J’wan Roberts might be young, but he is developing into a stout presence around the basket for Shoemaker.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore post showed his growth Dec. 21 against Buda Hays in nondistrict action when he registered a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
For his performance, Roberts was recently voted Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week, an honor he has hoped to receive for quite a while.
“It feels good because it’s my first time winning it,” Roberts said. “I really wanted to win this one.
“I came out, ran the floor and did what my coach said — just execute, get rebounds and score for my team.”
Grey Wolves head coach Emund Prichett was not surprised by Roberts’ output against Hays.
“Those are kind of our expectations for him,” Prichett said. “Sometimes we forget he’s a sophomore because he’s so talented. When he shows up and plays and is really, really focused, he has a chance to be a great player.”
Roberts took advantage of his size against the Rebels, especially on the offensive glass. He tallied 13 first-quarter points, most of which occurred on putbacks.
Second-chance points are invaluable to any team, and Prichett certainly appreciates when Roberts is able to assert himself underneath on the offensive end.
“Every rebound is a possession,” Prichett said. “Basketball is a possession game, and his rebounding is definitely helping us out as a team.”
Obviously, there were some growing pains for Roberts to begin the season. It is his first at the varsity level, and his youth showed early on.
But he has continued to progress with each game, and Prichett said his growth from the onset to the present has been astronomical.
“He’s developed tremendously,” Prichett said. “He’s learning how to post up, learning to pick his spots and is getting better defensively. He’s come a long way, and he continues to get better.
“We saw a lot of improvement this weekend from him (at the Whataburger Basketball Tournament in Fort Worth).”
Moving forward, Prichett believes the sky is the limit for Roberts.
“He can be the best player on the floor on any given night,” Prichett said. “He’s just young, and he’s learning to focus every time out and getting into the heat of the game right. He’s going to be one of the better players in the district, for sure.”
But player development isn’t based purely on talent. He must be willing to soak in what his coaches are trying to teach him, and Prichett said Roberts is doing just that.
“We’re just trying to teach him how to have proper footwork and finding out when to seal and why he’s sealing,” Prichett said. “Like I said, sometimes I forget how young he is because he’s so talented. But we’ve got to sit back and be patient with him — take what we can get as long as he’s playing as hard as he can.”
Roberts, a left-hander, agreed with his coach’s sentiment.
“In the post, I always used to go left,” he said. “I never used to really use my right. I started working harder and progressing, and I can now use my right hand just as much as I can use my left.
“It’s really more dominant to use my right hand now, so I think I’ve really improved, but I’ve just got to keep working.”
Roberts won the award in a landslide, as he garnered 62 percent of the vote.
Others nominated were Gatesville junior Allaira Jones, Killeen senior Jacen Moore and Salado senior Trevor Stump.