Last season was a frustrating one for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and fans. Despite entering the season with plenty of hype and expectations, Nebraska faded down the stretch and missed out on the NCAA Tournament yet again. The struggles ended up costing Tim Miles his job.
The primary reason fans were so frustrated with the results had to do with the team’s talent base. The Huskers were a talented and experienced group last season. Injuries or not, Nebraska should have done more than make the NIT.
And part of that talent was forward Isaiah Roby. He was a unique player with a diverse skillset that helped the Huskers get close to the NCAA Tournament twice during his career. Now, he hopes to hear his name called in the 2019 NBA Draft. Let’s take a look at how that might happen.
While Roby’s numbers don’t look particularly impressive on paper, he left quite an impact on the court. He was one of the league’s better defenders during his career with the Huskers and had the rare ability to guard a handful of positions. HIs shot blocking ability was also impressive, as he finished with nationally relevant numbers in his last two seasons with the program.
Roby was also really dangerous in transition as he could run the floor and finish at the hoop. A lot of this came as a result of his raw athleticism. He can move really well for his size and should be able to keep up on the run on both sides of the floor.
Of course, Roby does have his issues as well. The first being is general lack of production. Roby didn’t have horrible numbers, but 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game isn’t exactly going to blow people away. In fact, Roby failed to score 10 points in nine league games last season. Even if Roby isn’t your prototypical scorer, that doesn’t sound like a typical marquee NBA prospect.
His upside is also a question mark. As mentioned, his athleticism and defensive abilities are impressive, but how good can he get on the offensive side of the ball? He wasn’t a decent three-point threat with limited opportunities, but never had an elite low post game or ability to find open teammates consistently. His handle could also use some work. These issues make one wonder if Roby could ever grow out of a bench role in the NBA.
Given Roby’s diverse skillset, he actually seems like a decent fit for virtually every NBA team out there. He looks like a player capable of guarding at least two to three positions in the NBA and should be able to help out on the boards and in transition. The important question will be about how much he grows from there. If he expands his game, Roby has the chance to be a swiss army knife off the bench and maybe even a productive starter. He could also crash and burn at the next level if he can’t find somewhere to be productive offensive.
Most mock drafts project Roby somewhere between the late first round and late second round. He seems to be one of the bigger wildcards in this year’s draft group. More likely than not, he ends up landing somewhere in the second round.
The Huskers haven’t had a player selected in the NBA Draft since 1999. That’s quite a streak of ineptitude for a Big Ten program, but Roby seems like Nebraska’s best chance in years to break the streak. What he does after that will largely depend on how he grows his offensive game.