It’s been a long time since the Fontainebleau High boys basketball team has played in the state playoffs.
A very long time.
If the Bulldogs are to return to the postseason for the first time since the 2001-2002 season, a big reason is going to be the play of senior guard Ethan Rodgers.
The 5-9 Rodgers had the Bulldogs off to a respectable 7-5 start this season prior to a trip to the Chalmette tournament last weekend. The leading scorer thus far for coach Michael Gowland’s squad, Rodgers is averaging 12.3 points per contest while dishing out 2.8 assists and collecting 3.4 rebounds a game.
“It’s amazing how quick time has passed,” Rodgers said. “I catch myself sometimes thinking about my career, and it seems like it was just yesterday that I was a freshman walking onto the Fontainebleau High campus just trying to fit in.
"Now, I’m one of the guys that the younger kids look to for leadership and to guide them. It has truly been an amazing journey. A quick but amazing journey.”
As his time at Fontainebleau has passed, Rodgers said he has noticed changes off the court, but an improved skill set on the court as well.
“I have a lot more maturity in my game in terms of my confidence,” he said. “I think that starts on the defensive side of the ball. I’m nowhere near the kind of defensive player I was when I walked on campus as a freshman. That has allowed me to become so much more comfortable on the court.”
Rodgers said he embraces his role as one of the more talented players on the team and the leadership responsibilities that come with that.
“My goal is quite simple,” he said. “I want to lead my team to as many victories as I possibly can. That is all I’m trying to do. I just want to win basketball games. If it takes me scoring 34 points to win or 4 points and playing defense and being the facilitator — if we win, that is all I care about.
“This is my last year playing basketball at Fontainebleau High and one of, it not the biggest, goals I have set forth for myself is to help this team and this program return to the state playoffs.”
Making the postseason for the first time in over a decade is a legacy Rodgers said he and the rest of the Fontainebleau seniors want to leave on the Mandeville-area campus.
“As you go through your four years of high school, you grow up as a person and mature,” he said. “I didn’t think about legacies when I started here, but now that I’m a senior, you really starting thinking about how you want people to remember you.
"I want to be remembered as one of the seniors who helped put Fontainebleau High boys basketball back on the map, and I am going to do everything I possibly can to try and make that happen."
That includes putting in a lot of effort.
“I can tell you this: It's not going to be because we aren’t working hard enough. If we can play really good defense and cut down on the turnovers, then I truly believe we will have a very good chance of winning basketball games in bunches this season.”