Tyler Roberson, the prized recruit with a game that suggests he could become a star, has the offensive game to give Syracuse another weapon that they desperately need. Early in the season, Roberson showed flashes that suggested playing time may be in order down the road. He was too inconsistent, and a bit out of control, which resulted in him missing more games than he played once the conference slate began.
But given the recent issues Syracuse has had putting the ball in the basket, the time for Roberson is now. Late in the game against Virginia, Roberson had two buckets. Yes the game was out of reach, but he played with energy and a versatile offensive game.
The first bucket was a layup in traffic, where Roberson was able to find a small crease and go off glass. The second was a jumper that showed off his silky-smooth touch as the ball hit all net.
Roberson's offensive game is versatile. He can hit the mid-range jumper, has touch from three-point range and can score from the inside. The 6-foot-8 forward can also score in the low-post and take his man off the dribble.
Roberson can help stretch opposing defenses that clog the lane to minimize the impact of C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis driving the ball to the hoop. Especially if Grant is unable to go over the last two regular season games, Roberson could gain valuable experience that would provide dividends come tournament time.
Without Grant, Syracuse is down to just six players. And as much as Michael Gbinije has played well lately, he makes the Orange must smaller up front. This hurts their rebounding on both ends of the floor. Roberson gives Syracuse a bigger body who could help on the defensive glass.
No the true freshman won't single handedly rescue a pedestrian Syracuse offense, but he certainly can help. His long, lanky body can help defensively as well, though he is not as skilled as Grant. Still, his wingspan can create deflections and cover the corner.
Rumblings are that Roberson has been impressing during practice over the last few weeks. It is time to translate that to game action. The time for Roberson to impact the 2013-14 season is now.