Terry Rozier, the 24-year-old point guard out of Youngstown, Ohio, has become a key player for the Boston Celtics. Drafted by Boston with the 16th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Rozier was not an instant impact type player for the Celtics. He has continued to improve each season and has worked his way to become a major part of the Celtics organization. But how did he get to where he is now? Here’s a look at the life and evolution of Terry Rozier.
The Evolution of Terry Rozier
The Early Years
Terry Rozier did not have the easiest life growing up. Two months after his birth, Terry’s father was sent to jail for 8 years. Soon after his release, he was resentenced to 13 years in prison after being charged with kidnapping, robbery, and manslaughter. Due to threats made by Rozier’s father, his mother Gina Rozier gave up custody of Terry to his grandmother, Amanda Tucker, when he was only 6 years old.
Rozier hated his grandmother and hated living with her. He refused to unpack his bags because he wanted to go home. Now in Shaker Heights, Ohio, his grandmother raised him as her own child. Rozier would act out, and repeatedly tell her how much he hated her. All Terry wanted was to return home to Youngstown.
At the age of 10, Terry returned home to Youngstown for Thanksgiving. During his visit home, someone had told his mother that someone was going to shoot up their house and throw Molotov cocktails through the windows. After a phone call home, grandmother Amanda took Terry his siblings into the back of the house. Thankfully, the threat was a bluff. Terry finally told his grandmother that he loved her.
Rozier started playing basketball as a way to relieve stress. In his senior year, he averaged 25.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.7 steals, leading the team to a 21–3 record and taking them to the regional semifinal in 2012 for the first time since 2002. He was an All-Lake Erie League player for three years and was rated 74th overall in the 2012 ESPNU Top 100 players. This made colleges interested. Among those, and his first choice – Louisville. Unfortunately, Rozier’s grades were not great, so he was forced to do a year of prep school at Hargrave Military Academy.
Hargrave Military Academy was a wake-up call for Rozier. It was a culture shock, and Rozier had to prove to himself and everyone else how badly he wanted to get to the next level. Waking up every morning at 6 A.M., Terry had a lot of time to work on academics and improve his game. Rozier averaged 29.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in his one season at Hargrave, and is most remembered for a game where he scored 68 points in a double overtime win. He was now ready to attend Louisville.
Rozier chose to wear the number 0 at Louisville, to represent a fresh start. After his time at Hargrave, he started working towards building up his body. He started attending Crossfit classes and started breaking numerous records. Other Crossfit members and trainers starting pushing for Rozier to become a professional Crossfit competitor. In an interview about his body changes, Rozier stated, “I liked it, I was seeing progress from my body. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t wait for that feeling to go away. But once it went away, I kept doing it. I stopped being sore and you could see the results. People were saying you look bigger and you just love to hear that, I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym.”
Rozier became a standout player for Louisville. He declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season, where he averaged 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was ready for the next level – the NBA.
The Boston Celtics
Rozier was drafted at 16 by the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, who were in the middle of a rebuild, had Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, and a few others. The talent was just not there to be a contending team, by Rozier was surrounded by other guards, which limited his playing time. In his rookie year, Rozier played in 39 games, playing an average of 8 minutes. He only averaged 2 points, an assist, and a rebound per game.
Year 2 comes along soon enough, and after a lot of hard work, Rozier had improved once again. In his second year in the league, he played 74 games, with 17 minutes per game. He bumped his stats up to 6 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. This was Isaiah Thomas’ breakout year, so most touches were not designed for Rozier.
Year 3 was truly the year of Terry Rozier. Isaiah Thomas was traded for Kyrie Irving (amongst other players and picks), so things did not look great for Rozier at the beginning of the season. After countless injuries, including the injury of Irving, Rozier became the new starting point guard. He acquired the name ‘Scary Terry’ and became somewhat of an icon for NBA fans. Playing an average of 26 minutes in 80 games, he averaged 11 points, a steal, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds. He became an essential piece of the Celtics roster. Without Kyrie, it was Rozier’s job to carry the Celtics through the playoffs. He did just that, bringing Boston to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were unfortunately defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rozier’s future is completely unpredictable. Since the pool of point guards on the Celtics roster is loaded with himself, Kyrie Irving, and Marcus Smart, minutes will be hard to come by. On at least half of the teams in the NBA, Rozier would be a starter. He is going into his contract year this season, meaning his contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics trade him for a player with a longer contract, or re-sign the valuable Terry Rozier. As most players do on their contract year, look for Rozier to have another break out year. This man is the definition of perseverance and will knock down walls to get to what he wants.
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