December 30, 2011
Rutgers fans hurled insults at Florida's Mike Rosario from pregame warmups until the final buzzer on Thursday night, calling the former Scarlet Knight everything from a quitter, to a bum, to a coward.
The one thing the crowd couldn't call Rosario, however, was a bad sport.
Moments after Rutgers' 85-83 double overtime upset victory over the Gators on Thursday night, Rosario knocked on the door of the Scarlet Knights' locker room. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, he congratulated the entire locker room as a whole on the win and then walked up to each player and congratulated them individually.
Credit Rosario for the thoughtful gesture because not many players in his shoes would have done the same thing.
Hailed as the savior of Rutgers' struggling program when he became the first McDonald's All-American to sign with the Scarlet Knights, Rosario averaged more than 16 points per game in each of his two seasons with the program. Rutgers fans villified the New Jersey native when he left after coach Fred Hill was fired in 2010, however, because he bolted without completing his promise of turning the Scarlet Knights into a winning team.
Aside from the boos whenever he touched the ball and the chants of "Rosario is a bum" and "Jersey hates you," Rosario actually had a fairly uneventful game. Perhaps still bothered by a strained back that sidelined him for the Gators' last two games, he played only 14 minutes off the bench and scored five points.
The best part about Rosario's postgame gesture was that he probably didn't recognize many of the faces in the Rutgers' locker room. Neither Mike Rice and his staff nor most of the Scarlet Knights players were leftovers from the Fred Hill era, but they surely appreciated Rosario's sportsmanship all the same.