2017-2018 Player Profile: Zach McRoberts

  • 10/27/2017 9:19 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ve transitioned from our look at other Big Ten programs to our player-by-player previews of the 2017-18 Indiana roster. Today, our profiles continue with a look at Zach McRoberts.

After sitting out the 2015-16 season from college basketball altogether, Zach McRoberts returned to the hardwood for the Hoosiers last winter.

“I would just watch the games on TV and listen to all of my friends talking about it,” McRoberts said in the summer of 2016. “And then just watching the (NCAA) tournament, that competitive spirit, you don’t get that anywhere else.”

The Carmel graduate, who originally signed with Vermont out of high school, joined the IU program as a walk-on last season. The 6-foot-6 forward produced modest statistics – 0.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 11.3 minutes per game – but those numbers don’t tell the full story of his impact.

On a team that struggled defensively, McRoberts was a bright spot. He would often come in off of the bench and provide a spark simply by being in the right place at the right time.

The former Indiana all-star played a bigger role than originally expected due to injuries to Collin Hartman and OG Anunoby. He ended up playing more minutes than four of IU’s scholarship players and also showed himself to be a capable passer. He finished the season with 29 assists and just eight turnovers.

As a junior, it’s unclear how McRoberts will figure into the rotation under IU’s new coaching staff. Archie Miller mentioned at media day that McRoberts, along with several others, had a “great” offseason.

His path to playing time this season appears to be a bit more daunting with the return of Hartman and the additions of Clifton Moore and Justin Smith, who will also be competing for frontcourt minutes.

McRoberts is a very capable defender, but is limited offensively and often passed up open shots last season, which allowed opposing defenses to key more on his teammates.

If he’s going to play regularly as a junior, he’ll need to become more comfortable in taking open looks when they arrive. Last season, he knocked down just four 3-pointers (on 12 attempts) and shot just 33.3 percent on 2s.

Bottom Line: Whether McRoberts again claims a rotation spot or is just used for spot minutes because of his defense, it’s fair to expect that he’ll have a positive impact on the IU program. He’s experienced, unselfish and understands the game.

Quotable: “Just sort of the same it was last year, just come in and try to make a difference any way possible. Not really a totally clear role, not really a goal, not really anything specific. Just come in and make a difference is my plan.” – McRoberts on his role this season at last month’s media day

PreviouslyJustin SmithClifton MooreAl Durham Jr., De’Ron Davis, Curtis JonesDevonte Green, Juwan Morgan

Filed to:

  • Lance76

    McRoberts does make a difference. He has such a great attitude too. No entitlement there.

  • AndyCapp

    There are those in this forum (you know who you are) that have suggested if Zach sees ANY minutes this season then, and I’m paraphrasing, we must suck. Such disrespect for a kid who gives us his all, and as a walk on! He BLEEDS cream and crimson, stop the hating!

  • We’reAllForYou82

    I like him too and root for him but it is time for him to take and make some shots. That 0.8 points needs to be more like 6.0 ppg

  • bball at nick’s

    If Zach gets the open shot he should take it, especially that our man DD & Co. will be there for the rebound if needed. This will teach opposing defenses to respect Zach.

  • iugradmark

    He looks like a really great kid but I will be surprised if he plays much this season. I think both freshmen will get minutes before him and Freddy looks like he is ready to do more as well. I am glad he is on the team and believe he is a great asset overall but don’t believe we will see him on the court much this season.

  • Oldguyy

    Those people show that they know nothing about basketball. But at the same time, McRoberts needs to be able (and willing) to to take and hit shots when he’s open for him to have a significant role this year, and hopefully he’s used the offseason to grow that part of the game.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Wonderful young man. I think he will average 6 minutes per game.

  • Dasstoni

    Sure hope not… that would indicate many injuries to the 12 players better than him on this roster. Archie tends to have 8-9 man rotations so Mcbobby will not be seeing consistent action in any competitive games.

  • Ivan Renko

    I think Archie may run a bigger rotation at IU than he did at Dayton. he now has access to a much larger talent pool.

  • pcantidote

    I hear you and I am not one of them, but there is a difference between making an assessment of the level of the talent we put on the floor, and making it about ZM as a person. In other words, just because you think his seeing the floor makes a statement about the level of our talent (it does) does not mean that you don’t appreciate his effort. Of course there are some here who are trolling and others who aren’t bright enough to appreciate the distinction that I am making and then make that clear in their assessment.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Not sure about that. His minutes this year will be more meaningful than last year. He is an important part of this team.

  • Dasstoni

    He will be an important part of practices and the scout team yes. Barring significant injuries to our forwards i would not expect him to crack the rotation over other backup forwards such as Freddie McFly, Justin Smith, Clifton Moore and probably not even Tim “the scholarship killer” priller.

  • Ivan Renko

    I agree with you. I bet he provides a stiff defensive challenge to the other players in practice!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    The list you gave didn’t show or play the defense Zach provided last season.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Cream and Crimson!!! You out there?

  • pcantidote

    Well his brother played in the NBA, so there’s that.

  • bball at nick’s

    He is a forward, and we’ll be playing three forwards since we don’t have a true center. This means that our 8 forwards will split a total of 120 minutes. If three of our forwards take up 75-80 of those minutes, there are 40-45 minutes to be split among 5 others: the two freshmen, Freddie, Tim, and Zach. Zach could easily see 5-6 minutes a game, and that’s without any injuries to the forwards.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nick’s!!! Thank you!!!

  • Dasstoni

    LOL at assuming that every minute of every game will have three forwards on the court. That is one very faulty assumption. I am sure archie would much rather have a lineup of newkirk, rob johnson, Green/Jones for 6 minutes than let mcbobby on the floor.

