It isn’t going out on a limb to say that Tyler Roberson was the biggest reason Syracuse was able to grab its biggest win of the season against Duke at Cameron Indoor. He grabbed 20 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards and posted a double-double as the Orange began their mighty turnaround. Now, the forward has not only fallen off on the score sheet, he has fallen out of favor with his head coach, Jim Boeheim.
After Syracuse’s home loss to Pitt, Boeheim had some choice words for the forward. After playing 25 minutes, Roberson only posted 4 rebounds and failed to score. In his post-game press conference, Boeheim said, “If I had anyone else, he wouldn’t play a minute.”
Roberson’s performance on Saturday was just the latest in a series of disappointing games for the big man. He has been held under ten points in each of his last four games, Over the same stretch, Roberson is averaging just over 4 rebounds per game, about half of his season average.
Everyone knows that in order for the Orange to be successful, they need to shoot the ball well. However, a problem that once seemed to be behind them has reared its ugly head again, rebounding. There is no denying that Syracuse lacks rebounders and overall depth in the frontcourt. Overall, Syracuse is a small team, as shown by the use of Tyler Lydon as a center, and Syracuse’s one true center, DaJaun Coleman, has not been able to assert his dominance.
As such, Syracuse desperately needs Tyler Roberson to be the player that he has shown he is capable of being. His rebounding has proven to be pivotal in several games this season in addition to the Duke game. He grabbed 15 boards to help the Orange come from behind to beat Virginia Tech.
The point is, agree or disagree with what Boeheim had to say about Roberson, he desperately needs Roberson and, some may argue, Roberson needs his team and his coach to support him as much as he has helped them.