Isaiah Roby’s time at Nebraska has officially come to an end.
The 6-foot-8 forward confirmed to Hail Varsity on Wednesday afternoon that he will remain in the 2019 NBA Draft, forgoing his final season of college eligibility. The NCAA deadline for underclassmen who declared for the draft to withdraw their names and return to college is 10:59 p.m. on Wednesday.
— Isaiah Roby (@roby_isaiah) May 29, 2019
As a junior, Roby averaged 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals in 31.2 minutes per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from 3 and 67.7 percent from the free-throw line.
After a freshman season that saw him contribute just 3.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game, Roby had somewhat of a breakout season as a sophomore, especially after he slid into the starting lineup as a small-ball center. He averaged 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.7 assists in 24.0 minutes per game, shooting 56.5 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from 3 and 72.4 percent from the foul line. As a starter, his numbers jumped to 10.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 29.6 minutes per game.
Roby declared for the draft in late March, and new Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg has offered him guidance throughout the process and led him through NBA-style workouts prior to the pre-draft process beginning.
“I think that if I get out in front of these teams and perform the way I know I can, I think I can get drafted this year,” Roby said back in early April after he initially submitted his name. “If I know I’m going to get drafted, that’s something that he’s even encouraged me — he said, when we talked on the phone, ‘If you get an opportunity, I’m not going to hold you back. I want what’s best for you.’ That would definitely make it hard [to come back.]”
Roby received an invitation to the NBA Combine and performed well, for the most part. He’s interviewed with or worked out for at least 11 teams and also attended his agency’s pro day in front of several more teams.
Roby told Hail Varsity after the combine that the feedback he’s received from teams throughout the process has been positive.
“The general theme was that I belong in the league,” Roby said. “Most teams, especially teams that saw me a lot this year — like Golden State came to a lot of my games — they want me to be more consistent, they want me to have good games all the time and not have a 25-point game then a two-point game. That was their main thing. They kind of asked me why that is, what is different between when I had those good games and when I had those bad games. If I knew I would have all good games; I’m trying to figure that out as well. I’m just trying to get that mindset of coming in every day and being aggressive. The feedback was, overall, pretty good. Teams were excited about me and every team I went to they said, ‘You definitely have NBA talent; you’re an NBA talent without a doubt; it’s all about putting it together for you.”
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported after that combine that Roby hoped to receive an assurance he’d be taken in the first 40 picks in order to stay in the draft. He is projected as a second-rounder in most places. Givony has him at 37, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has him at 46 and Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has him sneaking into the first round at 30.
While Roby was going through the pre-draft process, Hoiberg was out recruiting and added 11 new players to the roster, filling all 13 of Nebraska’s scholarships, perhaps a sign that Hoiberg never expected Roby to return.
The NBA Draft is set for June 20. If Roby does get selected, he’ll be the first Husker taken since Venson Hamilton in 1999.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.