  • AndyCapp

    Totally with you, playing time is earned not given. And if Coach deems his effort worthy and puts Zach in a game I hope some of these armchair quarterbacks don’t automatically assume it’s because we are desperate.

  • Dasstoni

    Also Mcswain is just as and probably more of a capable defender than mcbobby and could easily just absorb his minutes.

  • bball at nick’s

    15 to Freddie, 8 a piece to the freshmen, and you still have 9-14 mins to distribute between Tim and Zach. You can even send some minutes to a third guard. I see now that you want JN in the lineup, now that it suits your argument, lol.

  • HoosierOne

    I hope not…….guys were rotating in and out like a hockey game last year. This isn’t youth soccer where we get orange slices and every plays the same amount….there’s big money and jobs on the line so play your best players and if you get up big or want to work a guy into the rotation for succession planning or injury preparedness that’s great.

  • Dasstoni

    Much to my displeasure there is no denying that newkirk will be getting starting minutes at least to start the season.

  • pcantidote

    It’s really hard for me to imagine what satisfaction you get out of things like “mcbobby” and “DGLB”. That is unless of course you are a 12 year old, or at least you maxed out at the mental capacity of a 12 year old.

  • AndyCapp

    McBobby, really!?! You have been on the forum for only a couple of days and you have a way of making everything sound so trite. Even if you HAD a good point it would be hard to ignore the crappy way you present everything. Whatsthematter, were you last picked on EVERY kickball team?

  • bball at nick’s

    Then you should be arguing for Zach over NJ, but you won’t because it doesn’t suit your argument of the day.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Ease up. There will be plenty of games where IU is up (or down) so much that the rotation will expand. McRoberts will deserve chances to be on the floor due to his hard work and attitude. Will he play a ton in B1G conference games? Probably not, but I bet he sees the floor in spot minutes and makes the most of them.

  • Dasstoni

    Get a grip AndyCapp, this is a forum for indiana basketball not your petty gripes.

  • Molon Labe

    Walk Ons don’t average 6.0 ppg. He really doesn’t need to score much at all to contribute. He just needs to come in when called on and play good defense and not turn the ball over. He does need to shoot a little more when he is left open, but that probably won’t get him anywhere near 6.0 ppg.

  • IdahoHoosier

    The irony is thick with this one… petty gripes? Like calling players you don’t know petty nicknames to belittle them? Petty like that?

  • AndyCapp

    Agreed, posted similar comment at about same time… “McBobby”, “Danny Green’s Little Brother”. Even if his rants HAD a valid point one should probably just ignore him because the rest of his posts are dribble.

  • AndyCapp

    I hope you were responding to Dasstoni Alex and not Idaho

  • I was.

  • Dasstoni

    These aren’t the games were referring too when talking of his minutes. We have enough talent on this team that walk-ons should never be touching the floor.

  • VOXAC30

    In my view part of the reason he may not see as much time as last year is his tendency to pass on taking the shot. We lost the majority of our scorers last year and Arch is going to need someone that is not afraid to take the shot when needed as well as defend. His passing ability may make up for that but and I hope he gets minutes but I don’t think he will. Time will tell he sure has proven himself but not to Coach Arch so if he does get minutes it may wouldn’t surprise me.

    On a side note 247 Sports has IU in the lead at 43% on landing Darius Garland. I know it is only eye candy but still fun to look at.

  • Please stop with the ridiculous nicknames or you will be banned. Thanks.

  • Arch Puddington

    I’m with you. Depth is totally overrated. Obviously you need a few capable backups to be competitive, but no one — not Duke, not IPFW, not the Golden State Warriors — wins because of their 10th-13th players. Yes, there will be a moment or two when some unheralded player has a shining moment, but basketball in particular is about the top handful of players on a team, not the end of the bench. And I don’t mean that as any kind of insult. The guys at the end of the bench are often high-character, hard-working players who put in all the same time as the stars, but without the acclaim. And some of them grow over time into much more productive players. But like all teams, this year’s Hoosiers will stand or fall with DD, RJ, DG, JN, and another player or two who will (hopefully) emerge as strong contributors. Thirteen role players is no answer to B1G basketball.

  • bball at nick’s

    At least four of our players that you have demeaned so far, and still counting.

  • Dasstoni

    Lol more like Alex “Bozbitch” am i right?!

  • Arch Puddington

    Sigh. I did my best to give him an entree into the discussion without all the name calling and other stupidity, but as you pointed out, he is what he is. Fortunately Alex is on the case, and Dasstoni won’t likely be around for long.

  • Ivan Renko

    i never suggested there would be 13 players playing the exact amount of minutes… and I’m no “participation trophy” subscriber.

    but I can see Archie upping the rotation to around 9-10 players, not unreasonable at all. there are a lot of questions and what-ifs with this team. leaders will emerge and so will role-players.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Ban him please – no room for that on the hall

  • Molon Labe

    Well, I am pretty sure you are gone now. Great move genius.

  • Ivan Renko

    don’t forget Juwan Morgan!

  • pcantidote

    Be on the lookout for the mysterious emergence of “Brad”.

  • John D Murphy

    Priceless

  • IdahoHoosier

    One thing I do think is important, and at times highly effective, is for a coach to be willing to put those 10-13th on the depth chart guys into a game when one of the main cogs is not performing or not putting forth effort. The coach needs to have confidence that his end of the line boys can and will get in there and bust their butts, and that a message will be sent to the guys in front of them. They may not win the game for the team, but they are important in practice and even in games in specific situations.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I just assumed Dasstoni was your alter-ego. Kidding of course.

  • pcantidote

    Don’t you think you could have reached a little lower than IPFW as your low end? That game last year still smarts.

    I’d counter that depth is overrated until it isn’t. We sure could have used more depth last year after OG and CH went down.