Former Saint Joseph's forward Ronald Roberts Jr. is playing for the Sixers summer league team in Orlando and, albeit early, he is certainly opening some eyes with the team and around the league. Roberts has shown what St. Joe's faithful watched for four seasons on Hawk Hill - hustle, heart and freakish athletic ability.
Roberts made his professional debut on Saturday for the Sixers earning the start at power forward and he did not disappoint. The 22-year-old went 4-for-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line scoring 12 points, grabbing nine rebounds, six on the offensive glass alone, and blocking one shot. What really stood out was his put-back dunk in which he nearly jumped out of the gym.
How'd he follow it up? Roberts scored 12 points again, this time on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 shooting from the free throw line. In addition to his 12 points, Roberts also grabbed six rebounds, five offensive.
Roberts play is no different than what it was at Hagan Arena. He still fights and claws for rebounds. He still makes his living in the dirty areas. He still jumps out of the gym on high-flying dunks. And he still leaves it all on the court every minute he is out there.
Many around the league are beginning to take not of Roberts' leaping ability and high-motor style of play. His offensive game isn't quite NBA-polished but it suffices. He sometimes displays a "bull in a china shop" mentality on the court that got him into a bit of foul trouble in college. But, with all of that taken into consideration, he still made a major, positive impact on the court whenever he was playing.
Guys who play and approach the game like Roberts seem to find a place on NBA rosters. They might not always start or be perennial all-stars but they make huge impacts on championship-caliber teams.
If you're a Sixers fan or a St. Joe's fan, watching Roberts play in the summer league is fun. It's hard not to root for the soft-spoken 6'8" forward and it should be one more reason to give the Sixers summer league team another look when they're on TV.
The 76ers next game is Tuesday at 7:00 pm against the Houston Rockets.
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