BALTIMORE — When the University of Maryland-Baltimore County men's basketball team is on the court Darnell Rogers is tough to miss.
Not because he is the tallest Retriever.
Because he is the smallest one.
Your eye is immediately drawn to UMBC's No. 2. At 5-foot-2 he is the shortest player in all of Division I college basketball. The senior guard is averaging just under ten points per game.
"I feel like I’m a basketball player first. I don’t feel like my height plays a part in what I can do on the court," he said. "I feel like I can do everything."
The son of Baltimore’s own Shawnta Rogers, Darnell grew up in Baltimore before moving to France while his dad played professional basketball in Europe. Darnell bounced around a few programs back in the United States before landing back at home at UMBC for the 2019-20 season.
"I’ve never doubted myself," he said. "I’ve seen what I was able to do on the court and I just stuck with that, really."
"He’s never let his size become a negative for him. It’s always been a positive," said UMBC Head Coach Ryan Odom. "That’s what I love most. He’s got no fear."
Darnell hears his fair share of trash talk from the opposition. He dishes it out with the best of them, too. And the comebacks are rather played.
"They’ll just be like, ‘Oh you little. You small'," he said.
Rogers leads his Retrievers into a huge pair of games on Thursday and Friday against Vermont. Both teams are tied atop the America East Conference Standings with 9-3 records.
"Definitely ready to get two dubs Thursday and Friday," said Rogers.
"We are right where we want to be heading down the stretch," added Odom.
They control their own destiny as well. The America East has cut short the regular season, so these two games are it. With one win against Vermont, UMBC will clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.