Terrence Roberts Has High Expectations

He's got $40 million shoes to fill, but if anyone in Syracuse basketball's freshmen class can close the hole left by the departure of Carmelo Anthony it will be Terrence Roberts.

He's got $40 million shoes to fill, but if anyone in Syracuse basketball's freshmen class can close the hole left by the departure of Carmelo Anthony it will be Terrence Roberts.

Roberts, a 6-foot-8 left-handed power forward -- and one of the top 25 players in the 2003 high school class -- is a product St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City, N.J. As explained by Mike Sullivan, the college recruitment writer for the Sportingnews.com, Roberts' impact this season at Syracuse will be immediate.

"What makes Roberts even more attractive is he played for perhaps the best high school coach in the country in Bobby Hurley, Sr.," Sullivan said. "You don't leave St. Anthony's until you learn how to play defense and learn the fundamentals of the game. Hurley is one of the best in the business in teaching those skills so you can be sure that when Roberts graduates next spring, he will be prepared to play high Division I college basketball."

All who see Roberts play characterize him the same way; a long and agile combo forward who has a very versatile game. Like Anthony, he's a bouncy athlete who thrives in the up-tempo type system. He is an excellent leaper, which makes him a force in the paint and has also shown the ability to step away and knock down the mid-range jumper.

The similarities to Anthony don't just end with the height and athletic ability. They both come from incredible programs.

Anthony played for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, year in and year out the top prep team in the Nation. Roberts comes from the aforementioned St. Anthony's, and he also played AAU ball for the T5T Playaz club, arguably the best AAU team in the country.

Yet, despite the similarities, Roberts received not nearly the same amount of hype that Anthony did.

At a Syracuse home game last season against St. Johns most people never even heard of Roberts.

One fan, dressed in orange body paint with "Syracuse Fan 4 Life" painted on his chest was dumfounded.

"Is he a student here?" the fan asked.

Despite the lack of pressure being put on Roberts by the fans, he puts more than enough demands on himself.

"Of course I feel that a lot is expected of me," said Roberts. "I'm coming into a big-time school with great players and great expectations and it's only going to make me stronger and better."

Stronger is the key word, as Roberts fills the void in the post on offense, currently occupied in split time by Craig Forth and Jeremy McNeil.

A lineup of Gerry McNamara, Billy Edelin, Hakim Warrick, Jeremy McNeil, and Terrence Roberts, with a bench featuring recruits Demetris Nichols and Louie McCroskey, and proven role players like Josh Pace and Forth, has the size, athleticism, shooting, and defensive intensity to contend with any team in the country, let alone the Big East.

For that to happen Roberts will need to put up numbers similar to Anthony, numbers Roberts put up regularly in High School.

In a game Feb. 14, against Highland Park, Roberts scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. More impressively, Roberts sat the entire second half nursing a bruised elbow.

The one criticism of Roberts is that he doesn't have the ability that Anthony does on the perimeter.

"After watching Roberts at the USA Basketball Dev. Fest, he isn't ready to play on the wing at the next level yet," said Eric Bossi of PrepStars.com "He shows some flashes, but he is much more effective using his body and athleticism around the bucket. He might eventually play on the wing, but it will be a while."

Roberts embraces the criticisms because he said it motivates him to work harder.

""You definitely can't be meek and meager coming in here," Roberts said. "I won't stop working at it and eventually I'll improve. Until then, I'll do whatever Coach Boeheim wants me to in order to help the team win."

The team, according to Coach Jim Boeheim, has big expectations to fulfill, especially in regards to the recruiting class.

"It's among the best, if not the best," Boeheim said. "There's no doubt our recruiting has been upgraded, I don't think there's any doubt."

Roberts looked at several other schools including Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, but chose Syracuse because of the staff.

"Syracuse is one of the best in the nation and Coach Boeheim is going to teach me so much," Roberts said.

You may have not known him last year, you may have heard the rumors at the beginning of this year, but by season's end you and the entire country is going to know who Terrence Roberts is.

It just remains to be seen how much his foot is worth when he hangs up his orange, blue, and white No. 33 uniform.

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