Roberson struggles in 1st career start, draws criticism from Boeheim
Sterling Boin | Staff Photographer
Jim Boeheim has said it all along — Tyler Roberson isn’t ready to play big minutes for Syracuse.
The freshman was forced into 23 minutes of action on Tuesday with Jerami Grant injured and managed just two points, three rebounds and one block.
“He’s not ready to play,” Boeheim said after the Orange’s 67-62 loss to Georgia Tech (14-16, 5-12 Atlantic Coast). “The reason he didn’t play is because he’s not ready. He doesn’t know the defense, he doesn’t know the offense.”
The forward made his first start for No. 7 SU (26-4, 13-4) after playing only 50 total minutes during the first 16 Atlantic Coast Conference games.
Roberson came to Syracuse as the No. 55 recruit in the country, but has been stuck behind Grant, C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas and, to an extent, Michael Gbinije in the rotation of forwards.
With Grant injured, fans have recently started clamoring to see expanded minutes for Roberson and some have argued that he should’ve gotten more minutes all season. Boeheim dispelled that notion with blunt criticism of Roberson after the game.
“He cannot help us right now. That’s why he didn’t play,” Boeheim said. “If anybody can help us, they’re going to play. He just cannot help us. He hurts us on defense and he’s not ready to help us out offensively.
“Mike’s a better option. He better knows what we’re doing.”
Until Grant returns, though, the Orange is out of options. Even if Roberson doesn’t start again, he’ll have to get some minutes since Gbinije is also the team’s backup guard.
And Baye Moussa Keita, one of SU’s other starting options, was just as inept as Roberson on Tuesday, scoring just one point, grabbing three rebounds and committing four fouls in 16 minutes of action.
The biggest issue, though, is that their expanded roles coincided with one of Syracuse’s worst defensive outings of the season.
“Gbinije and Roberson, they’re not as experienced and comfortable as Jerami,” Fair said. “He knows that position in-and-out and they’re just new to it. It’s hard for Gbinije and Tyler to play at the level Jerami did.”
Published on March 5, 2014 at 12:43 am