Fort Wayne Mad Ant Sadiel Rojas has been putting forth a gritty effort all season long. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard treats every play as an opportunity to do something positive for his team.
The 2011 NAIA Player of the Year was a 4th round selection in the 2011 NBA D-League Draft by the Maine Red Claws. He was then traded to the Mad Ants. Last year, the guard's rookie season was cut short due to a back injury. But this year, Rojas has returned healthy, and is determined to elevate his play.
The 23-year-old is a spark plug off-the-bench who prides his game on rebounding and creating second chance opportunities. Among shooting guards, Rojas has the 2nd best offensive rebound percentage (10.06%) in the NBADL.
The Oklahoma Wesleyan product is a speedster who runs the floor well and is dangerous in transition. He makes athletic moves to the basket, and utilizes a strong vertical jump to play above the rim when necessary. Rojas works hard off-the-ball to get open looks in the paint and easy buckets.
When he isn't crashing the boards, he can be found spotting up on the perimeter. This season, the guard is shooting 36 percent from behind the arc and 55 percent from the floor. Given the multiple ways that Rojas puts points on the board, it's impressive how efficient of a scorer he is.
Rojas is currently 1st in true shooting percentage (60%) and 3rd in effective field goal percentage (58%) among shooting guards in the D-League.
In 22.2 minutes per game, Rojas has averaged 9.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals thus far in the still young NBADL campaign.
On the defensive end of the floor, Rojas often gets the difficult assignments. He plays shutdown defense and uses his speed and athleticism to his advantage. What's more, he often torments guards on the perimeter and scraps for rebounds against bigger and stronger opponents in the paint.
His total rebound percentage (11.84%) is 3rd best among all shooting guards.
Earlier this month, Rojas' defensive abilities were also on display, as he blocked a shot late in the fourth quarter during a contest against Springfield. That same effort was subsequently recognized, as evidenced in its selection as a top play in the D-League for that given week.
There's a lot of intelligence behind the game and mentality that Rojas is honing in on. NBA teams draft scorers straight from college, and then look to the NBADL to fill specific roles and needs. Focusing on defense, rebounds, and transition play could help Rojas stand out against other shooting guards in the D-League.