The college basketball season gets in full swing this week. For a lot of readers of this site, that mostly means keeping track of late first round and second round draft picks the San Antonio Spurs might target. Allow me to step out of the box for a little bit. Instead of focusing someone who might be coming to San Antonio, let's focus on someone who already calls San Antonio home. Colorado University's Andre Roberson is poised for a season that could turn him in to a house hold name.
Roberson, a junior, is a graduate of Wagner High School and had a bit of breakout season last year when he led the Buffaloes to the Pac 12 title and their first NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years. The 6'7" Roberson averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds a game, earning All-Conference and All-Conference Defensive first teams. Defensively, he's already an elite level defender. He can guard three or four positions on the court and is an excellent shot blocker. Even better, Roberson stated in a recent interview one his main goals was to Defensive Player of the Year. The 21 year old is still a little narrow, but he makes up for it with his freakish athleticism.
Roberson's offensive game still needs work, but he's far from a liability of the offensive end. As Ed Issacson at NBA Draft Blog points out, Roberson's jumper is inconsistent and his ball handling isn't great, but he does a good job moving without the ball and crashing the offensive glass. If he can improve either his jump shot or ability to create his own shot, we're not just talking about a Pac 12 Player of the Year candidate, but a National Player of the Year candidate. He's that disruptive on defense already and he's onlygoing to get better.
San Antonio has had its share of great basketball players, but they've all been members of the San Antonio Spurs, not local products. There's been a guy like Devin Brown, who was a local standout that stayed home and helped get UTSA to the tournament. Brown was able to turn himself in to a fringe rotation player for a little while and picked an NBA title in the process. There's also Wes Matthews, a Madison High School graduate who ended up at Marquette, went undrafted and is now starting for the Portland Trailblazers.
Those are great stories about hard work and dedication leading to a fulfilled dream. Roberson's story has the potential to be something different, something more. Roberson has the ability to be the guy other San Antonio athletes can look up to. A guy who grew up where they grew up, a guy who went through some of the same stuff they went through. That's why I'll be focusing on Andre Roberson this season. He's something San Antonio hasn't seen yet and hopefully will be the first of many San Antonio raised basketball players making a name for themselves on the national stage.
Photo: The News Tribune.com