Proud to say I am a Georgetown Hoya Glory be To God!— Rodney Pryor (@r_d_p11) April 18, 2016
Even after adding Jonathan Mulmore, Georgetown is still searching for new recruits to add to its roster for next season. NCAA rules allow players who have graduated to transfer and receive immediate eligibility at a new school, making graduate transfers an attractive route for veteran players and Division I teams alike.
One such player is Rodney Pryor, a scoring guard from Robert Morris University. Pryor has taken a long, difficult route to get to where he is today, but what matters now is whether he is a potential contributor. Here is a closer look at the veteran swingman.
Weight: 205 lbs
Year: Redshirt senior
School: Robert Morris University
2011-12 (At Kirkwood Community College): 4.14 PPG, 1.64 RPG, 0.27 APG, 43.6% FG%, 25.8% 3FG%
2012-13 (At Cloud County Community College): Sat out due to a broken foot
2013-14 (At Cloud County Community College): Sat out due to a torn ACL
2014-15 (At Robert Morris): 15.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 48.1% FG%, 42.9 3FG%, 75.0 FT%
2015-16 (At Robert Morris): 18.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 43.4% FG%, 29.0 3FG%, 86.0 FT%
As you can probably tell from the information above, Pryor has had quite a few twists and turns in his college career so far. He was a highly regarded high school player at Notre Dame Prep in Illinois, but academic concerns led him to enroll at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. After one fairly nondescript season at Kirkwood, he transferred to Cloud County Community College in Kansas.
In two seasons at Cloud County, he never played in a game. He broke a bone in his foot in the team's first scrimmage in 2012 and tore his ACL in his first practice of 2013. Needless to say, this was a trying time for Pryor, but he recovered well enough to transfer to Robert Morris and finally fulfill his dream of playing Division I basketball.
Pryor had two strong seasons at Robert Morris, earning Second Team All-Northeast Conference in 2014-15 and First Team honors for this past season. He is now seeking a final year of eligibility to play basketball at a higher level.
On the court, Pryor's appeal is simple — this is a player who can put the ball in the basket. He is a confident outside shooter and is willing and able to shoot off the dribble, on the move, and in catch-and-shoot situations. In addition, Pryor, who is left-handed, can use step-back moves and escape dribbles to create his own shots and is able to make difficult shots, often with a hand in his face.
Pryor's three-point percentage dropped from 42.9% to 29.0% between his first and second seasons at Robert Morris, which would normally be a big red flag. However, there are a number of factors that could have played a part in this.
According to CSN Mid-Atlantic, Pryor suffered a midseason concussion that affected his play. In addition, Pryor played a different role in this past season. In his first season, he was part of a three-headed scoring monster alongside Lucky Jones and Marcquise Reed, as each of the three players averaged between 14 and 16 points per game. This season, Jones graduated and Reed transferred to Clemson, leaving Pryor to take on a heavy burden offensively. As a result, he was the focus of opposing defenses' game plans and was often forced to create difficult shots.
The form on Pryor's jump shot is slightly unorthodox, but he has proven that he can make shots in the past. My guess would be that taking on a more complimentary role would allow him to get some easier looks, which could help raise his shooting percentages, but he might never get back to scorching the nets at a 43.0 percent rate from beyond the arc.
As for the rest of his offensive game, Pryor can attack the rim off the dribble, but it is not the focus of his repertoire. He generally prefers to attack the rim immediately after catching a pass on the wing, when the defense is off balance. He can also attack in transition, but he is not the type of player who is going to break down his defender one-on-one in the half-court set and get to the rim. Pryor is a willing passer, but no one would mistake him for a point guard. This guy is a pure scoring wing.
On defense, Pryor would have to adjust to defending bigger and faster players at the Big East level, but it appears that he has the athleticism to be serviceable on that end of the floor. In addition, he has been a fantastic defensive rebounder, grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game this season, which is a strong number for a guard. Pryor is a talented, experienced player who could excel in the right situation.
Recruitment (Update: the below is now largely irrelevant!):
As he searches for a team to join for his final season, Pryor has said that he has been contacted by Florida, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Minnesota, Mississippi, Georgia, and Oregon. He has set up official visits to Florida, Georgetown, and Gonzaga, and his visit to Georgetown is scheduled for next weekend, on April 9.
Evaluating the competition for Pryor's services, it appears that Gonzaga and Florida each already have significant depth in the backcourt. Gonzaga will return freshmen Josh Perkins and Bryan Alberts and sophomore Silas Melson in the backcourt and will add highly-touted Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss and incoming freshman Zach Norvell (both of whom were Georgetown targets during their respective recruitments). Florida returns juniors Kasey Hill and DeVon Walker, sophomore Chris Chiozza, and freshman Brandone Francis and will add Class of 2016 recruit Eric Hester next season.
Georgetown appears to be strongly in the mix in Pryor's recruitment. However, a lot can still change in the coming weeks, and other schools could still get involved. Most importantly, however, college basketball recruiting is almost always unpredictable.
Mulmore's commitment complicates, but does not eliminate, Pryor's potential role at Georgetown. Although the addition of Mulmore should mean that there are fewer minutes available in the backcourt, Mulmore and Pryor are different players who could certainly coexist on the same roster. Mulmore is a rim attacker who should function as more of a lead guard while Pryor provides shooting and scoring ability from a wing position.
Georgetown also has sophomores L.J. Peak and Tre Campbell returning and will add Class of 2016 recruit Jagan Mosely next season. However, particularly after D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's graduation, the Hoyas could still use some more guard depth.
Pryor, who will be 24 years old when next season begins, is extremely experienced, and no one can doubt his desire to play college basketball, as he is entering his sixth year and will be transferring to his fourth different school. With the Hoyas, he could provide some scoring punch and outside shooting, and could settle in as a solid complementary scorer. He would have to adjust to a higher level of competition, but also would not have to carry such a significant offensive burden.
Adding Mulmore might mean that Georgetown could be a slightly less attractive destination for Pryor from a playing time standpoint, but the Hoyas could still be open to adding another guard for next season's roster.
Pryor has played on a higher level than Mulmore or Denzell Hosch, and has proven that he can be an effective player on the Division I level. While he would be facing a difficult transition from the Northeast Conference to the Big East, Pryor's skills as a shot-maker and shooter should transfer effectively, particularly because he would not be facing as much defensive attention.
It is worth noting that Pryor has NCAA tournament experience, as he played two games in the 2015 tournament. He scored 20 points in a First Four win over North Florida before scoring 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting against No. 1 seed Duke in the first round. He also scored 16 points when Robert Morris played against Georgetown in 2014.
Georgetown still has one scholarship open for next season, and this late in the recruiting cycle, Pryor is probably one of only a few potential impact players still available. In my view, if Pryor is interested, Georgetown should bring him in and figure out the minutes distribution later. Opportunities to add experienced, immediately eligible, and proven players to the roster do not come around very often. With Pryor's experience and talent, I believe that he would carve out a significant role and make an impact in his final collegiate season.
Welcome to the Hilltop, Rodney Pryor!
Scholarship Table HERE.