Northampton Press

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Press photo by Linda RothrockDonte Rodriguez has been asked to do a lot for the Kids basketball team this season. Press photo by Linda RothrockDonte Rodriguez has been asked to do a lot for the Kids basketball team this season.
Rodriguez doing a lot for the Konkrete Kids Rodriguez doing a lot for the Konkrete Kids

Rodriguez doing a lot for the Konkrete Kids

Thursday, January 24, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

In fifth grade, Donte Rodriguez decided to go out for the basketball team. The hunch eventually blossomed into a start reality.

Overall, it has been about reaching his potential.

“I figured I would give it a try,” said Rodriguez, a junior. “At that age, I was looking for help to keep it going. I had some pretty good kids playing around me.

“One of the coaches told me to use my left hand. That was a big help.”

Two years later, Rodriguez knew basketball was going to be a constant.

“In seventh grade, I was 6-foot-1,” he said. “I always was one of the taller kids on the team and here I was the tallest.

“Coach (Coy) Stampone told me that he liked my height and I was going to be special and to keep working hard.”

Rodriguez heeded the advice and hasn’t looked back.

He has been one of the Konkrete Kids’ leading scorer throughout the season and is one of the main reasons the team is looking to make another run in the upcoming playoffs.

Stampone certainly has been thankful for his tri-captain’s versatility.

“We ask Donte to do a lot for us,” said Stampone. “We have asked him to be the point guard and to post up inside. He has played four of five spots on our match zone defense.

“He needs to be a consistent scorer for us and also be out assist leader. My goal is to see a player like him reach his potential. He has another gear.”

After a record-setting season last year that saw the Kids reach a district final for the first time in 45 years, Rodriguez knows he and his teammates need to keep the torch burning.

Since they won the Salisbury tournament again for the third consecutive year, the Kids had won three of their last five games raising their overall record to 8-5 before their game with Easton Tuesday night.

“We realized what happened last year and we are all looking for our roles,” said Rodriguez. “We feel like we know where we should be.

“We won the Salisbury tournament again, and we can go on a run from here.”