Nate Roberts, a 2018 6-8 forward from Maryland, narrowed his list of schools down to five on Tuesday, and Syracuse basketball made the cut:
— #longlivepops💜 (@nateupnext) July 25, 2017
Before cutting his list, Roberts also had offers from Georgia, St. John’s and Cincinnati. Roberts isn’t the typical Syracuse basketball target; he doesn’t crack the top 100 in any of the major recruiting site’s rankings, and is listed at just three stars (and No. 195 in the 2018 class) on 247Sports.com. He does look the part, though. At 6-8, Roberts is plenty long enough to work one of the bottom corner positions of Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Consider that box checked. He has a peculiar scoring ability inside. Roberts isn’t a player who comes right at you like a traditional big man, he’s just as comfortable pulling up from anywhere within 15 feet if defenders give him the space.
When he is attacking the hoop, he’s much more of a finesse scorer than your average 6-8 high school player. He goes around defenders instead of running over them, which would be the much easier route with the height advantage Roberts has over most of his competition. He looks like a guard who happened to grow out of a guard’s body, and Boeheim is probably thinking about how he could contribute both inside and on the wing offensively.
The other big plus side to Roberts: he is scary good in transition. In any highlight video you can find of him, teammates will pass Roberts the ball on a rim run and let him go to work. He has an ability to get to the basket that looks instinctive, always knowing where to cut and when to get the upper hand before scoring. It may be his biggest value to a college program.
Syracuse is only one of five schools fighting for Roberts, of course, and the list includes ACC foe Wake Forest, old Big East rival UConn and Mike Hopkins’ Washington. The Orange has competition coming at a lot of different angles for this one, and we could be looking at the first serious battle between Hopkins and Boeheim for a recruit since Hop left SU at the end of last season. Roberts will be at Brewster Academy this year, a school which has always treated the Orange well. Most recently, Taurean Thompson, Ron Patterson (no, not the best example) and C.J. Fair all came to Syracuse from the prep school. Oh, and likely Syracuse commit Buddy Boeheim will play with Roberts at the school next year as well. There will plenty of time for Boeheim to see Roberts play with the coach’s son on the court with him.
Nate Roberts hasn’t set a timeline for his commitment yet or hinted at any further cuts before that time.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson