Roberts is averaging 13 shots on the year, shooting a good 47% from the field. Today, however, he was held to only four, three of which were forced three point shots. His form continues to look good and he showed an ability to shoot both off of screens as well as off of the dribble, but the degree of difficulty of these shots were very high. His other shot was a quick pull-up jump shot from the top of the key, which showcased his quick release, stellar form, and fluid offensive movement.
The St. Louis defense was designed to stop him, but instead of stepping up to the occasion, Roberts withdrew into a shell of ineffectiveness and passivity. Though he eventually became more aggressive with about three minutes into the game, something was clearly wrong.
Roberts is still not a true point guard, which is evident in his inability to properly dictate and game tempo. Because he was not shooting as much, however, he was able to showcase his ability to effectively run an offense as well as his tendency not to over dribble.
When the game reached overtime, Roberts found himself on the bench for key stretches while his teammates stepped up to the plate. That being said, Roberts is lucky that he will have the opportunity tomorrow against Xavier to improve upon his less than stellar performance. Unfortunately, Stanley Burrell and company are far more notorious for their defensive prowess than Saint Louis.
Saint Josephs vs. Fordham
In just a short period of time, Pat Calathes was able to again cement his status as a legitimate NBA draft prospect, while Ahmad Nivins showed how far he is from ever attaining this level.
Calathes showed his tremendous offensive versatility through a combination of pull-up jumpers, drives to the basket and perimeter shots, to the tune of 23 points on 9/12 shooting from the field and 2/4 shooting from beyond the arc. His jumpshot from just about anywhere on the floor is a thing of beauty, as it combines his soft touch with an almost unstoppable release point due to his height. Offensively, the only thing that held Calathes back was his handle, which can be a bit high at times. He tries hard defensively, but his lateral quickness leaves much to be desired, and today, he showed that his potential at the next level might be somewhat limited by his inability to stay in front of some of Fordhams perimeter players.
Center Ahmad Nivins was once considered to be a fringe prospect, but after seeing him multiple times, it is safe to say that he is even farther away from such a title than before. He has bad hands, which combined with his underwhelming awareness on both sides of the floor, which does not bode well for his future at the next level. While he occasionally shows promising quickness in the post or the ability to hit a spot up jumpshot, his lack of skill and awareness really damage any of his potential. Strangest of all is the fact that his strong suit consistently in each viewed performance has been his length and post-scoring, yet in person, he rarely commits to playing defense at all times when on the floor. Most of his foul troubles come from biting prematurely on shot fakes and reaching after his man has blown by him.
Duquesne vs. LaSalle
Otherwise, the game had few surprises as the guard-bloated Dukes fell in the final seconds to a hot shooting Darnell Harris and the LaSalle explorers.
Rhode Island vs. Charlotte:
This was the most controversial game thus far in the tournament as referees awarded Charlotte guard Michael Gerrity two foul shots with the score tied and 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation. More upsetting, however, was the play of Rhode Islands star senior duo Parfait Bitee and Will Daniels.
Bitee has good size for a professional point guard at 62 and has, as shown when he almost jumped over Anjuan Wilderness for a dunk, elite athleticism. The problem, however, is that his decision-making is extremely suspect. As shown in his final stat line of 6 assists and 5 turnovers, he has a lot of work to do before being considered as a potential point guard at the next level. Early on, it was merely over dribbling that was creating a problem for him: 3 of his turnovers came within the first couple minutes because of this. Later, however, he got in trouble by picking up his dribble too soon and even threw the ball out of bounds on one possession, a few feet away from the intended mark. He forced shots sometimes as well, once passing up the opportunity to defer to a teammate to take a shot of his own, which he air balled. It is to be determined whether or not these lapses are because of a low basketball IQ or merely selfishness, and unfortunately, Bitee will not have another chance to showcase his abilities in front of NBA scouts until post-season tournaments, camps, and workouts.
This being said, for stretches he looked very good, particularly in transition where he used his solid ball skills and speed to dictate tempo and helped his teammates get easy baskets in return. He looked a little like Jacques Vaughn did during his final seasons at Kansas. While his point guard ability is definitely suspect at this stage, one thing that he does better than just about every guard in the country is play defense. Using his long arms, excellent lateral quickness, and defensive instincts, Bitee looks like he could be a stopper at any level of college basketball. There were times when he stole the ball from Goldwire without even touching him (he had more steals than the one mentioned in the box score). His play later this spring will show how effective he is against higher level guards, but he showed, both in this game as well as in tape against high-major opponents such as Syracuse, that he is a stellar defensive player, even if he has a lot of convincing to do on the offensive end.
Leemire Goldwire, Charlottes 511 shooting guard, ultimately put the nails in Rhode Islands coffin as he drilled three straight acrobatic NBA-range three pointers before Michael Gerrity sealed the game with two free throws.
It was a busy first day in Atlantic City, NJ. Up tomorrow: Xavier vs. Dayton, Saint Josephs vs. Richmond, Temple vs. LaSalle, and Charlotte vs. Massachusetts.