So it's no surprise to hear Mike Thibault, the Washington Mystics' coach and general manager, say Rodgers is among the top four perimeter players available in Monday's WNBA draft. And it's no surprise to read mock drafts — yes, such shenanigans have trickled down to professional women's basketball — that project Rodgers as a top-10 lock, a perhaps a top-five selection.
Yet Thibault, whose team owns the No. 4 pick, has some reservations about Rodgers, a 5-foot-11 guard from Suffolk's King's Fork High.
Not reservations about her talent, mind you. That's been evident since her days playing high school ball in the Southeastern District — she was a McDonald's All-American — and traveling with Boo Williams' spring and summer program.
Thibault's concerns center on Rodgers' senior year at Georgetown, and the burdens she carried with a young team that finished 15-16, a significant decline from the NCAA tournament squads on which she played in 2010, '11 and '12.
"Sugar was kind of put in a tough position, hampered by her team a little bit," Thibault said Thursday during a media call. "When she was playing with a more experienced group, I think there was less pressure on her, and she had a better year.
"This was a very tough year for her. I think she had to carry the load, and when you do that, sometimes you get in bad habits. So I'm not sure what the real Sugar Rodgers is right now. She's got a lot of talent, but her game suffered this year. She became a volume shooter and she tried to do some things to carry her team."
Indeed, while Rodgers averaged a personal-best 22.9 points this season, her shooting percentage (36.4) and 3-point accuracy (31.9 percent) were below her career norms of 37.5 and 33.3. Her turnovers nearly doubled from her junior season, from 2.4 per game to 4.7.
"When you're asked to do so much stuff for your team, that happens," Thibault said. "All of a sudden, a teammate who doesn't want to shoot it throws it to her with five seconds left on the shot clock and says, 'Go make a play.' That can get ugly sometimes. …
"She would be among the three or four wing players in this first round that everybody would consider, but I don't have as good a feel for her as maybe when she was younger."
But let's not forget that as a senior Rodgers led the Hoyas not only in scoring and steals, but also rebounds and assists. Her 3.4 steals per game ranked seventh nationally, and her 6.9 rebounds per game were extraordinary for a guard.
And let's not forget her Georgetown farewell: a Big East tournament-record 42 points on 15-of-30 shooting, 6-of-12 from beyond the arc, in an 89-58 defeat.
"Of course she would have liked to have gone further and played more," said Auburn and former Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "But for that to be her last game, my goodness."
Rodgers made only honorable mention All-America, a slight Williams-Flournoy called "a joke."
Williams-Flournoy recruited Rodgers to Georgetown and coached her for three seasons before heading to Auburn. The two remain close, and Williams-Flournoy will join Rodgers in Bristol, Conn., for the draft, which will air on ESPN2.
As much as Williams-Flournoy appreciates how Rodgers improved her mid-range game and defense, and as vivid as the memories are of her 34 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in a 2011 NCAA tournament upset of Maryland, it's Rodgers' personal development that resonates most with her mentor.
Williams-Flournoy said Rodgers, who could not be reached, is on schedule to graduate with a degree in English.
"Everybody at Georgetown just absolutely loves her," Williams-Flournoy added. "She just has that type of personality when she walks into a room. Lord knows what she puts that smile on, you're done. She's going to get whatever she wants. …
"You just think about the little freshman coming in just trying to survive. Whoever thought at this point she'd be waiting on April 15 to see what WNBA team she's going to play with. It gives you chill bumps."