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Oklahoma City Thunder: How Andre Roberson's gamble on himself paid off

Former Colorado player Andre Roberson heard plenty of people say his decision to turn pro was a mistake. But he won that gamble, going 26th overall to the Thunder.
by Anthony Slater Published: June 29, 2013

The consensus around Boulder, Colo., was unmistakable: Andre Roberson's decision to go pro was a mistake.

That's what he's consistently heard the past two months, ever since announcing his intention to skip his senior season at Colorado for a shot in the NBA.

Media members were surprised. Draft gurus labeled him a late second-rounder. Even his coach and mentor, Tad Boyle, showed disappointment.

"Listen, I support Andre and I respect his decision," Boyle told the Denver Post at the time. "But I don't agree with his decision."

Roberson gambled on himself, believing his relentless energy yet calm personality would impress teams during the pre-draft process.

And he won, going 26th overall to the Thunder on Thursday night, securing guaranteed money and forcing those who initially questioned him to eat crow.

Boyle even sent his former player a draft night text, saying: “What the heck do I know? Congratulations.”

So what was it about the 6-foot-7 forward with a slender frame and limited offensive game that had the Thunder enamored enough to move up three picks?

Simply put: Defense and rebounding.

Roberson is an animal on the glass, averaging the second-most rebounds (11.2 per game) in the nation last season, consistently out-hustling and outsmarting taller opponents.

As a sophomore, Roberson had eight games with 15 or more rebounds. As a junior, he put up double-digits in 21 of CU's 33 games, including a pair of 20-rebound performances.

“I think my athletic ability is key and my knack for the ball, willingness to pursue it,” Roberson said of his rebounding proficiency. “And I'm resilient, resilient going after it.”

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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