Roberson Still Bothered By Ankle, Hopes To Play In Summer League

By Randy Renner

Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson spent almost an hour of his Tuesday afternoon working with the youngsters at a Thunder Youth Basketball Camp.

"I love being with the kids, it's fun, it's a great way to give back, teaching them the game and it's great just to get out and do something other than being in the gym 24-7."

Roberson hasn't quite been at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center 24-7 since the end of the season, but it's been close. Normally this time of year he'd like to put up 500 to 700 shots a day.

"Right now though I'm limited because of an ongoing issue."

An ongoing issue with the ankle he sprained toward the end of last season. It's still not quite 100 percent healed.

"It's just lingered from the season, not fully recovered. There's been a lot of stress on it, so I have to take it easy at times but I'm still working out."

Roberson says his ankle issue would be the only thing that would prevent him from playing in the Orlando Summer League coming up at the beginning of next month.

Like everyone else on the roster Roberson was surprised by the firing of head coach Scott Brooks considering all the injury issues the team suffered through last season. So far he likes what he's seen and what he's heard from his new boss, Billy Donovan.

"He's a great guy, I think he's gonna be a great fit for us. The guy definitely knows the game and he's all about the program and I think that's what we need. I'm glad he's a part of this Thunder organization."

As far as any changes that might be coming to offensive or defensive sets and schemes, Roberson says he hasn't been told anything.

"Not yet. I know he's still trying to figure out a few other things but, I'm sure we'll get a taste of that here pretty soon as training camp gets closer."

As far as what Donovan wants to see from the third year shooting guard he's been a little more open.

"Just continue to do what I do best, keep doing what got me here and build around that and that's great."

Roberson has been a solid and at times spectacular defender but his shooting has continued to lag. Roberson is best when he cuts to the basket and can take a pass along the baseline. The team wants him to continue to try to improve his perimeter shooting so that defenders will have to guard him on the wing rather than straying away from him to double up on Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant.

Roberson realizes that's the weakest part of his game and he's been working hard to improve and thinks he has.

"My shooting, I'm definitely better there and just my overall confidence going out there and getting more familiar with the wing roles and where I'm gonna be on the court."

At this point Roberson has no idea if he will be back in the starting lineup when the new season starts or if he'll be coming off the bench and to his credit he says he can live with whatever decision is made.

"Whether I'm starting or not starting I'm gonna go out there and do what I do every night and provide for my team," he said. Roberson looks at this as a new opportunity for everyone, a clean slate for some guys who might need a fresh start. The way he sees it only three players know exactly what their roles will be, everything else is wide open.

"Nobody knows where they're set besides Russ, Kevin and Serge. It's a new coach, a new system but I think we're all up for the challenge, we're all in this together."

Randy RennerComment