Marc Rodriguez makes basketball history at Father Judge

Father Judge's Marc Rodriguez (left) with Father Judge coach Sean Tait.

With pizza and cake in the school cafeteria late Sunday afternoon, Father Judge recognized Marc Rodriguez for becoming the basketball program's first 1,000-point career scorer.

Since Judge has had its share of stellar players in 62 varsity seasons, including former long-range bomber and current head coach Sean Tait, Rodriguez, a humble and likable 18-year-old, deserved the attention.

"It's rare these days that your best player is the most unselfish kid on the team and does everything the right way," Tait said.

Not surprisingly, Rodriguez, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with 27 markers in last Tuesday's 68-60 win at Catholic League rival Archbishop Wood, tried his best to downplay the achievement.

"I'm proud of it, but it's something I share with the teammates I've had in my four years here," the 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard said. "A lot of people were involved in making this happen."

As an up-and-coming varsity player at Resurrection of Our Lord, Rodriguez received looks from a number of area high schools.

"I considered going elsewhere, but I had been going to Judge's basketball camp since I was in fifth grade," he said. "And since it's only a 10-minute drive from my home, I knew it would be easy to come over and get in extra shooting practice."

Before Sunday's gathering, Rodriguez and the Crusaders bowed to two-time defending Catholic League champion Roman Catholic, 41-38, on Chris Kuhar's buzzer-beating three-pointer from about 25 feet.

"Losing in the last second like that hurts for a few hours, but after that you have to turn your attention to the next game," Rodriguez said.

Against Roman, Rodriguez drilled three of his four treys in the first half and finished with a game-high 20 points. He added four rebounds, including two on offense, two assists, and a steal.

With 1,028 career points, Rodriguez says the tutoring he receives from Tait and assistants Mike O'Connell, Jim Fenningham, Ron Fenningham, and Nick Sullivan has played a big part in his success.

The fourth-year starter is supported off the court by Ruth Rodriguez, his mother, stepfather Bill Jackson, sister Desiree, and niece Jasmine.

Despite being undersized, the Crusaders are 9-3 overall and 2-1 in league action entering Friday night's contest at West Catholic. "Our recipe is to control the tempo and work for a good shot," Tait said.

The starting lineup also includes 6-2 forward Drew Riley and guards Matt O'Connor, Mike Power, and Shane Dooley. At 6-6, reserve Tom Quarry is the only regular taller than Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who lives near Rhawn Street and Algon Avenue in Rhawnhurst, has scholarship offers from three Division II schools: East Stroudsburg, Goldey-Beacom, and Millersville. He plans to major in sports science.

"I honestly think I can play at the Division I level," he said. "If that's meant to be, it will happen. If not, I'll do my best wherever I end up."