was interrupted by GG Jackson yelling YB into the microphone)
PI: Why do all the kids like Youngboy? Cause I don't get it, I'm still pretty young but I don't get Youngboy.
TR: I like Youngboy cause he's versatile. He can go from singing to love songs and then he can do drill music. So that's why I like him, cause he’s versatile.
PI: Why not any of the Michigan rappers, no Sada Baby, Babyface Ray?
TR: I like them, for sure. They probably after that, Babyface Ray, Peezy, Rio. They my guys, they're in my backyard. I mess with them a lot, though.
PI: What's your favorite shoe to hoop in and then shoe to wear off the court?
TR: My favorite shoe to hoop in are the Paul Georges. Real comfortable, something I can move side-to-side real well. Off the court, I'd probably say Jordan 11's.
PI: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
TR: I see myself killing in the NBA, an All-Star by then, and making an impact in my community.