Pat McTiernan | Staff Writer
Nov. 14, 2019
At 6 foot 10 inches, Duquesne forward Austin Rotroff continues to bring his tenacity and work ethic to the hardwood for his teammates and third-year coach Keith Dambrot.
Now in his second year on campus, Rotroff was thrilled to hear he had been cleared to play two weeks ago. Suffering an ACL injury last January, he stayed the course and fully recovered two weeks earlier than anticipated.
“It was a really tough time, especially the weeks post-surgery … but one thing that helped me a lot was Amari (Kelly),” Rotroff said. “We went to rehabilitation with the same physical therapist in South Side … we were able to go to the process together.”
Now recovered from what he calls the worst injury of the semester. Rotroff says he feels stronger than he did prior to his setback.
“When I would get discouraged, everyone around me would do a good job reassuring along the way whenever I would hit milestones.” Rotroff recollects exactly nine months after his surgery date.
The Ohio-native prides himself on making hustle plays, scrapping for offensive rebounds and “disrupting” the flow of the opponent’s offense. Now with a year of collegiate experience under his belt, Rotroff says that strength training, treatment and most especially sleep, have become facets of his daily routine which he invests heavily in now more than ever.
Signing with Duquesne during his senior season with the Wauseon Indians of Wauseon, Ohio, Rotroff says that Pittsburgh’s legacy as a city rich in sports culture even without having an NBA team.
“I did notice that Pittsburgh didn’t have an NBA team. We’re competing to be the main basketball presence in the city.” Rotroff said in reference to the University of Pittsburgh.
The versatile power forward who competes on both ends of the court is highly self-motivated to earn more meaningful minutes. No. 34 proved to be efficient in Duquesne’s home victory over Lamar on Tuesday night, collecting two rebounds in just four minutes off of the bench to help secure a ten-point win.
The Dukes, who are yet to lead a game into halftime, have proven to be a second half team in the dawn of this 2019- 2020 season.
With a statistically-brilliant career under coach Chad Burt at Wauseon, Rotroff has already asserted himself as a coachable, patient and committed piece of Duquesne’s basketball. In a collegiate sport in which most high-profile athletes are seemingly always one-and-done participants who overlook their opportunity in collegiate basketball, Rotroff is dedicated to making as much of an impact in the classroom as he does on the court.
The sophomore’s interests are tied to this program and his studies as a sports marketing major in the Palumbo School of Business.
Always looking to improve his game, this student athlete is concentrated on his craft while also embracing two aiming points for the program in years to come.
“Assert ourselves as the top team in the city” and “to get a lot of people excited about the program.”
After working his way all the way back into form following his torn ACL, Rotroff is poised to be a key contributor for Duquesne once again this season.