St. Joe's Robert showing Sixers he has game

Posted: July 08, 2014

ORLANDO - It is officially called the Orlando Pro Summer League, being held this week at the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic. Unofficially, it's the "Show Off Summer League," as borderline NBA players try to showcase their individual talents in hopes of landing that coveted NBA contract.

For the 76ers, that means Travis Bader, the all-time leading three-pointer maker and attempter in NCAA history, will try to make every open shot that comes to him this week. Slow afoot and not very gifted athletically, the 6-5 Oakland University product probably doesn't have much of a chance to land in the league, but he'll fire shots at every opportunity to prove he does.

It also means 5-10 point guard Casper Ware will be inside the uniform, and head, of whoever he is matched up against defensively. He'll have his engine revving, the ball in his hands often and his trash-talking at its best. Second-rounder K.J. McDaniels will impress with his shut-down defense and others will try to emphasis their specific skill set in hopes of making a scout's list.

For Saint Joseph's product Ronald Roberts, it isn't that easy. The 6-8, 225-pounder doesn't really possess a specific talent on the court that is going to make him stick out. He's not a great shooter, doesn't handle the ball all that well and is not going to impress on the defensive end. He won't take over games here, but rather let the play come to him. Although he was the second-leading scorer last season for Phil Martelli, he rarely was the focal point of the offense. That fell to the likes of Langston Galloway, DeAndre Bembry and Halil Kanacevic. Roberts was the mop-up guy.

In his first summer league game on Saturday, a loss to Orlando, Roberts collected 12 points and nine rebounds in just over 20 minutes. In yesterday's 84-73 win against Oklahoma City he impressed again, grabbing five of his six rebounds off the offensive end while scoring 12 points and providing the enormous amount of energy the coaches want from him.

"For me, I just start off by saying, 'I'm going to get every rebound,' " Roberts said. "After that, I just let everything else fall into place, when I get a putback or an offensive rebound or just get a dunk to get myself started. That's just how I approach the game."

He has been the eye-opener - excluding Nerlens Noel - on a roster of a couple of draft picks and many unknowns.

"Ronald is everything we thought, a lot of energy, a lot of effort," said Sixers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, this week's head coach. "He had a monster offensive rebound dunk [Saturday] and he's done it all week. We've seen that from him all week so it's great for him to come out and do it here. That's his role. He's done it at St. Joe's and he's done it all week with us - run the floor, crash the boards, be aggressive on the pick-and-roll on the defensive end, make your hits and rebound. That's who he is and that's what he showed."

The intangibles are there and he'll endear himself to coaches no matter where he is. "He'll absorb everything a coach tells him," said Hawks coach Phil Martelli. "He is just a great, great kid who is willing to, and wants to, learn the game."

If he keeps up this type of play, he could be learning with the Sixers come training camp.

"Every game and every practice and even shootaround I'm getting more comfortable with the plays, more comfortable with the guys and the coaching staff and I'm playing more and more," said Roberts. "I feel good out there. I think I fit well, the coaches believe in me and I get to do a lot of things on the court. It's all about being comfortable when you're on the court."

The team is getting pretty comfortable with him being there, too.

Game stuff

The Sixers were without Nerlens Noel (rest) and Hollis Thompson (left knee soreness), but still were able to pick up their first win, 84-73 over the Thunder yesterday.

Guard Casper Ware led the balanced scoring with 20 points, while K.J. McDaniels and Travis Bader each had 13 each and Ronald Roberts added 12 and six rebounds.

"I thought that was the definition of summer league," said Sixers coach Lloyd Pierce of the game that featured 71 fouls and 41 turnovers. "It's just a part of the game. We had a big lead and we had to keep our composure and not let leads slip away and we did a good job of doing that."

Noel update

Following his 19-point debut on Saturday, the Sixers decided to give Nerlens Noel the day off yesterday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. There wasn't any soreness or anything in his surgically repaired knee, just the team being cautious with their prized big man.

The Sixers don't play today. They will take on Houston tomorrow night. Noel is also expected to also see some action in the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins for the Sixers on Saturday.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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