BOULDER, Colo. - With the new additions to the Buffaloes' frontcourt, Andre Roberson will have an opportunity to play on the perimeter a little bit more this coming season, said head coach Tad Boyle.
"Andre has been working on his ball handling, his jump shooting," Boyle said. "He is going to be a different player with Xavier Johnson, Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon."
Roberson set the CU single-season rebounding mark with 401 as a sophomore, breaking a 58-year old record. His 11.1 rebounds per game were 3.4 more than any other player in the Pac-12. How is he going to duplicate that feat with so many talented rebounders around him now?
"When they are on the bench or in foul trouble, that is when I will go get mine," Roberson said jokingly. "But you know it is not all about my stats. I am just going to go out there and play my game and do what I have to do for the team. I will still go after rebounds a lot and just have the constant effort of going after the ball."
Although his outside shot is not often labeled as one of his strengths, Roberson had the second-best three-point shooting percentage on the team last season. He made five of his nine shot attempts from beyond-the-arc and averaged 14 points in the Buffs' six post-season games.
"It was do or die and I felt like I had to step up," said Roberson. "That whole post-season run gave us a lot of experience and gave us a taste of what it's like to be one of the top dogs in the nation. I feel like it was a testament of how hard we worked. We learned that hard work pays off so we are going to keep grinding, keep working on our games and continue the run we had last year."
Roberson also got a taste of what it takes to play "next level ball" at the adidas Nations Invitational this past weekend. He returned to Boulder on Monday night with a better idea of what he needs to work on as a player. DraftExpress.com currently ranks Roberson as the 20th best prospect for the 2013 NBA Draft.
"It was a great learning experience because I got to test myself against the top guys in the nation and I actually feel like I did pretty well," Roberson said. "They had NBA General Managers coming in to talk to us about what it is like at that next level. I had a couple guys talk to me on the side, just kind of giving me pointers."
Additional notes -
When asked why it is so hard for opposing players to box him out, Roberson attributed it to "constant movement."
"I move side by side so they don't know where I am," Roberson said. "A lot of guys just kind of watch the ball as it goes up. I watch the ball and also attack and just squirm through there. That is one of my little secrets."
Roberson and Boyle co-signed Spencer Dinwiddie's comments earlier this week that the Buffaloes have a more talented team this year. However, Boyle said he is not sure what the identity of the squad is going to be.
"I think each team has to kind of form their own identity and their own personality," Boyle said. "But hopefully every team from here on forward that we're here is going to be a team that prides itself on defense and rebounding.
"We've got some pretty talented offensive guys out there so hopefully if we can get our efficiency offensively like the first year [I was here at CU] combined with the defense and rebounding and intensity on that side of the ball [like] the second year [I was here], we can be a top 25 program."
Sabatino Chen has improved his jump shot, according to Boyle. He figures to play a big role off the bench after averaging almost 10 minutes per game last season.
"I love him. I think Sabatino is going to be our unsung hero," Boyle said. "Sabatino is a guy that gets us extra possessions. He'll dive on the floor for loose balls. … I love what he brings to our team: energy, passion, unselfishness, the list goes on."
Boyle has "thought about it a little bit" but is not sure exactly how he will rotate his players during their five exhibition matches in Europe next week.
"I would not read too much into lineups and minutes and that sort of thing," Boyle said. "For the most part, I know what Andre, 'Ski' (Askia Booker) and Spencer can do. This is an opportunity for the other players who were maybe role players to elevate their game a little bit from last year returning and for the freshmen to see where they're at."
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