Roby Looking To Regain the Fun

Colorado hopes to improve its 3-6 record Saturday when it hosts Texas Christian at Coors (1 p.m.). When the teams tip off, junior Richard Roby says he wants to put the fun back into basketball following a disappointing early season.

When the Buffs host TCU Saturday, it will have been three weeks since they played a game. That's a long layoff for a college basketball player. But Richard Roby is hoping it was just what the doctor ordered.

"It's helping put things in perspective," Roby said earlier this week.

A quick glance at Colorado's statistic log tells you the junior is averaging 18.3 points a game. That's good enough for fifth in the Big 12. His 5.9 rebounds a game is a tad better than what he produced last season. The 6-foot-6 guard is also ninth in the conference in steals (1.78) per game.

From those numbers, you might think the Preseason All-Big 12 first-team selection picked up right where he left off last season. You'd be wrong.

Anyone who's watched the Buffs play this season knows Roby is struggling. You see it in the downward gaze, the slump in the shoulders, the grimace on his face after a missed shot.

And there have been lots of missed shots. Roby is connecting on just 33 percent of his field goals. That's down nine percent from last season. Beyond the arc, he's hit just 24.2 percent (last year he averaged 35 percent).

It's not what he expected when he took his name out of consideration for the NBA Draft after testing the waters last summer. But part of Roby's problem has been the pressure he's put on himself. Being the main man on a team with just three returning players, it's easy to see why he's felt the heat to perform. On top of that, NBA scouts have been at each home game keeping tabs on what Roby is doing on the court.

Roby said it comes down to the fact he just hasn't been having any fun. He wants to change that.

"I'm just going to have fun with this game instead of worrying too much about how I perform every night," he said. "Just go out there and focus on winning the game rather than how I do individually."

Roby will get the opportunity to have fun Saturday afternoon when the Buffs host TCU (1 p.m. tip-off). (As of Friday afternoon, the game is still scheduled to be played despite a snowstorm hovering over Boulder that is expected to continue dumping snow Saturday.)

TCU will be the sixth team from the Mountain West Conference the Buffs have faced this season. Colorado is currently just 1-4 against MWC foes, owning a road win over Utah.

The Horned Frogs come to Coors with an 8-4 record and has won four of its past five games. Most notably, though, is that TCU has played three games since Dec. 9, the last time the Buffs played. The Horned Frogs have a game under their belt since Christmas Day, too (a 63-51 win over UT-San Antonio on Wednesday).

Earlier this week, CU head coach Ricardo Patton indicated the Buffs have been focusing on defense during the long layoff between games. Implementing a full-court press has been a recent emphasis. Teams are averaging 76.9 points a game vs. the Buffs and shooting 46.5 percent from the floor.

Patton has used four different starting lineups in the team's nine games. But he hinted this week that freshman forward Jeremy Williams — who has started the past four games — may be coming off the bench Saturday.

"Jeremy Williams has played better (coming off the bench) than he has being in the starting lineup," Patton said.

If the Buffs are indeed planning to use a more pressing style of defense, it stands to reason they'll need more bodies in the rotation. Eight players have averaged double-digits in minutes so far this season. But Patton said his rotation is still "a work in progress."

Freshman guard James Inge is not one of the eight players averaging at least 12 minutes a game, but Patton said, "Inge has shown some flashes of maybe being able to help us more than he has."

Neil Dougherty is in his fifth season as head coach at TCU. Prior to that he was an assistant at Kansas under Roy Williams for seven seasons. …TCU assistant Jeff Luster was director of basketball operations at CU under Patton for the 2001-02 season.

Probable Starters
Dominique Coleman, G, 6-3, Sr., 10.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.4 apg
Xavier Silas, G, 6-5, Fr., 10.1, 3.1, 1.7
Richard Roby, G, 6-6, Jr., 18.3, 5.9, 2.2
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, F, 6-6, So., 8.7, 7.9, 2.0
Jeremy Williams, F, 6-7, Fr., 6.4, 5.0, 0.9

Texas Christian
Brent Hackett, G, 6-3, Jr., 9.0, 1.8, 1.7
Neiman Owens, G, 6-4, Jr., 6.6, 5.3, 2.1
Neil P. Dougherty, G, 6-0, Sr., 3.1, 2.8, 3.0
Kevin Langford, F, 6-7, So., 10.4, 5.8, 1.4
Alvardo Parker, F, Jr., 6-7, 9.3, 6.5, 0.8

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