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The second coming

Stuckey compared to Wade, hopes for similar success

Posted: Friday February 23, 2007 9:55AM; Updated: Saturday February 24, 2007 10:58PM
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There is a name that surfaces each time Rodney Stuckey is discussed. It's always qualified with a "when he was in college, not now ..." stipulation, but any time you can have your name linked with Dwyane Wade's, well, you're doing something right.

"He's my favorite player," Stuckey says.

The Eastern Washington guard may join Wade in the NBA soon enough. Stuckey is close to completing his second collegiate season, and there are indications it will be his last. When you average more than 24 points a game in consecutive seasons, moving on to the next level is only natural.

"I'll probably declare for the [NBA] Draft and not sign with an agent to see how things fall," Stuckey says. "That's the best way to do it."

Things may fall very well for the Seattle native. An NBA source has said Stuckey's game is ready for the next level.

"He reminds us of Dwyane Wade when he was at Marquette," the source said. "A big guard, kind of a combo. Wade handled the ball really well, as does Stuckey. He is an unbelievable passer. He has a great basketball IQ. He's very strong, physical, athletic. He's not a great shooter, but he's a great scorer. Wade is still like that, and more so in college."

Stuckey ended up at Eastern Washington because he was a non-qualifier coming out of Kentwood High. Pac-10 schools were interested, but the league does not allow non-qualifiers. So, Stuckey stayed in-state to play for the Eagles.

"In high school, I wasn't focused on the school part," Stuckey said. "It was just me having fun and hanging out with my friends. That kind of stuff got me off track."

That's changed at Eastern Washington, where Stuckey has flourished in the classroom, earning a 3.34 GPA in his three years on campus with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies and Criminal Justice.

"He's done a phenomenal job in the classroom," coach Mike Burns said. "We're proud of his on-the-court accomplishments, but we're even more proud of his high GPA and how he's done academically."

After sitting out his first year to get his grades in order, Stuckey has dominated the Big Sky conference for two years. He averaged 24.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists and was named Big Sky Player of the Year as a freshman, and has followed that up with 24.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season en route to what undoubtedly will be another Big Sky Player of the Year award.

"He's done a better job of handling the ball. His assist-to-turnover ratio is better," Burns says of his star's improvement. "The numbers he has in conference play -- 87 assists and 52 turnovers -- are pretty good considering all the attention he gets from the opposing defenses."


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