Penn State Basketball: Allen Roberts Ready To Contribute To 2013 Season
Allen Roberts might be a new face on the Penn State men's basketball team, but he's far from a freshman.
Having already earned his undergraduate degree at Miami of Ohio in Family Studies, Roberts brings with him a unique veteran presence to the Nittany Lion squad even while he's still learning the ropes in Happy Valley.
"I think you’re going to be really impressed with Allen Roberts," Head coach Patrick Chambers said on Thursday. "He can really stroke it. He’ll play two or three. He can hit the three, no question, but he can do more, he can put it on the ground. I would say right now, he’s probably our best 3-point shooter."
And Chambers is right, people are going to be impressed by Roberts.
When you first meet him there is an obvious maturity that comes from the firm handshake, eye contact and the confidence he exudes. That isn't lacking from the rest of the Nittany Lion roster, but it's more noticeable with Roberts.
As a graduate student at Penn State, Roberts is studying educational leadership.
So this makes more sense now.
But even so, it's clear that if Roberts can produce on the court and becomes a role player for the Nittany Lions, fans will enjoy his short time in Happy Valley. Much like Stanley Pringle Jr in the late 2000s, Roberts could win fans over quickly, only to be gone as quickly as he appeared.
Roberts was brought to Penn State essentially to to fill the void left when junior guard Jermaine Marshall transferred out of the program this past offseason. Averaging 12.3 points a game for Miami and shooting almost 80-percent from the line, Roberts provides Chambers with a player who is physically ready to play, and mentally capable to contribute from day one.
"My mindset is to come in here and work hard and to do everything I can to help this team win." Roberts said in the Jordan Center practice gym on Thursday.
Why did Roberts consider Penn State when Chambers came knocking?
"Attitude," Roberts said emphatically. "His attitude is out of the gym. A person like that, he's genuine, that's a trait that he has in him. A special person. You don't get taught that. That's something that is in you or it is not in you and his attitude just attracted me more and more to him."
"Coach Chambers is coach Chambers all day long. I guarantee you he's coach Chambers at home, he's coach Chambers at the grocery store, he's coach Chambers at the mall. He's just a unique person with a unique trait while I've seen people where I've come from just act like they have the mindset. I can feel honestly in my soul that he's doing that from his own values.
"I think that everybody on the team understands his approach and that he is really invested in it."
Ideally Roberts will provide Penn State with meaningful bench minutes that can gives the likes of Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill a break during the game. Playing the guard position comes with a lot of responsibility in Chambers' offense but Roberts doesn't feel any added pressure to contribute right away.
"(Pressure) goes hand-in-hand with performance," Roberts said gesturing. "In college sports things have to be done and things have to be done a certain way. They're coaches and they have things they need to get done and they go and find players that can help them get those things done. For me personally if they need me to score I'll stick to that. If they need me to help out on defense I'll do what I can to help these guys win games. I feel like I'm more than an offensive threat that I can help rebound and box guys out -- bring an intensity to the program."
Overall, Roberts is one of six new faces to have joined the Nittany Lions this year. But unlike his freshman counterparts still learning what it means to play college basketball, Roberts is looking to lead as best he can during his season in Happy Valley.
"I feel like I'm bringing a veteran presence into the program," Roberts said. "I have to learn in different ways, coming from a mid-major conference I can see the physical aspects are different but I'm trying my best just to help everybody with advice and things that I've learned from being in college for four years and having graduated. I'm definitely helping the younger guys, having them come over to my place, having dinner, talking and on the court we're always communicating."
It's hard to guarantee success in the nation's toughest basketball conference, but if the Nittany Lions do succeed Allen Roberts will likely be a significant factor.