Any time a program can add established Division I talent and not have to sacrifice a valuable scholarship, it can be chalked up as a win. For Indiana and head coach Tom Crean, they have just accomplished that feat. Zach McRoberts, a former Vermont Catamount, has announced he will join the Indiana Hoosiers as a walk-on.
A self-touted defensive specialist, Zach is the younger brother of NBA player Josh McRoberts. After spending one season in Burlington, Zach chose to transfer to Indiana where he could simply be a regular student. The time away from basketball last year lead to him wanting to get back on the court so he got into contact with IU’s staff, who were already aware of his presence on campus.
During his time at Vermont he was fairly tenacious on the boards, hauling in 4.4 rebounds per game in about 20 minutes played. However, it is important to consider the fact that McRoberts was experiencing this rebounding success against America East competition and mid-major talent. He is only 6'6" and to expect him to continue rebounding at such a high rate in the Big Ten would be unfair.
He added 4.2 points per game as a freshman. He has a strong work ethic and desire to succeed and maximize his talents that makes him a great personality to add to the locker room.
A Carmel native, McRoberts was not ranked coming out of high school and received limited Division I interest. He is a former Indiana All-Star and won two state titles during his time in high school. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
As for how he will affect the Hoosiers, his impact will likely be felt mostly off the court with his great character and attitude toward the game. On the court, I would expect him to play mostly as a reserve when Crean needs someone to come in and play tough defense due to the foul trouble of those ahead of him in the depth chart.
That said, he will likely get an opportunity to show what he is capable of during some probable blowouts that will occur during the non-conference portion of Indiana’s schedule. Additionally, with Hartman’s foul history and propensity for finding himself on the bench early in games against more athletic opponents, McRoberts should prove a valuable asset for the Hoosiers to have.
IU has started to have great success with players from other institutions. After being spoiled with a Max Biefeldt transfer last season, it wouldn’t be fair for Hoosier fans to expect any future transfers to have nearly as large of an impact. Josh Newkirk, a former Pittsburgh player who sat out last season, looks to play a lot this year, but there are question marks about how seamlessly he will fit into the program. In order to keep expectations at a reasonable level for McRoberts, he should be viewed less as a transfer and more as the walk-on that he is.