Toughness Gives Troy's Vogler Edge
January 16, 2008
By Drew Champlin (Dothan Eagle)
TROY — Mike Vogler didn’t leave Florida Atlantic with a win Saturday, but he did leave with some NBA comparisons.
His old roommate at Chipola, James Staten, plays for Florida Atlantic, which beat Troy 93-88. Vogler, a backup point guard for the Trojans, scored 11 with six assists and four steals.
“He said two of his teammates were calling me Steve Nash,” Vogler said.
Nash, a 6-foot-3 point guard for the Phoenix Suns, is a two-time NBA MVP and a five-time all-star. Vogler, a 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore, said he looks up to Nash.
“He’s one of the most exciting players in the NBA,” Vogler said. “I liked (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant growing up. Steve Nash wasn’t really on the radar, but Kobe was winning championships. When Steve Nash won those MVPs, I really started taking notice.”
Troy coach Don Maestri had some Nash comparisons for Vogler even before the season started — mostly because of his passing.
“He sees the court well and everybody enjoys watching him pass the basketball,” Maestri said. “It’s those Steve Nash-type passes.”
Troy took a chance on signing Vogler before he even played a game at Chipola Junior College. The Panama City, Fla., native was recruited by just one junior college, but chose to walk on at Chipola and redshirt his first year.
There, he battled Division I signees every day, such as Stefhon Hannah (Missouri) and Michael Taylor (Iowa State). He became adjusted to physical basketball during that redshirt year.
“At Chipola’s practice, there’s no fouls and no out of bounds, so it’s really intense,” Vogler said. “I was getting pushed around a little bit early, but I’m pretty tough so I got used to it and started hanging with them.”
“Being a small guard playing basketball, you have to be tough. If not, you won’t make it.”
Chipola’s practices are regularly attended by four-year college coaches, so Troy got a good look at Vogler there and signed him in the fall before his redshirt freshman year.
“Mike just looked like he could really play,” Maestri said. “The beauty was that he was playing against guys that were all signing with big schools.”
Vogler played behind Ed Berrios (UAB) last year. Fourteen players from Chipola’s roster in the two years Vogler was there signed with four-year schools.
The Trojans (8-8, 1-4 Sun Belt), who host Middle Tennessee (6-9, 3-2) tonight at 7, have benefited from Vogler’s energy off the bench. He’s scoring 7.4 points per game and is second in the Sun Belt in assists (4.8 apg) and steals (2.5 spg).
His best game came against North Texas in a 91-88 win when he scored 11 with seven rebounds and eight assists.
Vogler has certainly been an impact newcomer in the Sun Belt.
“A lot of teams, when they see a little white guard coming off the bench, they think they can take it easy,” Vogler said. “But when you go against them, you realize you can’t.”