04/14/2010 11:30 PM ET
Rosario looking into Florida
Billy Donovan hopes Mike Rosario becomes a Gator
By Adam Zagoria / SNY.tv
Mike Rosario felt he had no choice but to leave Rutgers, and now he departs on good terms. (AP)

JERSEY CITY -- Armed with a conditional release from Rutgers, sophomore shooting guard Mike Rosario will visit Florida beginning Friday.

Jorge Fontan, who serves as a mentor to Rosario and is the father of USC point guard Jio Fontan, said Wednesday night he "just got off the phone with Billy Donovan [and] it's a go."

Speaking at a beefsteak event at St. Anthony High School, Rosario's alma mater, legendary coach Bob Hurley said he thought Florida could be a good destination for the former McDonald's All-American.

"If he's going to leave [Rutgers] because he's not happy with his individual development, Billy Donovan is very good at developing players," Hurley said.

Rosario cannot transfer within the Big East and cannot go to any school on Rutgers' schedule for next season, Fontan said.

The 6-foot-2 Rosario must sit a whole year and will be eligible for the 2011-12 season.

"We're all happy, ecstatic right now. We're glad Rutgers didn't give us a hard time about it. We respect them for that and now we're going to sit back and see who calls us," Fontan said before the Florida trip materialized.

Gannett New Jersey previously reported that Rutgers planned to file tampering charges against USC and would prevent Rosario from going there. The report also said Kansas and Florida would be off limits for Rosario.

But Fontan said "that never came out of Rutgers' mouth. Nobody officially said that from Rutgers."

Rosario played in 32 games (30 starts) during the 2009-10 season and averaged 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds. As a freshman in 2008-09, he played in 32 games (30 starts) and averaged 16.2 points and 3.5 boards.

Hurley and Gary Greenberg, the executive director of the Jersey City Boys & Girls Club and a longtime confidant to Rosario, plan to meet Rosario Friday morning at 9 at Rutgers. Yet that meeting could be preempted by the Florida visit.

Both seem unhappy with his development and say the player is as much to blame as anyone.

"You can't always blame coaches, though, for players not developing. The older you get, there's more personal responsibility," Hurley said.

Asked if Rosario needed to do more on his own end, Hurley said, "Absolutely. I'm not happy because I know how hard [Rutgers assistant] Darren Savino worked in their individual work and I know Darren wasn't happy with his effort all the time this year.

"If you say you want to do something, saying it and doing it, you gotta work hard. And his work habits were not as good this year."

Greenberg echoed those same sentiments.

"We want to see why things went adrift, how far did they go adrift, pull him back in and then put together a game-plan," said Greenberg, who has known Rosario since he was in the fourth grade.

Greenberg said wherever Rosario goes, there needs to be a structured environment.

"It's got to be a program that's very well structured, where academic, social life and the basketball program itself are structured," he said.

Rosario is the 12th player to transfer on Fred Hill's watch. Three sophomores have left this season alone. Former St. Benedict's Prep big man Greg Echenique, unhappy with his conditioning and the way his detached retina was treated by the staff, left for Creighton. And wing Patrick Jackson received a release but has yet to pick a school.

Rutgers is working on parting ways with Hill, either through a financial settlement or firing Hill for cause in the wake of a profanity-laced tirade at a baseball game April 1 and then defying AD Tim Pernetti's orders to avoid future games.

Rutgers now has just eight scholarship players on the roster.

"They gotta start all over again," Hurley said.

"They could've had a good team next year if they could've found a center. They had four starters back. Mike leaving really hurts them. Now they gotta find a scorer to replace him, maybe a junior college guard because kids want to play. Somebody could walk in there and play next year."

Adam Zagoria is a regular contributor to SNY.tv. Read his blog at ZagsBlog.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AdamZagoria.
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