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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scouting Report: Andre Roberson

Height: 6'7''
Weight: 210lbs
Wingspan: 6'11'' (?)
Bday: 12/4/1991

Team: Colorado
Class of 2014

Andre Roberson arrived on campus as an unheralded prospect, a skinny 6'6'' power forward who had shown enough promise to eventually become a college small forward. Playing with Cory Higgins and Alec Burks his freshman year, Roberson didn't have a chance to shoot much but found a way to make a impact on the game with his defense and rebounding. His ability to make his impact felt without the ball put him on the radar and had scouts pegging him for a breakout sophomore campaign with Higgins and Burks headed to the NBA. Roberson's sophomore year showed even more promise although he didn't takeover offensively, and now heading into his junior year, Roberson is expected to make yet another leap. Something he is good at.

Roberson is a tremendous athlete on the court. Since he came into Boulder, his body has improved, and he is now being listed at 6'7'' with a long wingspan to help compensate his shortcomings. He has also put on a good amount of weight to the point where that shouldn't be a huge factor anymore. When watching Roberson, his determination and tenacity combined with the wiry strength he does possess, has been enough to keep him from getting pushed around. Roberson is so active that I am not even sure he stays in one spot long enough for someone to get a body on him.

His activeness around the basket is a lethal combination with his fluid athleticism. He has aggregated those tools to become one of the top rebounders in the country and reminded some scouts of Kawhi Leonard because of it.

In my opinion, Roberson's athleticism is more reminiscent of Hakim Warrick. Leonard was built strong while Warrick and Roberson are more bouncy and fluid. At this point in time, Leonard was a better prospect because of his ball skills. Leonard was a lot easier to project into a small forward role at the next level while Roberson is still very much a tweener on offense.

Roberson's current offense game mainly revolves around put backs, transition opportunities, and straight drives to the hoop. He has shown minimal signs of a post game and his progression as a player makes it appear that he is working towards becoming a small forward in the NBA. He has shown the ability to knock down open jumpers with his feet set, shooting 38% from the 3-pt line, but his shot is very mechanical and rarely forced. His statistics tell a better story of his shot than it actually is. His free throw percentage explains his struggle shooting. Still, he is able to spread the floor.

Roberson wasn't the focal point of the offense even with Burks and Higgins gone and spent equal amount of time on the perimeter as he did setting picks and occupying the paint. Roberson was unable to create his own shots, looking very unnatural shooting of the dribble, but did show good explosion to the basket driving all the way out to the three point line. He is a straight line driver (and very right hand dominant) but has enough body control to put himself in position for a high percentage shot once he gets to the rim. He absorbs contact well and is an all around terrific finisher. He combines the toughness of a big man with the craftiness of a wing once he is at the rim.

Roberson also runs the court very well, looking for every chance possible to get easy buckets. He plays well off the ball and creates a lot of easy dunks at the rim because of it. Every time a shot goes up, Roberson crashes the boards in case of a miss. He has shown a nice touch on tip backs or tipping the ball out to teammates.

While his offense can be a nice complimentary piece since he doesn't need the ball, his defense can be game changing. Roberson is best with freedom, where he can roam off the ball a provide help at the rim. His shotblocking ability is terrific and may be underrated due to the fact that he spends some time covering perimeter players. He is able to block shots with both hands and really makes an art of it. He blocks shots playing straight man defense, helping off the ball, directly at the rim, coming from behind, and is able to block jumpers at the apex of the shot. Because of his shot blocking ability and elite rebounding, I do like Roberson at the power forward.

Roberson has looked fine guarding on the perimeter, but his length is more effective than his lateral quickness. He can be a good wing defender, but I don't think you get the most value out of him by confining him to that one task. He would be best used on defense in a Josh Smith type role.

Roberson has a good amount of potential and the trajectory of his improvements to date should be enough to believe he will continue to get even better, but even without the potential, Roberson brings a lot to the table. He is an elite rebounder, a impact defender, and an above average finisher at the rim. I have some reservations about Roberson becoming a full time small forward, but there is no reason he has to be. He has unique abilities and the best way to utilize him will be in a specialize role. His energy will be perfect off the bench at the beginning of the career and if he grows into more, it is a bonus. If not, you have a borderline starter who plays a brand of basketball you can win with. Roberson has a long way to go offensively as a small forward and will never be a great ball handler, but don't let that distract you from what he can bring to the table. He is easily a first round pick at this point, even without improvement, and Id expect him to be drafted somewhere in the teens on draft night.

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