Rhoads caps career with scoring milestone
WINCHESTER — Chandler Rhoads marveled about how quickly his four-year basketball career at the University of New Hampshire went by, but the former Clarke County standout certainly made his mark with the Wildcats.
No one played more minutes than Rhoads. He started in all 29 of the Wildcats’ games and averaged 36 minutes, playing primarily as the team’s starting point guard where he led the team in both assists (98) and steals (45).
“The four years go by fast,” said Rhoads in a phone interview. “High school went by fast, but college goes by a lot faster. It was a good experience playing Division I basketball in college — playing a lot of games and a lot of minutes. I’ve got a lot of experiences that I’ll never forget.”
One experience from his senior season that stands out the most for Rhoads came in a 56-49 loss to America East Conference foe Albany on Feb. 28. Rhoads scored nine points in the loss, eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for his career.
“It was a cool experience being able to accomplish that being from a small town,” said Rhoads, who ranks as Clarke County High School’s all-time leading scorer with 1,638 points. “They announced it and I got presented a game ball with the points and date and opponent on it and it was great just being productive and having a good career.”
He finished his career with 1,015 points, 389 rebounds, 307 assists and 109 steals. Rhoads ranks 27th on the Wildcats’ career-points list. His career assists total ranks him fifth all-time at New Hampshire.
“I think he got the most out of his ability,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion. “He scored over 1,000 points and he had very close to 400 rebounds and he had over 300 assists. From a statistical standpoint, he had a very good career. Any time a player reaches that [scoring] milestone it’s pretty special.”
Another factor that made Rhoads a special player for Herrion was his strength and durability — particularly over the past two seasons.
Rhoads steadily improved his numbers as his playing time increased each season. He went from averaging four points as a freshman to nine as a sophomore and then averaged a career-best 11.2 during his junior season. In the past two years, Rhoads averaged 36 minutes in each year (starting in all 59 games during that span).
His 1,061 minutes played last year were the second highest ever for a single season by a New Hampshire player, and his 1,044 minutes played this year rank fifth best. He ranks seventh in minutes played (3,495) and fourth all-time in games played (114) in school history.
Herrion said the 6-foot-4 Rhoads worked hard and improved each year.
“When Chandler came he did not have a great freshman year and then his sophomore year with the intangibles he brought to the floor — a tough kid and a good athlete — he really became our defensive stopper,” Herrion said. “[From then] we had so much faith in him. Every night we stepped on the court and threw the ball [at the opening tip] you could always rely on him.
“You could pencil him in for 30 or 40 minutes every night. His size and physical strength was one of his best attributes. We played him a lot and he was strong enough and physical enough to handle all those minutes.”
Although it was a tough season with the Wildcats going just 9-20 overall and 5-11 in conference play, Rhoads said sweeping one of the team’s conference rivals was a highlight for the team.
“Our conference — the America East — is a real defensive and competitive conference,” said Rhoads, who led Clarke County to back-to-back Group A state titles in 2006 and 2007 and was the Group A State Player of the Year as a junior in 2007. “The rivalry games are always big with Maine and Boston University and this year we beat Maine twice both home and away and we had never done that before.”
Rhoads joins former Millbrook High School standouts and rivals Erick Green — the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year — and Jordan Sugars — a former star at Navy — as 1,000-point scorers at the Division-1 level.
“I knew both of them growing up and played against them in high school and on the AAU circuit,” said Rhoads, “It’s pretty cool that we’ve all had good success playing at the collegiate level and coming from the same area. It’s cool that we have great experiences that we’ll never forget.”
Rhoads, a kinesiology major, will graduate this spring and his goal his to play in a professional league somewhere.
“I’m going to pursue a professional career and wherever I get a contract that’s where I’ll be going to play,” said Rhoads, who would be open to playing in a pro league overseas. “I’ll just go with the best situation for me and my family and go from there.”
— Contact Robert Stocks at email@example.com Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports1