Roberts traveled circuitous path to New Orleans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
On a New Orleans Hornets roster that features 10 NBA first-round picks, including five players who were chosen in the lottery portion of the draft, Brian Roberts is an anomaly. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard not only went undrafted out of the University of Dayton in 2008, but it also took him four years to even appear in an NBA preseason game. At the unusual-for-a-rookie age of 26, Roberts debuted Oct. 7 vs. Orlando.
If Roberts’ first taste of the league was any indication, he plans on sticking around a while. The veteran of pro leagues in Israel and Germany led New Orleans to an 85-80 comeback victory over Orlando, pouring in a team-best 17 points. Roberts simply picked up from where he left off in summer league; he tallied double-digit points in all five Las Vegas games for the Hornets. The July performance helped convince the Hornets to sign him to a free-agent contract on Aug. 16, capping a post-college odyssey that has now included signing with teams on three different continents.
“During the summer I felt like I did what I could to show the Hornets and Coach (Monty) Williams what I can do,” Roberts said. “At that point, I just kind of left it up to them and prayed. It was a special time to get that call from Mr. (Dell) Demps and for him to welcome me as part of the Hornets organization. It was a great feeling.”
Only one Dayton Flyers player has appeared in a regular season NBA game since 1999 (Chris Wright, who played for Golden State in 2011-12), causing the Western Ohio community to celebrate the news that Roberts had signed with New Orleans.
“Once the news broke, there was a lot of love throughout the city,” a smiling Roberts remembered. “I was being texted by all the coaches and some former alumni there. It’s been a great experience for them. There are not too many Flyers who have made it to the NBA. To have me as one of them – and hopefully I can stay – it’s been great.”
Roberts’ unconventional route to the league added to the jubilation. “I wasn’t someone who was automatically going to be in the league (out of college),” Roberts said. “The journey I’ve had, I think people can appreciate that more.”