The second transfer commitment for the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team this off-season, former St. Thomas Aquinas guard Andrew Rohde announced today that he is joining Tony Bennett’s program. A 6’6 talented but lengthy combo guard, Rohde had an impressive freshman season, lighting up the Summit Conference and averaging over 17 points per game to go along with 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.7 steals.
NEWS: St. Thomas (MN) transfer Andrew Rohde has committed to Virginia, he tells @On3sports.— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) April 18, 2023
Averaged 17.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists this season as a freshman.
Story: https://t.co/TTXKSJ9raG pic.twitter.com/t2wbT7sOP5
A first-team all conference selection and the Summit Conference’s freshman of the year, Rohde understandably decided to seek greater opportunity elsewhere after a stellar but unexpected first year playing college basketball. In Virginia, Rohde has found a school with real success developing players of his size and skill-set. Meanwhile, UVA gets a much needed scoring and shooting presence in the backcourt with additional length as well.
Diving into Rohde as a player, what immediately stands out when watching his film this past season is how he was simply a step better than his opponents in conference. His decision-making, shooting ability, size, quickness, ability to exploit angles, and knack for finding the open teammate when the help came made life difficult for his opponents. Quite simply, he’s a heady offensive basketball player who properly utilizes his physical gifts and is suited for exploiting his defender’s errors.
Looking at the numbers, his 33.1% success rate from behind the arc isn’t much to write home about. But, that was on an intense 5.7 three-point attempts per game as Rohde was heavily relied on to take a high volume of difficult shots throughout his freshman season. In fact, many of his made triples came off the dribble. Believe it or not, he took only eight open catch and shoot threes (he was in the 89th percentile of efficiency on those shots per Shot Quality) as a freshman compared to 57 off the dribble (62nd efficiency percentile) and 53 guarded catch and shoot looks (53rd efficiency percentile).
There’s room for Rohde to alter his shooting motion in order for him to get the shot off quicker. But he has the frame and the indicators — he shot 80.7% from the line on nearly four free throws per game, 40.4% on midrange jumpers, and 42.6% from deep in his final 11 games — to be an effective shooter in the Virginia offense.
Beyond his ability as a shooter, what makes Rohde particularly special offensively is what he can do off the dribble. At 6’6, he’s got the height and the length to bully smaller defenders and the quickness to create separation against bigger ones. That size also makes him an effective finisher around the basket as he made exactly 60% of his shots at the rim as a freshman.
Additionally, Rohde has a controlled handle with great instincts to attack closeouts or even to be the primary ball handler in the pick and roll. Consequently, he should be able to thrive in UVA’s sides offense. Rohde is also a very capable passer when he needs to be. His 24.5% assist rate was 206th nationally this past season which was also third in his conference. Frankly, while he’s obviously not there yet, the most accurate Virginia comparison for him is probably Ty Jerome as a big guard who can create for himself and for others.
Defensively, Rohde is perfectly capable as a big guard who has the length and the hands to fit into the Pack-Line well. His 3% steal rate as a freshman would’ve been second highest for Virginia last season with Reece Beekman’s 3.5% the only one higher. Of course, there will be an adjustment period for Rohde to adapt to both the ACC caliber of play and to playing the relentless style of defense which Bennett demands. Nevertheless, he projects as a guy who can manage that well.
All in all, Rohde is exactly the type of player that Virginia needed to add in the backcourt. He provides shooting, ball-handling, and requisite size for a Virginia backcourt that is lacking in all three departments. Only entering his sophomore season, Rohde is a building block for the future who can also contribute immediately. Yes, he comes from a small conference and will need to adjust accordingly. But Trey Murphy and Jayden Gardner each came from smaller conferences as well and had quite successful careers in Charlottesville with less time than Rohde has.
Obviously, Virginia’s potential next season largely still relies on whether or not Reece Beekman returns. Yet, with Rohde now coming in, there’s a more solid backup plan should Beekman head to the NBA with the St. Thomas transfer, Dante Harris, and Isaac McKneely as a relatively capable group of starting guards should it come to that.