During his postseason press conference earlier this month, Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle said junior forward Andre Roberson's decision to turn pro and enter the NBA draft or remain in college wouldn't be a “make-or-break decision for Colorado basketball.”
It could be a top-25 decision.
Roberson is scheduled to announce his plans for his future Friday morning at a 9 a.m. press conference at the Coors Events Center that fans can watch on the Internet on the digital platform of the Pac-12 Network. Roberson still had not made a final decision as of midday Thursday and was scheduled to discuss the decision one more time with his parents and Boyle on Thursday night.
Roberson is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. Writers for numerous national publications have already slotted the Buffs into extremely early preseason top 25 forecasts, assuming Roberson will be on the roster as one of five returning starters.
If Roberson bolts for the pros, the Buffs will still be considered one of the better teams in the Pac-12 next season, but it's doubtful they will be on as many preseason top 25 ballots and they certainly won't be ranked in the top 15 where a few writers have them now.
“We're going to be good next year with or without him,” Boyle said at his postseason press conference. “Obviously we're a better team with him than we are without him.”
The evaluation Roberson received from the NBA committee responsible for advising underclassmen on their draft stock said that Roberson would be a second-round pick if he turns pro this year. Only first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts in the NBA, except for a few second round picks who negotiate guarantees into their deals.
If Roberson was a second round pick, the best case scenario would be that he finds a perfect situation with a team that doesn't already have much of its roster decided by guaranteed deals and he earns a spot with hard work.
Roberson finished second in the nation in rebounding this season with 11.2 per contest but his game has holes. He is not a good perimeter shooter or ball handler and doesn't have the skills to create his own shot the way most players his size do in the NBA. He averaged 11 points a game but most of his scoring comes in the paint.
Some have argued that Roberson should turn pro now and work on those elements of his game as a pro because next year's draft is expected to be deeper and he likely won't be able to add those elements to his game at the college level because his role for the Buffs is one of a post player.
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said Roberson should stay in school for his senior season when he was asked for his opinion on the subject on Twitter.
“Stay. Enjoy Buffs' potential great season in 13-14. No first round buzz,” Fraschilla wrote.
Boyle and athletic director Mike Bohn have encouraged Roberson to remain at CU, work on the shortcomings in his game and earn his degree before beginning his pro career a year from now.
“I've told Andre and I've told his parents, we want what's best for him,” Boyle said at his postseason press conference. “Bottom line, that's what this whole thing is about. If he leaves early, I want him to be in the NBA. I want him to be getting paid. If he leaves early and he's not in the NBA and he's not getting paid, it's a disappointing decision on his end and on our end. They know that.”
Roberson hasn't done any recent interviews about his decision. His father, John, has not returned several messages left for him this week. If he turns pro, Roberson would be the fourth Buff to do so joining Alec Burks, David Harrison and Chauncey Billups.
Boyle was asked earlier this month about the big expectations for his program in 2013-14.
“Just the natural progression is each year is going to be bigger and better,” he said. “We think we have the opportunity next year with the personnel in place, to have a great year. At the end of the day that doesn't mean anything other than people recognize you got something pretty special going on.”
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