Ryan Rollins enrolled at the University of Toledo as a three-star recruit and the 448th ranked prospect in the class of 2020. After two seasons, Rollins will leave the Rockets as an NBA draft pick.
Despite appearing in just two seasons on the hardwood, the Rockets’ floor general etched his name in the Toledo history books. After winning MAC Freshman of the Year, Rollins stuffed the stat sheet as a sophomore and averaged 18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 46.8% from the field.
The 6-foot-3-inch guard paced the Rockets in scoring and double-doubles, while finishing second in rebounds and assists. With a career-high 35 points in a early season victory over Coastal Carolina, Rollins solidified his stardom. This performance was one of 32 double-digit scoring performances during his second season.
Rollins became just the fourth Rocket to tally 1,000 career points in two seasons and guided Toledo to back-to-back regular season conference titles for the first time since 1980-81. The floor general’s best performance came in the form of a 15-point, 16-rebound, eight-assist outing against Ohio.
With the NBA Draft approaching, Rollins looks to become the first Toledo draft pick since 1998 and just the fourth to be selected in the second round or earlier.
Height: 6 feet, 3.25 inches
Weight: 179 pounds
Wingspan: 6 feet, 9.75 inches
scoring ability, rebounding for a guard
Rollins thrived as the floor general for the Rockets, finding scoring success in multiple facets. He excelled at scoring from the mid-range and through off-ball movement. Rollins showcased his ability to also score off the dribble and in isolation, including through post-ups and stepbacks.
As a crafty ballhandler, Rollins can score off of the pick-and-roll or create high-percentage scoring opportunities for teammates. The ability to knock down pull-up jump shots and get to the rim provides Rollins with a deadly offensive arsenal.
As a guard, Rollins ranked second in rebounding for Toledo, just behind big man JT Shumate. His 5.3 defensive rebounds per game were third in the MAC and first among guards in the conference. Rollins understands where to be on the floor and lets his athleticism and toughness outwork the big men down low.
Areas to Improve:
3-point shooting, defensive effort
Rollins has the ability to score at all three levels, but lacks the consistency from beyond the arc. A career 31.7% 3-point shooter, Rollins doesn’t quite demand the outside defensive respect that could open up other scoring opportunities in his game.
His outside shot isn’t always the same, which he admitted was his biggest flaw. Rollins’ draft year numbers closely resemble those of George Hill, a former mid-major prospect who also shot 31% from deep. In an NBA environment, Hill improved his outside shot, and has knocked down 38% of his 3-point attempts. While it is still a weakness for Rollins, at just 19 years old, he can turn one of his weaknesses into an impactful part of his game.
Eyes popped when I saw these sophomore seasons together.— Nathaniel Miller (@journalistnate) May 4, 2022
George Hill, 6’2”, 180lb, 6’9” wingspan: 18.9 PPG on 52/32/80 on 27.7 usage, 6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Ryan Rollins, 6’4”, 180lb, 6’8” wingspan: 18.9 PPG on 47/31/80 on 28.9 usage, 6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG https://t.co/EDlYsWjqV2
Although Rollins has a reputation to disturb passing lanes and create steals, his defensive effort has brought forth hesitations on film. Rollins leaves something to be desired as a defender as he lacks effort as an on-ball defender.
He often times gambles on takeaway opportunities, which can put his team at a disadvantage on the defensive end. His 1.7 steals per game is an impressive stat until given context.
A silver lining for Rollins is the fact that effort does not equate to ability. Although he’s not an elite athlete, he has the ability to play defense and contribute on both ends of the floor.
With a little more discipline and being inserted into a defensive system, Rollins can hone his defensive abilities. As he understands the lay of the land, Rollins will likely learn when to gamble for steals and how much his defensive play will impact his minutes.
Projected Draft Range: Late-first round to mid-second round
Rollins began the NBA Draft process as a probable second round pick, a project but a potential steal as a 20-year old rookie. Following the NBA Draft Combine, he has shot up draft boards and could hear his name called in the first round. Mock drafts have the playmaking guard going as high as No. 30 to the Nuggets and as low as No. 46 to the Pistons. Rollins will look to carve a role in the rotation as a rookie, bringing an innate scoring ability off the bench.