A number of prospects have raised their stock through their excellent play over the last few months, but none have done more to improve their profile than Lakewood (OH) St. Edward junior-to-be Delvon Roe. The 6-7, 215-pounder's rise up the charts is thought by many to be directly attributable to his improved skill as a perimeter scorer. While that clearly bears a large portion of the responsibility, his ability to perform at a high level in a number of different facets of the game is still what stands out most. That was abundantly clear at last week's Nike camp. Roe's all-around game shined despite having to manufacture much of his opportunity on his own. The annual hoops fest was extremely frustrating at times for a number of the frontcourt players in attendance. They get passed the ball about as frequently as the Detroit Lions win playoff games. That did nothing, however, to dampen Roe's experience or his performance.
"It doesn't really bother me because there are a lot of other things you're doing besides five on five," he explained. "You're learning a lot in skill development and there's three on three. You're also learning from a lot of great players. We talked to Michael Jordan. That stuff (i.e. not getting the ball) doesn't really matter. You just try to do things that you can control like rebound and running the floor. College coaches see you doing that, and they don't worry about anything else. They know that they'll get their players to get you the ball. If you can just keep working hard and doing all of the little things that you can control, everything will fall into place. My father (instilled) that. I wasn't always the greatest basketball player when I was younger. I was just very tall, lanky, and goofy. That's all I was (laughing). I would just try to outwork you and run the court to and get easy buckets. That's what I still try to do today because that's what got me to where I am. I just feel confident. I've always been confident…ever since I started playing basketball. I just want to keep working hard and bringing me my 'A' game every time."
One of the traits that makes Roe so unique is while he has the talent to be the centerpiece of a team, he possesses the kind of attitude that makes collective goals more important than individual. Furthermore, it makes being a piece of the puzzle as appealing as being the whole puzzle himself…in so long as winning is the ultimate result. That's why the plethora of talent that Thad Matta has accumulated in Columbus has not deterred Roe from looking at Ohio State.
"They said that I am a big piece for them to get to that National championship level," Roe said of the Buckeyes. "None of that stuff (i.e. the number of high profile players they've picked up at his position) matters to me. If you want to win and you want to be a part of a winning organization, you're going to go to a team that you have the best chance to win. They're really good. They're really stacked. You just try to look at what you can do to make that team better. Winning is the most important thing because if you've got that ring, that's all that's going to matter."
The emphasis Roe places on winning does not mean playing time isn't important or that he is looking to walk into a ready-made championship situation. For the programs that haven't been at that level recently, direction is the key.
"You take into consideration if that program is beginning to go down hill or are they really trying to make themselves the best that they can be," Roe said regarding the programs that have fallen on hard time recently. "I want to go to a school and I want to get their program on top. When I leave there, I want people to start recognizing Michigan or Ohio State, or one of those programs…that they have the opportunity to win…that they're on top again. I want to go to a school that is the most comfortable to me and that I can take to the top and make it the best it can be."
For a team like Michigan, landing talented players to fill out the 2007 recruiting class is one of the keys to demonstrating the positive direction of which Roe speaks. That makes the commitment of Corperryale Harris even more significant. Roe is familiar with "Manny's" game having teamed with the Detroit Redford star at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp in late June. He knows exactly what kind of player the Wolverines have picked up…and he likes it.
"He's good and he's tough," said Roe of Harris. "He was playing mostly point guard (at the NBA Camp), but he was scoring too. He was a slasher. but he could also make the midrange jumper. It's good that Michigan got him. That's a guard they're picking up right there, that when I play with him, he passes. He is not a selfish player. He doesn't mind passing the ball…and he is a great kid. He is just a real funny kid (laughing). I'm real cool with him. I spent some time with him, Kalin Lucas, and Paul Williams at Nike. We talked a lot down there."
"It's great when you pick up a person like him," Roe continued. "They are trying to get better. They want to be on top again. That is going to help me a lot in my recruiting."
Now that his recruitment has reached a fevered pitch, Roe can use all the help he can get to sort things out. Head coaches from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida, Illinois, and Cincinnati all made it to Lakewood to watch him work out at his high school earlier this week. That came on the "heels" of North Carolina offering him a scholarship. Though still open to all suitors, Roe told HoosierNation.com earlier this week that a few schools currently stand out on his list and that he would be making his way to their campuses in August.
“I’m going to go to Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Miami and North Carolina," Roe said to the Indiana site. "That’s the main five that I like right now. I still have leave my options open because this could be the biggest decision I make in my life. I don’t want to rush into it. UCONN and Virginia Tech are right there too.”
Those visits may be the determining factor in Roe's final choice if he follows through on his oft-contemplated plan of deciding before the start of his junior season.
"I still think about it because I am pretty sure who I really like, who
I've been very comfortable with since I was a freshman, and who has been there
for me since I was a freshman," Roe said of deciding early. "I'd like
to think about making my decision after I visit all of these schools or into
my school season at St. Eds. It's probably going to come down to loving the
campus. I already know mostly all of the coaches. I've talked to every assistant
coach and the head coaches. I know the style of play from watching them on TV.
So it's mostly loving the campus and also just having that feeling that I'm
ready to make the decision."