Jeron Rogers’ goal of leading his North Farmington team to the Class A semifinals is close at hand
Farmington Hills – When Jeron Rogers returned to North Farmington from Bush High School in Texas during his junior year, he came back to the Raiders with a goal in mind for him and his teammates.
And that was to help lead his team to the Breslin Center.
After Monday’s regional semifinal victory Rogers and North Farmington are just a couple of steps away from making that happen.
Rogers, a 6-7 forward who signed with Cleveland State, said that from the beginning of the season, advancing to the Class A semifinals at Michigan State has been the goal for the Raiders.
“We’re all just excited,” he said. “We’re all really humble, from the beginning of the season, we just wanted to raise a banners from districts, regionals and we really just want to go to the Breslin. That’s what our main goal was from the beginning, so I feel like we’re on the right track right now.”
Last season the Raiders finished 13-7 and fell in the district final to eventual Class A finalist Bloomfield Hills.
North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian said that before Rogers returned last year his team was playing well. But what Rogers brought to the Raiders was a true leader.
“I thought our chemistry was good, but Buddha just brings a low-key, happy go lucky, laid-back mentality to our program,” he said. “The way he can get everyone to follow that lead and that mentality where he never gets nervous or caught up in the moment. Last year we looked for a leader when he left and when he came back, he stepped in and became the leader. We had some leaders on the team but he’s the defined leader that everyone gets along with and respected.”
North Farmington is hoping to take that next step to the Breslin Center. In addition to his physical presence, Rogers adds an air of confidence and poise. There isn’t that tenseness when it comes to the magnitude of the game, because of his presence.
Negoshian said that one of the key things Rogers brings is his laid-back approach, never getting too caught up in the hype, which is important to have in a leader.
“I think the biggest thing he does for our group is his mindset and approach to the game,” he said. “How loose he is and he doesn’t get caught up in the atmosphere, it’s just another game. For your leader to be like that is unbelievable.”
Next up for North Farmington (20-3) is U-D Jesuit (20-3) and its star point guard Cassius Winston on Wednesday at Southfield high school at 7 p.m.
Through three postseason games, North Farmington has breezed through the competition, winning its games by an average of 19 points. The Raiders defeated Birmingham Brother Rice by 15 points in the district final and Oak Park by 21 in the regional semifinal.
This is the moment Rogers has been waiting for throughout his high school career and now that the Raiders will play for a regional title, they’re still looking for more.
“If you’re a high school basketball player and you like the game and you like the sport, then you want to excel to the next spot and that’s the championship,” he said. “That’s all I’ve been missing, I’ve been on varsity all four years and we always come up short during districts or the first round of regionals, so to go over that bump is really what made me excited when we won.”
Against U-D Rogers will have a tall order on his hands as he will be likely matched against U-D’s 6-9 sophomores Eke Ikechukwu and Greg Eboigboden.
Should the Raiders defeat U-D they’ll be back in practice looking to take the final step (next Tuesday’s quarterfinals) on their way to the Breslin.
“I’m going to be happy that day,” he said. “But the next day in practice, I’ll be ready for the quarterfinals and states.”
While the ultimate goal is to make it to the Breslin Center for North Farmington, Negoshian said that what makes Rogers so special is his ability to keep the game in perspective.
“I think it’s any kid’s goal to get to the Breslin,” Negoshian said. “As a senior, I think they realize that this is their last chance to get there and play with their buddies and everyone has that mindset. He’s done a great job of keeping them grounded and knowing that we want to take it one day at a time and that we want to live see another day. One day at a time, one game at a time, we want to be in the gym with each other one more day. Every kid has the big picture in mind, but for him to have the little picture in mind says a lot about him.”