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Hard work means senior drops 3s, putts with ease

Rose knows hoops, golf

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Whether it be his textbook jump shot, his aggressive penetration and the beautiful dish to a teammate for an assist, or a perfect drive off the tee of a par 5, it's years of hard work and dedication that have made this Rose so sweet.

"He hasn't missed a practice in the four years I've been working here," said Skyview High School boys basketball coach Dave Blossom of his point guard, Nolan Rose.

"He's in (the gym) shooting on Sunday afternoons. He's the last one to leave after practice -- usually he leaves when the coaches come and turn off the lights. Before and after the season, he'll go to the Tustumena Elementary School gym when that's open. That's what it takes to play basketball. You've got to put in the extra time."

Rose might not call it extra time, but the Skyview senior certainly spends as much time as he can doing the things he loves -- playing basketball and golf.

"Basketball is year-round for me, at least for the last few years, anyway," Rose said during a break from practice last week. "I started playing seriously in eighth grade. I just wanted to get good at it. I started practicing all the time, not just during the season."

The practice has been paying off for Rose this year. Heading into Friday's game against Ninilchik, Rose was averaging 15.5 points per game for the Panthers. He's broken Skyview's season record for assists, piling up 116 dishes, and is shooting a whopping 83 percent from the foul line -- another benchmark for the Panthers program.

Nolan Rose

In sports

Has 116 assists and an 82 percent average from the free-throw line for the Panthers basketball team this year, both school records.

Is quickly approaching another school record in steals, where he already has 49.

Also holds school records in 3-pointers in a game and 3-pointers in a season.

Has a handicap of five in golf.

In the classroom

Carries a 3.1 grade point average.

Rose is approaching another team record with 49 steals this season, and despite being the primary ballhandler for the Panthers, Rose is averaging just 2.8 turnovers per game.

Rose can light it up from the outside -- he averages two 3-pointers per game, holds the team record for 3-pointers in a game and, with 41 3-pointers to his name after Friday's game, set the Skyview season record.

But, he says, he is at his best when he gets the ball to an open teammate under the basket.

"Usually I penetrate and get assists to people. That's my favorite thing to do," Rose said.

"He's a good team leader," Blossom said. "He plays under control all the time. He plays pretty smart, too, and he's not going to get rattled. He makes the good passes we need. He's a key to our offense clicking."

Blossom has had the opportunity to see Rose mature because he coached him at Tustumena Elementary School.

"He was a good shooter then," Blossom said. "He's a good example for other players. If they follow his lead, they'll develop into pretty good basketball players."

Following Rose's example, the Panthers have been working hard this season, and the effort is beginning to translate into wins. Skyview is 8-12 overall, beat an Anchorage school -- West -- for the first time in the program's history and set a single-game scoring record of 81 points in the process.

Rose said that the fourth quarter has been the Panthers' Achilles' heel this season as all but two of their losses were by less than 10 points. But if Skyview can get just a couple more shots to fall down the stretch, they'll be a dangerous team when the Region III/4A tournament kicks off Feb. 15 at Kodiak.

"We were pretty bad last year, and it's frustrating to keep losing," Rose said. "But we have the standpoint that it's better to be competitive.

"This year we have more talent. We get along better and we work better as a team. We have new coaches and whole different system. It took a while to adjust to it, but now that we're starting to do things better, we're starting to win some games."

Rose brings the same work ethic to the links every summer. His handicap is five, though he considers golf a hobby.

"It's only a hobby when you only play three months out of the year in Alaska," Rose said.

Rose has made an impact on the junior golf scene, winning a tournament in Palmer with a 1-under-par 71 last summer and finishing second at the state junior championship, the Junior Masters and -- his favorite -- the Peninsula Amateur, where he competed in the men's championship flight.

Rose's father, Mike, a former Birch Ridge Golf Course pro, introduced Nolan to the sport at a young age. On days when Rose can't make it to the course, he can hit balls from the front yard of the family's Kasilof home.

"With Nolan, the very first swing he took was a good swing," Mike said. "He's a hard worker. He's dedicated to what he does. He tries to do it well, and he puts a lot of time and effort into it. When you play basketball, you have to go and (practice) a lot. He's one of those guys that will do that.

"It's the same thing with golf. He likes to work on his game. It's an unusual quality in some kids these days."

Rose holds his own in the classroom as well. He carries a 3.1 grade point average and said that his favorite classes are history and film as literature.

Rose is planning to attend Lower Columbia Junior College in Longview, Wash., where he will have a chance to play for the Red Devils on both the basketball court and the golf course.

In the meantime, the Panthers are gearing up for their last two regular-season games at home against Homer Friday and at Soldotna Saturday.

"I think we can make it to state, but every other team in our region thinks they can go to state too," Rose said. "We're not one of the favorites, but we've been playing better. We need to win one of our last two region games. The key for us to make it to state is not to play Kodiak in the first round."



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