It’s that time of year in college basketball where your outstanding players really step up. Ronald Roberts has consistently been one of Saint Joseph’s top players this season.
Roberts played some big time basketball for the Hawks in a huge Big 5 and Atlantic 10 Conference 70-69 win over Temple on Saturday at Hagan Arena. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound junior, led Saint Joseph’s with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
The Hawks (13-7 overall, 4-3 A-10) will need to continue to get that kind of effort from Roberts in a very important week of basketball. Saint Joseph’s will visit Dayton on Wednesday, Feb. 6 (The Comcast Network) at 7 p.m. and Massachusetts on Saturday, Feb. 9 (ESPN2) at 2 p.m.
“The rivalry is big,” Roberts said of the history between the Hawks and Owls. “The fans really came out. They showed a lot of support. We’re just trying to build momentum for the next game. We have a tough week coming up. We just have to make sure we used this to try to get those wins away.”
Roberts has given the Hawks a major presence in the lane. Whenever Saint Joseph’s needs a basket, they can go down low to him. He doesn’t do anything fancy. Roberts just catches the ball, backs his way down and goes up strong.
“I take pride playing inside,” Roberts said. “I actually like playing inside even though I’m undersized, some may say. I just like getting rebounds, especially offensive rebounds and just like out hustling my opponent and just going hard.”
Roberts has put on quite a show with his spectacular dunks. However, he enjoys hitting the boards.
“I love getting rebounds,” he said. “It’s just something about getting rebounds. I just go out there and give my teammates extra possessions. I try to go out there and block my man out and go up and get it.”
Roberts was a third team All-State selection from Saint Peter’s Prep in Bayonne, N.J. He comes from a basketball family. His father, Ronald, Sr., played basketball at the University of Oklahoma from 1985 to 1987 while his mother Dania was a member of the Dominican Republic’s national team.
“They’ve both been a big influence on me,” Roberts said. “They come to every game. They both played overseas. I work with dad during the summer. My mom always tells me to get those rebounds.”
Roberts has put together a real solid year. He’s averaging 11.4 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. He leads the Hawks in rebounding. Roberts is one of the best players in the Big 5 as well as the A-10.
He has some good players around him like guards Carl Jones, Langston Galloway and Chris Wilson and forward C.J. Aiken. Roberts feels everybody does something that helps the team win. Speaking of winning, he knows what the Hawks have to do down the stretch heading into the conference tournament in March.
“We just have to play with a lot of energy,” he said. “It’s crazy. You see the scores of some of the other games. You can’t take any days off, not in practice, not in the games, not any place. It means a lot. A small play can mean so much.”