Continued from page 3

Rodgers has finished her required credits and could have graduated this winter, but she has to be a part-time student to play for the Hoyas in the second half of their season, per NCAA regulations. Scouts have pegged her as a mid-to-high first-round pick in April’s WNBA draft, but if that doesn’t work out, Rodgers will fall back on a career as an English teacher.

“When it comes to kids — I don’t care whose kids they are — all the kids love Sug, and she loves all the kids,” her sister, Sharon, said. “There’s nothing that she wouldn’t do to get them to do positive things.”

This time last year, Rodgers went home to Suffolk and spent an afternoon teaching local children how to ride their bikes without training wheels. Sharon watched 4- and 5-year-olds from around the neighborhood swarm to her younger sister with big smiles on their faces, treating Sugar like a celebrity.

“They’ll be like, ‘Oh, you famous — we saw you on television,’” she said with a grin. “I’m like, ‘No, I’m not famous. I’m just going to college, trying to get my degree.’”

‘The happiest place’

Hours before the Hoyas defeated Monmouth 61-48 earlier this month, Rodgers walked into Brown’s office in tears.

She had the flu. She felt awful. She couldn’t stand it. So Brown told her that she didn’t have to play.

Rodgers shook her head.

“When I play,” she answered, “it’s like the happiest place I can be.”

Rodgers didn’t just play; she scored 30 points that night and eclipsed 2,000 points for her career.

Still, Rodgers is technically homeless. When she goes “home” for breaks and holidays, she stays with her 32-year-old cousin, Rickeda Fofana, in Suffolk. Sometimes she’ll stay with her niece, Ebony, who now has three children and helps Rodgers with things such as sheets, clothes and spending money. One day, she’ll have a home of her own — and perhaps a WNBA contract to go with it.

But before Rodgers goes there, she wants to retrace her steps. She wants to be 10 again. After DeShawn is released from prison, she wants to play him in one-on-one.

“I just wanna whoop up on him,” she said with a smile, “and see if he cry.”