Isaiah Roby is NBA-bound. He was selected with the 45th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night by the Detroit Pistons, but the Dallas Mavericks acquired the pick via trade with the Pistons. The junior forward is the first draft pick to come out of Nebraska since Venson Hamilton was selected 50th overall in the 1999 draft.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) June 21, 2019
The 6-foot-8, 214-pound forward from Dixon, Illinois, worked out for a third of the league prior to the draft and met with a handful of others during the NBA Combine. Roby took his decision right down to deadline day on May 29 before announcing that he would be keeping his name in the draft.
“I talked to Isaiah right after he had made his final decision and I’d been talking to him quite a bit leading up to this,” Fred Hoiberg said during the Big Red Blitz stop in Fremont. “I know his agent Mark Bartelstein very well. It came all the way to the end as far as what his decision was going to be, but as I told Isaiah, I’m here to support you in any way that I possibly can to try to help you with, whatever decision that is. He’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s everything you look for at that level — he’s got size, athleticism and a very good skill set. It’s a great opportunity for him and his family and he should be proud of the position he put himself in.”
As a junior, Roby started all 35 games for the Huskers, averaging 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals in 31.2 minutes per game while shooting 45.4% from the field, 33.3% from 3 and 67.7% from the free-throw line. He recorded three double-doubles and scored a career-high 28 points in Nebraska’s win over Butler in the first round of the NIT.
Roby broke out as a sophomore, starting 13 of the final 14 games and playing primarily as a small-ball center. He averaged 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 blocks while shooting 56.5% from the field, 40.5% from 3 and 72.4% from the foul line. He notched four double-doubles and scored in double figures in his last eight games.
Roby’s career got off to a slow start as a stress reaction in his pelvis kept him sidelined for most of the offseason. He struggled to make the leap to the college game, averaging 3.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 15.2 minutes per game while shooting 39.4% from the field, 20% from 3 and 76.2% from the free-throw line. He started four games and cracked double digits just once with a season-high of 10 points.
Roby was rated as a 3-star prospect and ranked 133rd overall in the 2016 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite. He chose the Huskers over offers from Creighton, Georgia and a handful of mid-majors.
Hoiberg said Roby’s blend of size, athleticism and skill should make him a great fit for the NBA game.
“The one thing that’s very attractive I think for Isaiah with the size and athleticism is his ability to handle the ball, he can push the ball on the floor after a rebound and initiate offense,” Hoiberg said. “There just aren’t a lot of guys like that that are 6-8 that have that type of athleticism. I think he’s got a really good shooting stroke and he’s a very versatile player. I think he fills a lot of boxes for the NBA.”
Under NBA rules, contracts are only guaranteed for first-round picks. However, in recent years, many second-round picks have negotiated guaranteed contracts as well with the teams that select them.
Worked my whole life for this moment, I’m a Maverick! 🙏😈🙌 pic.twitter.com/u3xlRFduaE
— Isaiah Roby (@roby_isaiah) June 21, 2019
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.