BOULDER – Junior Andre Roberson has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility at the University of Colorado and make himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft.
Roberson, a 6-7 forward who was on the verge of becoming CU’s career rebounding leader, made his decision about midday Sunday and notified CU Coach Tad Boyle.
Roberson was scheduled to announce his intentions at a Friday morning news conference at the Coors Events Center, but he and his family canceled the conference because Roberson apparently was torn between leaving school and turning pro.
He had until 9:59 p.m. MDT Sunday to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft, which will be conducted on June 27 at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
“We support Andre and want what’s best for him and his family,” Boyle said Sunday afternoon. “We wish him the best.”
In a statement issued early Sunday evening, Roberson said, “After much consideration and counsel from my family and Coach Boyle, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NBA draft. I am proud to have been a member of Colorado basketball and want to thank Coach Boyle and his staff, the administration, the fans, and the University for this incredible experience.
“It has been an honor and privilege to make Buffalo history with my fellow teammates over the past three seasons. Additionally, I want to express my appreciation to my friends and family for all their support during this process. I look forward to continued development as I embark upon the next steps in my journey of fulfilling my dream of playing in the NBA.”
Roberson leaves CU with most of the school’s rebounding records within his reach and a legitimate chance to likely have put some of those marks out of reach for any future Buff.
The odds favored Roberson becoming CU’s top career rebounder in the first game of what would have been his senior year; he needed 10 rebounds, which would have given him 1,055 – one more than Stephane Pelle (1999-03) – with the remainder of his final season ahead of him.
Nonetheless, in three seasons Roberson left his mark. He was the only CU player with 1,000 points (1,012) and rebounds (1,045), 150 blocks (150) and steals (164), and 100 assists (119). He also was the first Buffs player to lead the team in rebounding, blocked shots and steals for three consecutive seasons.
At the team’s annual banquet earlier this month, Roberson was presented the Stephane Pelle Rebounding Award and earned the Best Defensive Player Award as voted by his teammates. He also was selected as the Pac-12 Conference’s Defensive Player of The Year and was a first-team all-conference pick.
In the Buffs’ school-record third consecutive 20-win season (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12 Conference), Roberson became the first CU player in 22 years to average a double-double (10.9 ppg, 11.2 rpg) in consecutive years. He finished second nationally in rebounding and he leaves CU with a career average just shy of a double-double – 9.6 points, 10.0 rebounds.
What’s to become of the 2013-14 Buffs minus Roberson? He’ll undoubtedly be missed but Boyle believes his team can thrive anyway. At a season-ending wrap-up on April 11, Boyle said his fourth CU squad will “be good with or without him . . . Andre knows we’re going to have a good team next year; it’s not going to be a make-or-break decision for Colorado basketball.”
Before Roberson’s decision, several Internet news outlets projected the Buffs to be in the preseason Top 25 for 2013-14. Among the more reputable, Sports Illustrated had them No. 11, CBSSports.com No. 12, and USA Today No. 16. With Roberson out of the picture, those projections could change. Roberson’s return might have kept the 2013-14 Buffs among the most highly touted preseason teams in school history, but CU isn’t likely to suffer.
Boyle’s roster is far from barren. He gets an immediate frontcourt replacement in 6-8 redshirt freshman Wes Gordon and will count on improved board work from 6-10 Josh Scott and 6-6 Xavier Johnson, both sophomores-to-be. And with the addition of 6-7 redshirt freshman Chris Jenkins and 6-5 Jaron Hopkins, 6-6 Tre’Shaun Fletcher and 6-7 Dustin Thomas – all true freshmen – the Buffs should receive an immediate influx of length and athleticism to help with rebounding and a revamped defensive strategy.
Most draft projections omitted Roberson from the first round, and only first-round selections get guaranteed contracts. However, the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement gives agents the chance to negotiate guaranteed pacts for second-round picks. Yet there are no guarantees Roberson will go in the second round.
A sample of Roberson’s positioning in the Top 100 draft prospects: ESPN.com – 54th overall; CBSSports.com – 54th overall; DraftExpress.com – 57th overall; HoopsWorld.com – 57th overall. If those projections reflect a general consensus among NBA directors of player personnel, Roberson could be a late-second round selection.
At the conclusion of CU’s season, Boyle and Athletic Director Mike Bohn flew to San Antonio to meet with the Roberson family. Boyle also applied to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee for an evaluation of Roberson’s “draftability.”
The committee is composed of NBA general managers and other team officials who scout college games and players. Two years ago, the committee projected CU sophomore Alec Burks, a 6-6 shooting guard, to be a mid-first round selection if not a potential lottery pick. He was chosen 12th overall by Utah and signed a three-year rookie contract worth $6.3 million.
Boyle contrasted the situations of Burks and Roberson, saying each players’ decision boiled down to “risk/reward,” with not much risk for Burks but significantly more for Roberson. Boyle believes Roberson will polish his offensive game and improve in other facets next season, but the critical question of “where?” won’t be answered until the NBA Draft.