Clint: Checking in with Josh McRoberts

Being Josh McRoberts hasn't been the easiest thing in the world for the past year. He's suffered through a major back injury. His team experienced a difficult season at Carmel High, and last but certainly not least, he's not getting much love from the Indiana natives about his decision to attend Duke.

Josh McRoberts was seated behind the Duke bench for last week's win over North Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"I told some of the Duke players last weekend when I was with them that I was the JJ Redick of Indiana," McRoberts said. "They don't like me very much here, but I think it's because I go to a suburban school and the fact that I'm not going to go to an Indiana school."

The junior forward, who's already verballed to Duke, missed a large portion of his junior season with a back injury. And while he's improving -- he's still not at full throttle just yet.

"It's definitely better," he said. "But not one hundred percent just yet. I still have a little bit of pain, but it's not too bad. I'm getting close and hopefully by spring, I should be there."

Speaking of Spring, McRoberts plans to team up with Greg Oden, the number one player in the junior class to run with the Indiana Heat. Oden and McRoberts will also be joined by 6-0 Mike Conley, who's quickly earning a reputation for being one of the top point guards in the 2005 class. The Heat are scheduled to be at the Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions over Memorial Day weekend in Chapel Hill.

The rest of his summer plans aren't set in stone just yet, but McRoberts says he has a pretty good idea of where he might be.

"I'm hoping to go to the USA Developmental Camp in Colorado and one of the shoe camps and then probably the Duke camp again. And then I'll probably play out in Vegas as well."

Most Duke fans that follow recruiting will notice one major change in the junior if they saw him last season and that's the fact that he's bigger.

Much bigger.

"Last year at this time," explains McRoberts, " I was about 205 to 210 pounds. Now, I'm up to about 245 pounds now."

And as he's not all protein shakes and tuna steaks either...

"If you don't exercise for a few months, you'll gain some weight," he laughed. "I think a lot of it has to do with me just growing and some of my weight training has been paying off. And in all honesty -- just not being able to do anything."

"It's not all bad though. I feel pretty comfortable with the weight."

For the season, McRoberts ended up averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four blocks despite missing many of the games with his aforementioned back injury.

"I think we ended up finishing like 15-7 for the season," he said. "We went from being ranked third in the state to being unranked. (Watching many games from the sideline) was tough and there wasn't anything I could do about it."

Note: TDD will be on hand for coverage at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in May where McRoberts and his Indiana Heat squad are scheduled to be in attendance.

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