Stark Contrast as East Coast Meets Front Range

Photo: Freshman point guards Elijah Blake and Elvin Rodriguez will take the floor this fall for the Pioneers

When Rodney Billups took the reins of the Denver Pioneers, he vowed to play fast. Under his system, point guards ‘stir the drink’ and make things happen. So, his first two signings show his desire to build from the outside in with the addition of two versatile ball-handling point guards.

We wrote about local prep player, 6’2″ point guard Elijah Blake. Unfortunately, shortly after signing with Denver, he damaged his ACL, missed his senior season at Rangeview High School in Aurora and has been in rehab mode getting ready for the start of school this fall at DU. From all accounts, he is a lead-by-example guy and an exceptional student off the court and smooth, accomplished, and determined on the court. He can handle the ball, pass and shoot – just like his new coach and former Pioneer star, Rodney Billups.

We also told you about 6’2″ point guard Elvin Rodriguez from New York who brings 6’0″ to the court with two inches of added confidence. Simply stated, a vocal extrovert. He has the skills to play the 1 or 2 and can score the ball.

It may take some getting used for laid back Rocky Mountain fans to fully appreciate his outgoing persona but he will add a dash of swagger that is needed for DU basketball. He has a personality the size of his native Bronx and a chip on his shoulder the size of Manhattan. He is ‘underappreciated’ (his own label) – but his reputation is growing and he has the potential to be a prime driver in transforming DU basketball – starting this fall. He is brash and spring-loaded. Not short on talent, humor, personality or confidence – he talks basketball, shows his skills, and discusses head coach Rodney Billups in the video below. His skill might match Rodney Billups but his personality is much more flamboyant than Billups or his new freshman running mate Elijah Blake.

He comes to DU this fall.

The contrast will be on full display starting this fall.

Now that Billups has settled the guard position, size is next on their shopping list According to Verbal Commits, the Pioneers have offers out to five forwards and a center for the 2018 season when they have to replace Christian Mackey and Daniel Amigo who are both headed into their final season at DU.

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