Strake guard's future bright despite two surgeries

Strake guard's future bright despite two surgeries

Rogers' future stays brightTwo surgeries don't hold back star point guard

Strake Jesuit’s Steven Rogers, right, dives for the ball in his team’s victory over Madison on Saturday. Rogers has recovered from two knee surgeries to start at guard for the state’s top team.
Strake Jesuit’s Steven Rogers, right, dives for the ball in his team’s victory over Madison on Saturday. Rogers has recovered from two knee surgeries to start at guard for the state’s top team.Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle

Things used to come easy to Steven Rogers.

Gifted with speed, quickness and good basketball skills, the Strake Jesuit point guard made difficult tasks look simple on the hardwood when he was an underclassman. In his freshman and sophomore years, it was clear he had a bright future.

“Back then, it was basketball, basketball, basketball,” Rogers said. “I wasn’t that worried about my grades. I figured I’d go to a big college, play a few years and then go to the NBA.”

That Rogers existed two years and two surgeries ago. Today, the senior point guard is a walking picture of perseverance after returning from those injuries and one of the biggest reasons that Strake Jesuit (34-0), the No. 1 Class 5A team in the state, is undefeated.

A dream torn away

The nature of basketball and the constant stress it requires players to put on their knees make torn anterior cruciate ligaments not completely uncommon. In Rogers’ case, he tore it twice.

Rogers first tore his left ACL in the spring of 2007, shortly after his sophomore season. At the time, he figured to be one of the top point guards in the Class of 2009 before the injury brought his career to a screeching halt.

In January 2008, he was cleared to play. Weeks before he was set to return to the court, he re-injured the knee while working out and again required surgery.

A player who at one point received interest from a laundry list of colleges — including Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor — began to worry about his long-term future. As Rogers continued to rehab, he began to change his outlook.

“When the ACL injury happened, a lot of those schools went away and the ones that were left were in a wait-and-see mode,” said Martin Rogers, Steven’s father.

Third time’s the charm

Steven Rogers finally returned to the court in October. He was ready to re-enter Strake’s starting lineup in time for their season opener on Nov. 18, an 82-52 win over Cypress Springs. They haven’t lost since and carry that undefeated mark into their Region III-5A quarterfinal battle with Alief Taylor on Saturday at Spring Branch ISD’s Coleman Coliseum.

“We wouldn’t be here without him,” Strake Jesuit coach Wayne Jones said. “He’s a huge piece of what we do.”

Instead of being the lightning quick guard the Crusaders once knew, Rogers has become the floor leader and glue to a team that has its eyes on a trip to the state tournament. His numbers aren’t gaudy (7.4 points per game, 2.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 39.7 percent 3-point accuracy), but his presence has been invaluable.

Rogers still will get his chance to play Division I college ball, signing with Rice, and his perseverance is seen by all those around him.

“It takes incredible mental fortitude,” said Dr. Bruce Moseley, who performed both surgeries. “It’s depressing for an athletic person to have one ACL injury and come back. To do it twice is remarkable.”

sam.khan@chron.com