Yup, that’s the title of the post. Just “Andre Roberson”. Why? Because when one does a search of the interwebs for Andre Roberson the results seem to indicate he is just some guy. Some guy that plays basketball for the University of Colorado. He might as well be Shane Harris-Tunks.
Draft Express has 69 profiles for college sophomores, but none for Roberson as of yet. And I’m confident Roberson and four randoms (dudes or chicks) from the CU medical school could handle Luke Winn’s breakout team this season. The closest Roberson has come to getting offseason acclaim is being considered by Drew Cannon for his top 100 list.
Someday Roberson will have an internet presence, but until that day comes I figure this post should be good for trolling a few google hits. No need to clutter up the title with something like “An homage to Andre Roberson”, although that’s what you’re going to get here.
Let’s start with his absurd rebounding rates on both ends of the floor last season.
OR% DR% 15.1 25.5
Only seven players in the country had higher numbers in both categories. I suppose you could say that Roberson’s numbers may be a fluke, a product of limited minutes and good rebounding luck during that time. And that could be true. The problem is that you’ll be hard pressed to find someone in the past who put up prodigious numbers on both ends of the floor and didn’t see those rates translate when playing time was increased.
Recent examples are Joey Dorsey, Drew Gordon, Kenneth Faried, and Reggie Johnson. Counterexamples: Even though he wasn’t a freshman, I suppose you could point to Kentrell Gransberry, who posted an OR% of 20.0 in his first D-I season as a junior before slipping to 12.9% in increased playing time the following season.
A sample of four is too small use as the basis to bet the farm on Roberson being the best two-way rebounder in the land this season. However, Roberson might be in the mix for such an honor, despite the fact that unlike the other guys mentioned, he’s a 6-7 stringbean.
Still, I don’t think that’s the reason Roberson is anonymous. Nobody is sitting around contemplating Roberson’s rate stats and dismissing his performance out of hand because his physique doesn’t fit the stats. Too many people just don’t know about him or even how to pronounce his last name. (It’s the same as the family in this 1994 smash comedy.) Much of it has to do with him not being a blue-chip recruit out of college, and that there were more productive players on CU’s roster last season, at least in terms of producing things called “points”. To be fair, I would be behind the curve on him except that I was tasked with previewing the Buffs for the upcoming edition of College Basketball Prospectus. From there, I figured he needed more notoriety than a paragraph in a PDF would give him.
Roberson is not just a rebounder, either. He also posted significant totals in both blocks and steal.
Blk% Stl% 5.0 3.5
Only five guys in the country had a higher rate in both categories. On top of this, Roberson made 34% of his threes and 64% of his twos while taking decent care of the ball. Obviously, opposing defenses were focused on Alec Burks, Cory Higgins, and Marcus Relphorde last season. And since Roberson only took 14% of his team’s shots, it’s clear most of his efforts were of the high-percentage variety. But unlike most players that shoot that rarely as a freshman, I don’t think he’s locked into being an offensive afterthought for the rest of his career. It’s plausible that he was overly-deferential to the returning high-usage players on last year’s team, especially since Roberson did not have the reputation of a highly-regarded recruit.
I’m not saying Roberson is destined for an offensive metamorphosis of the magnitude that Darius Morris experienced as a sophomore after losing high-usage teammates, but I am saying he is already more accomplished offensively than Joey Dorsey. And this season he’ll be in an environment that encourages leading rather than following.
His rebounding and defensive numbers almost certainly will be among the best in the nation. Even just an average role in the offense would make him one of the most productive players in the Pac-12 and it will make my effort in search-engine manipulation highly successful.