Special to CollegeInsider.com
by Ray Floriani
The New Year brings us renewed hope and an opportunity to start fresh. Keep those resolutions going (not gone before March Madness). While the New Year gives us a form of rebirth, this time of year still has some of us in a sad, reflective state. Just a week ago we lost a good and dear friend in George Rodecker.
“Roadie” as he was well known was a fixture on the college basketball scene for better than two decades. The NBA draft was his specialty. In the Nineties he published a four page report ranking draft prospects by position. The review was comprehensive and extremely well written. George had a passion, though, for the college game. Among the publications and sites he wrote for were Basketball Times, Eastern Basketball, CBSsports.com, hoopville.com, collregechalktalk.com and of course, collegeinsider.com.
George was one of the earliest writers on the site. More than writing, he was a representative reaching out to those he encountered at games and media days. A cordial greeting and a CI business card. More important than that small piece of cardboard was the impression George left on those he greeted and met in the name of College Insider. George’s contributions to CI were immeasurable and extremely popular-game stories, conference previews, book reviews, features and his ever informative and entertaining column. Who can forget the heat he took from the commonwealth for ranking the beloved Kentucky Wildcats too low for their liking? George wasn’t upset, he turned it all into a satirical reply. Classic George.
About fifteen years or so back yours truly was looking to branch out a bit on the writing circuit. George reached out to CI publisher Joe Dwyer. The rest, as they say, is history.
Road trips with George were memorable bordering on legendary. In January of 2000 he figured a schedule allowing us to cover four games in a day. Weather and roads cooperated. We wound up covering Boston College at St. John’s at noon, Miami-Rutgers at 2:30, St. Francis (PA)-FDU at 5:00 and West Virginia-Seton Hall at 7:30. A few things beside the seemingly endless stops to Starbucks stand out. George and then FDU coach Tom Green getting into a good conversation that would ultimately see him return to the Rothman Center on several occasions. Gale Catlett in the twilight of his West Virginia coaching days, down 30 and burning every time out the last few minutes to the boos of those in Continental Airlines Arena. Classic memories.
In his later years George became immersed in the women’s game. He loved the below the rim style and attention to fundamentals and teamwork, such a big part of the women’s game. He soon became selected a voting member on several national panels for women’s basketball.
Rest assured the women’s game as well as the men’s lost a good friend. As did we who worked with or just casually knew him. A great family man and quietly religious, George had a full life that extended beyond the 94’ by 40’ realm.
Yes, George is missed by us all. The great times and memories associated with him bring us pleasant thoughts and somewhat ease the pain of our loss.