David Roddy came into this world meaning business.
Darcy Roddy has five boys and learned that she could see glimpses of who they would be as soon as they were born.
This one had a look of determination.
“This child came out the way he’s going to be,” Darcy said. “Literally, his infant picture at the hospital — he has the same serious expression that he has today. Sparkly eyes and a serious expression, Day 1 of life.”
Fans of the No. 22 Colorado State men’s basketball team know well the scowl of Roddy, the 6-foot-6 junior forward.
He wears that serious, deadly expression on the court as one of the top players in the Mountain West.
Once a game ends, the spark in the eyes shines as Roddy shows off his personality as one of the faces of the Rams’ resurgent program.
An arm around a young fan for a picture. Leaping for a high-five with a kid as he heads to the locker room. Talking to boosters courtside long after the final whistle.
He works a room, making everyone feel like they’re part of Roddy’s most important conversation of the day.
“He’s got that personality like the pied piper,” CSU coach Niko Medved said. “When you meet him, he has that ability to make you feel like you’ve known him forever. He’s just such a warm, engaging person and so willing to give his time to anybody.”
Roddy is a true unicorn on the court, one of the most unique players in college basketball and one of the best. The Rams host UNLV at 7 p.m. Friday, and Roddy is averaging 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game as a top contender for Mountain West Player of the Year.
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There’s so much more to the young man than the standard TV snippet reminding viewers he was an elite quarterback in high school.
Did you know Roddy played saxophone for several years as part of a school band class requirement? “It was actually really fun, I miss doing it sometimes,” Roddy said.
Did you know his teammates enjoy his cooking? Especially popular are his brown sugar and cinnamon pancakes. “Those things are fire,” said CSU guard Isaiah Stevens, who has been roommates with Roddy since they came to CSU three years ago.
He’s organized and clean at home and a naturally curious person.
“Just being around him, you learn a lot. Roddy always has a random fact of the day for everybody,” Stevens said with a laugh. “You can be out there pouring a cup of water and he’ll come out and spit a fact and you’re like, ‘Oh, dang, OK, I didn’t know that was a thing.’ It could be about anything.”
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With Roddy, what you see is what you get. He genuinely enjoys his interactions with fans or answering questions about himself on his radio show. Likewise, the angered, intense expression on the court is who he is while competing.
The youngest of five brothers (the oldest is six years older), he grew up trying to earn his spot.
“It is definitely a perfect recipe for building a competitor. I used to go to the rec center with my brother, and he was 6 years older, so he was always embarrassed by his little brother on the side,” said Roddy, a human development and family studies major at CSU. “It just brought out more motivation and more competitiveness to get better to prove to him that I’m deserving to be on the same court as him.”
The brotherhood bond between the group gets strong every year, with nonstop needling and smack-talk. But while the teasing is unyielding, so is the undying support.
The family has long held the unofficial rule that there’s no talking after games or tournaments when they lose. It’s no time to break things down. That’s the time to stew in anger and motivation.
Brad Barber, who began coaching Roddy in fifth grade and worked with him on both AAU teams and his high school team, said Roddy was a “child prodigy.” His mom had to carry a birth certificate to tournaments to prove to complainers that this big, skilled kid was the age he said he was.
The intensity has been there from the beginning, and Roddy always knew he would get to this point.
“When he was very, very young he was already quite serious about this stuff. His little mind was always thinking about sports,” Darcy said. “He never contemplated that it wouldn’t happen.”
Roddy, as young as first grade, would draw up football plays on a white board and go over them with his dad (who was also his coach) and dad would make sure to run them in practice the next day. Roddy taught himself a Euro step move to use in a basketball tournament in fourth grade.
“He’s always been a sponge,” Barber said. “He buys in. I think that’s what makes him a tremendous leader. He understands the part of being a leader and you’re now in a platform where on the stage he’s on, you have to give some of yourself for others.”
Roddy, who was also a high school discus and shot put star, once stunned a teacher when he was praised for a class project and exclaimed, “That’s how you go DI (Division I)!” to the class. David, his brother Joshua and his teacher were likely the only ones in the third-grade class who even knew what that phrase meant.
But that was the mindset, with a focus and work ethic to match.
Now he’s arguably the most famous college athlete in Colorado, and he’s thriving in the role.
“Now that he’s right where he wants to be, it just looks like he’s meant to be there,” Medved said.
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