Roberson Rebounds For Success
By Christian Prieto
Kids across the country practice their dribbling skills and jump shots wherever a hoop can be found. From the playgrounds to the driveways, they each fantasize themselves as a basketball superstar.
A child's imagination may place them in the shoes of Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi or LeBron James, each shooting game-winning shots, reaching for the skies during a slam-dunk or driving fearlessly through the lane against their opponent.
Andre Roberson didn't need his imagination to make up the competition he went up against when practicing on the driveway of his home.
His family, consisting of former and current Division-I basketball and volleyball players, made him wish games were a figment of his imagination when he went to battle.
"I was always outside playing basketball when I was younger," said Roberson. "Just having a person, or my whole family basically there to play against, it was good, especially the (level of) competition."
That competition would play a pivotal role into transforming himself as valuable player for Colorado men's basketball team.
As an unknown recruit coming out of Wagner High School in San Antonio, Texas, the 6-foot-7 forward displayed his freakish athleticism when collecting rebounds and second-chance opportunities for his team as a freshman.
He then would finish tied for fifth nationally in freshman rebounding with no starts to his credit during the 2010-2011 season.
Along with the rebounding accolades, Roberson found himself amongst the Big 12 Conference one-and-done legends Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant, being only one of four players ever to lead their team in steals, blocks and rebounding.
Now in his sophomore season as a new member of the Pac-12 Conference, Roberson has parlayed his success into a starting role.
And as for the person who signed Roberson as his first recruit coming in as the new coach for the Buffaloes?
He recorded a school record 24 wins in his first year in 2010-11, an invitation to the NIT and instilled a sense of hope in the program after a sub-.500 finish during the 2009-2010 season.
Tad Boyle, a Colorado native, has exceeded expectations for the program, turning this year's team into postseason contenders.
He resurrected the University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team during his four-year tenure compiling a .459 winning percentage (55-66) and finishing his fourth year in 2010 with a 25-8 record.
With another 20-win season in sight this year, Boyle knows how vital Roberson's numbers are to the Buffs winning.
"His numbers are ridiculous in terms of rebounding. If you look at it from rebounds-per-minute, it's really staggering," said Boyle in a post-game conference after an 80- 62 home win against Oregon State. "The one thing he always does is rebound the ball and that's a nice constant to have. I wish I could take credit for coaching his rebounding, but he just does it."
Roberson credits his mentors - father John Roberson, a former basketball player at New Mexico State, and Boyle - for taking his game to greater heights.
"I know my weaknesses and what I need to work on. Coach Boyle is going to help me on that as well as my dad," said Roberson. "It's good to have those mentors on my side."
He's also taken the family concept to the team where he focuses on improving with the help of his teammates. There are four seniors on the team—three of which are starters—and Roberson emphasizes the bond they all have.
"We all love each other. We just want to do the best for each other," said Roberson. " I just want to (play well) for these seniors. I know it's their last year, so that fuels me to play my hardest."