Who would have thought, after a season in which he was angry and languished on the bench, that senior guard Mike Rosario would play a key role in UF’s success this season?

The attitude adjustment in the fall has carried over through the season. Rosario is no longer sitting out extended stretches of practice for minor injuries. He’s hustling on defense. He’s physically stronger.

Scoring-wise, Rosario is showing the McDonald’s All-American potential he possessed coming out of storied St. Anthony’s High in Jersey City, N.J. He’s coming off a season-best 22 points against Auburn and is averaging 16 points over his last six games.

“I’m just happy because I put in a lot of work and I’m still putting in a lot of work,” Rosario said. “I feel like when I bring my positive energy to the table for the team it feeds off a lot of success to everyone else. By me having that mindset every day of taking care of my business on and off the court, it just gives me a clear mind. I just feel like I’ve been playing to my full potential and I want to continue to do that.”

Florida coach Billy Donovan is aware of Rosario’s potential and continues to push his development. The next step, Donovan says, is for Rosario to maintain his full focus for 40 minutes. Rosario scored 18 points in the first half against Auburn, but Donovan felt the senior guard got a little too loose with the ball in the second half. With the 22 points, Rosario had 5 assists, but also 2 turnovers.

“Part of the reason I challenged him so much was when he’s focused on and locked in, he seems to play his best basketball,” Donovan said. “When he’s loose, relaxed and not on edge or really ready, he gets a little carefree.

“He has done a good job. I’m proud of Mike. I think he has come a long way from where he was a year ago. I’ve got confidence in Mike and belief in Mike. When he’s out there playing the right way and doing the right things, he’s a very effective player for us. There’s a part of Mike where he can drift over here and may not be as effective and may not be doing the things he’s capable of doing. For me as a coach, it’s a constant, daily challenge to him to be better than he was yesterday and go out and be great. Take advantage of the opportunity that you have. Utilize what you have. He has really tried to do that this year. I’m happy for him personally.”


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