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Daraja Rodwell's work ethic makes him deep threat for Baldwin

Baldwin's Daraja Rodwell, right, defends against Brentwood's Tavon

Baldwin's Daraja Rodwell, right, defends against Brentwood's Tavon Ginyard during the Long Island Class AA boys basketball final on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at Farmingdale State College. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Daraja Rodwell spent his Friday night alone at a gym in Freeport, where he shot three-pointers until 11 p.m.

Shortly after waking up Saturday morning, the Baldwin senior went back to the gym, this time with former Bruin Brandon Williams (who plays at Molloy College), to shoot until about 10 a.m.

He wanted to be ready for Saturday's Long Island Class AA championship game, which started at 5 p.m.

It was that kind of work ethic that enabled Rodwell to lead Long Island in three-pointers this season with 75, according to stats compiled by Newsday.

"Preparation and practice are two things that are important to me," Rodwell said after the Bruins lost to Brentwood, 72-51, at Farmingdale State. "I wouldn't have had any success this season if not for those things. I knew I especially needed to work hard to prepare for this game."

Rodwell made five three-pointers and finished with 19 points. His deep trey from the right wing with five minutes left cut the deficit to 55-40, but that was as close as the Bruins (19-2) would get in the fourth quarter.

"We came up a little short, but we accomplished a lot as a team and a lot as players," Rodwell said. "There are some positives we need to remember from this season."

One is Rodwell's emergence as an exceptional three-point shooter.

The 6-1 guard/forward made only six three-pointers last season in a limited role off the bench. "I scored 27 points last season," Rodwell said.

Things were different this time around. The talent was always there, but the large jump in converted three-pointers was mainly because of Rodwell's work ethic, Baldwin coach Darius Burton said.

"I knew he would have a good season, but he made himself have a great season," Burton said. "All his hard work, determination and commitment paid off. None of that surprised me. He's going to be somebody special for someone at the next level."

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