East Tennessee State’s basketball program announced Wednesday that Jeromy Rodriguez, one of the top rebounders in the country, is giving up his final year of eligibility to turn professional.
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 11.2 points and 10.9 rebounds while being named to the All-Southern Conference team. He missed the team’s final game, a loss to Green Bay in the CIT, reportedly because of a concussion suffered in the SoCon tourney.
“I had a great experience here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Rodriguez said. “This decision was extremely tough for me, but this is what I have in my heart. I had the same feeling when I wanted to come here, which is why I came to ETSU and have cherished my time in Johnson City. Turning pro is the best thing for me right now.”
Rodriguez, who sat out last year after undergoing shoulder surgery, is scheduled to graduate in May. He played one season for ETSU.
It’s a blow to the Bucs, who were expecting to have their entire nucleus returning to make a run at the SoCon tourney.
“This is a bittersweet day for everyone involved in our program,” ETSU coach Steve Forbes said. “Our staff loves Jeromy. He loves his teammates and his teammates love him. Jeromy has represented our program in an exemplary manner both on and off the court.
“He is ready to begin his professional career and we fully support his decision. At the end of the day, we all want what is best for Jeromy and his family. I will now assist him in the process of finding the right agent to help him begin his professional career.”
Rodriguez had 15 double-doubles and set a single-season school record with 113 offensive rebounds. He was eighth in the country in total rebounding.
“We began the discussion of Jeromy turning professional a couple of weeks ago when I was away in Iowa,” Forbes said. “We agreed to talk face-to-face when I returned to campus. I got back to Johnson City a week ago and we had several discussions about his future. After our meeting late yesterday afternoon, we came to the consensus that Jeromy would forgo his last year of eligibility to pursue a professional career playing the game he loves.”