University of Colorado guard Richard Roby recently took time to answer a few questions from SCS.com. Roby is one of the top players in the Big XII and is a returning sophomore in Boulder. The San Bernardino, California native led the team in scoring a year ago and was named to the Big XII All-Freshman Team at season's end. The Buffaloes, who return all five starters and are looking to earn a postseason trip for the sixth time in Coach Ricardo Patton's nine seasons, open the 2005-2006 campaign on November 18 at home against UNC-Wilmington. (photo courtesy cubuffs.com)
RICHARD ROBY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
SCS.com: You were a star at Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts, averaging 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists your senior season on the way to being named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. When it came time to choose a college, what other schools did you consider, and why did you ultimately opt to attend the University of Colorado?
Roby: "Other colleges I considered were Iowa State, Kansas State, Washington, Richmond, and Virginia Tech. I choose Colorado because I felt it would fit me best basketball-wise because they were losing both their wings, and I would have a chance to play right away. I felt they wanted me the most, (Coach) Ricardo (Patton) recruited me the hardest."
SCS.com: You came in and made a huge impact in your true freshman season last year. You led the Buffaloes with 16 points per game and 67 three-point shots made. You also averaged nearly five boards and 1.6 steals each night out. Talk about the adjustment you faced when moving from high school basketball to big-time, Divison I college basketball, and tell us what you found to be the most difficult part of that adjustment.
Roby: "The biggest adjustment was the speed of the game in high school. It's easy to play the hole, but in college you get fatigued faster and have to play a lot harder. Also the environment you play in is a lot harsher. The most difficult part of the adjustment is not giving up to fatigue. You have to fight through it and play harder."
SCS.com: You picked up a number of honors when last season was complete. Among other honors, you were named to the Big XII All-Freshman Team and named Honorable Mention All-Big XII. Talk about what that national exposure means not only to you but to your team and your school as well.
Roby: "The national exposure is good. My name is getting out there, and with that, my team's name is getting more exposure. As long we win games, me and my team and school will get national exposure."
SCS.com: You guys were 13-10 in mid-February last year but lost your last five games of the regular sesaon and then were knocked out of the Big XII Tournament in the second round, ending any chance you had of making postseason play. Talk about what you think led to the struggles down the stretch a year ago and what you guys have worked on in the offseason to try to take that next step and be a part of March Madness this spring.
Roby: "The main problem we had was defense. We were allowing teams to do what they wanted to on the defensive end. We always used to dig ourself in a hole and had to fight out of that hole, and it's hard to do that playing at this level. In the offseason we have to know how hard we play to play every game and realize that every game is important and play from start to finish."
SCS.com: All five starters from last year - yourself, Chris Copeland, Marcus Hall, Jayson Obazuaye, and Julius Ashby - return, so much is expected from the Buffs this season. Talk about how you deal with the high expectations placed on you and the team, and also tell us what you think the strengths and weaknesses will be for Colorado in the coming season.
Roby: "If you read a lot of magazines, they still have us coming in the bottom of the Big XII, so the expectations nationally arenít high, but we know what we can do. We competed every game and had a chance to win a lot of games last year. Even though (some other Big XII) teams lost a lot of quality players, (the magazines) still have them coming in ahead of us, which makes us feel we have something to prove. The only way to do that is by coming out and winning, which we know we can do. There is no team in the Big XII that we can't beat."
SCS.com: Whether playing on the road in front a hostile crowd or playing at home in the Coors Events Center in front of the hometown fans, you probably hear the crowd noise at crucial points in the game. Talk about the support you receive from the Buffalo faithful, and tell us how much of an impact you believe fans can have on the outcome of a game.
Roby: "I believe fans are like a sixth man. They motivate you and help you play harder and, at the same time, distract the other team."
SCS.com: While you love playing basketball, you also have to spend time on the academic side of being a student-athlete. Talk about the difficulty of juggling the responsibilities of being both a college student and a college basketball player at a school like Colorado. How difficult is it to focus on the books once the season rolls around?
Roby: "It becomes very difficult, but you do get a lot of help and a lot of reminders of what you have to do. It's just important that you manage the time you do have and put the effort in."
SCS.com: Your head coach, Ricardo Patton, led CU to the NCAA Tournament his first season (1996) as the head man, the Buffaloes' first trip to the NCAAs in nearly thirty years. In eight seasons, he has taken the team to the postseason five times and accumulated nearly 150 career wins. Talk about what makes Coach Patton such a success both on the court and on the recruiting trail.
Roby: "I feel Coach Patton is a good coach because he is passionate about his job and loves to coach and be around his team. He is good at recruiting because he knows how to sweet-talk parents and is just a funny guy and good guy to be with off the court. He cares about his players on and off the court."
SCS.com: In recent years, the topic of paying college athletes has come up more and more. Some people say that since the players make so much money for their school, their conference, and the NCAA, they should be paid. Others disagree, saying that paying college players is not right because that is what professional sports is for. What is your opinion on this subject?
Roby: "Obviously being a college athlete Iím more biased toward athletes being paid. Athletes put a lot of time and effort into their sport, and a lot is demanded out of them. It is hard to find time to work, and often college athletes donít have a lot of money in their pockets. Athletes do make their institutions lots of money, and I feel the athletes should see some of that money."
SCS.com: If a young player was reading this and aspired to become a successful basketball player, what advice would you give him?
Roby: "Never settle with being second if you're not first. You can always get better."
SCS.com would again like to thank Colorado's Richard Roby for taking time to answer our questions. We would like to wish he and the Buffaloes the best of luck throughout the upcoming season.
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