Rosario digs doing dirty work for Noll
Updated: March 28, 2011 9:38AM
There's virtually no chance Jose Rosario's job would make anyone jealous.
After all, there's really nothing exciting about the job description for Bishop Noll's 6-foot-3 power forward.
Play good defense. Rebound at both ends of the floor. Dive on the floor for loose balls. Take charges. Make steals. Set good screens.
"It's not necessarily fun, but somebody has to do it," said Rosario, a junior team captain.
"It's a matter of how much you want it. Are you going to play good defense, rebound, take charges and not take plays off?
"If someone scores on me, I take it personally. I take it personally that they're trying to make me look bad - let alone our team."
Rosario has the desire and heart to do the job. He does the work a lot of players don't have the discipline or intensity to do.
Every team needs a player like Rosario.
Unselfish. Aggressive. Determined. Tough.
"Not everyone on the team can fill up the stat sheet - and that's what a lot of fans look at - but it's a necessity to have a guy, or multiple guys, who can do the dirty work," Rosario said. "If that's what my job is, that's fine with me, as long as we win."
Aside from his coaches and teammates, his ever-supportive mother, Maria, and some intelligent fans, it's a sure bet most people don't have an appreciation for what Rosario does.
Rosario understands how important doing the dirty work will be when No. 2 Noll (26-0) meets No. 4 Park Tudor (25-2) for the Class 2A state title at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday (approximately 11:30 a.m.).
"Jose definitely does a lot of the things that usually don't get recognized," Noll coach Drew Trost said. "He plays good defense, rebounds for us, sets screens and dives on the floor for loose balls - all the intangibles that if we don't have, we don't win."
Rosario was doing the dirty work in last week's Class 2A Huntington North Semistate victory over Tipton.
Trailing by a point with Tipton trying to stall, Rosario came up with a key steal and coast-to-coast layup, giving his team the lead for good.
In the final 30 seconds, he rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Adonis Filer and scored, giving Noll a three-point lead.
"It was pretty neat to see a guy who's worked so hard all year make the two biggest plays of the season for us," Trost said. "Tipton was stalling, so the steal and basket he made was just a huge momentum swing for us."
The way Rosario sees it, everything a player does makes the difference between winning and losing.
"Every single play in the game mattered," he said. "Our whole team, every single guy, has the desire to win. We're always going to go out and try to do everything we can to win. We leave it all out on the floor."
Since making the varsity as a freshman, Rosario has improved dramatically.
By his own admission, he had no left hand back then. He joked he could have cut off his left hand and it wouldn't have mattered, because he never used it.
A lot of practice, though, has made Rosario dangerous inside with both hands.
"He's really developed a super left- and right-hand hook shot, and he can really score over big guys in the post with it," Trost said. "He's really a good shooter - shooting well over 50 percent from the floor. I think he would be a featured post player on many teams around here, but that's just not his role right now."
Where Rosario has made the biggest strides is with his footwork.
"He did a lot of (MMA) training over the summer, and I think it made a big difference in his foot speed," Trost said. "He's always been a good post defender - that just goes along with being a tough kid - but he's very much into the training. You could see a marked difference in his foot speed. He can get out and guard some guards now, too. Being an under-sized post, that's really important."
Rosario said the MMA training he receives at Miguel Torres Martial Arts Academy in Hammond has paid big dividends.
"They have a whole different attitude about working hard," he said. "You leave it all on the mat and all in the cage. It's the mental toughness they instill in you - much more than the physical - that's been most instrumental to my game."
Rosario is an excellent student (3.7 GPA) earning honor roll recognition in honors classes.
"He's a phenomenal student, a really smart kid," said Trost, who taught Rosario in Honors Algebra I and Honors Pre-Calculus.
"The passing rate for all freshmen in Algebra I in the state of Indiana is 62 percent," Trost said. "Jose got a perfect score."
That's remarkable, yet not surprising, especially when you consider Rosario gives the phrase "doing the dirty work" a whole new meaning.