That’s A Wrap: Zach McRoberts

  • 03/29/2018 8:32 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2017-2018 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Zach McRoberts.

McRoberts: (28 games): 2.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 53 eFG%, 39% 3FG, 69% FT in 21.9 minutes per game.

Walk-on redshirt junior Zach McRoberts barely played throughout the beginning of Archie Miller’s first season in Bloomington. In fact, over the course of the opening five games, McRoberts logged a total of two minutes.

The next game, Miller played McRoberts for eight minutes against Eastern Michigan. McRoberts scored four points, but more than that provided energy and an impressive defensive presence. Miller complemented McRoberts’ play after the game, and McRoberts became a permanent fixture of Indiana’s rotation.

In the overtime win over Notre Dame, McRoberts brought down seven offensive rebounds. The last one was the most impressive – with McRoberts leaping over Bonzie Colson to grab a Juwan Morgan free throw miss and then finding an open Morgan for a game-winning layup.

A large part of what McRoberts provides doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. Taking charges, hustling on both ends of the floor and playing excellent defense.

On offense, McRoberts didn’t try and do too much. The most shots he attempted in a game was seven, which he did twice. He would often pass out of open shots, especially from behind the arc. Incredibly, despite being hesitant, McRoberts led the team in three-point percentage, hitting on almost 40 percent of his 33 attempts.

The defensive side of the ball is where McRoberts earned the chance to start the season’s final 17 games. His steal percentage (4.0) in conference play led the entire Big Ten and his man defense ranked in the 89th percentile nationally, according to Synergy.

McRobert’s defense was so stout that Miller believed he was worthy of first-team All-Big Ten Defensive Team honors, but he missed out. That may not be the case next season if McRoberts continues to earn significant minutes.

Bottom line: With hustle and heart, McRoberts cemented his place in the lineup last year despite offensive flaws. But there is no shortage of talented wings coming in next season, so he may have to work even harder to get substantial playing time as a senior. Regardless, he’s gained Miller’s trust and that will be beneficial in his final collegiate campaign.

Quotable: “Winner. Tremendous effort all game long. Playing really, really hard. He’s an important piece to what we’re doing right now. Like I said, you don’t have to score a lot of points to be a terrific teammate, to impact the game. He plays really hard. He’s giving us a bigger defender on the floor at times against bigger teams, and I think just happy with him staying with it,” – Miller after McRoberts grabbed seven offensive boards in a win over Notre Dame.

PreviouslyJustin SmithAl Durham Jr.Clifton Moore, Devonte Green, De’Ron Davis

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  • inCMitrust

    Love his hustle and game. I believe for him to keep getting about 20 minutes a game he will have to become a little more of an offensive threat.

  • Hoosiernation1887

    Zach’s play was quite possibly the most pleasant surprise from this season. Even when he walked on last year, he probably never envisioned himself becoming an eventual starter and among the better defenders in the Big Ten. But then again maybe he did always have that confidence in himself, if he does maybe some of that confidence will translate into taking a couple more spot-up 3s next year when he gets the chance.

  • Ms hoosier

    If I was Zach I would stay in the gym all summer doing nothing but shooting three’s. He needs to shoot a minimum of 500 three’s a day

  • plane1972

    I was not surprised by his play, and frankly I’m surprised it took Coach Miller five games to reward it with playing time. Zach showed this hustle and nose for the ball last season. I say give him a scholly for next season. He’s going to be a big contributor.

  • Steve Morgan

    I don’t know. I think I would parlay his success as a walk-on into a rockin’ internship. From there, sure, get up as many 3 pointers as he has time for once he takes care of looking out for his future. His hard work and dedication to doing what needs to be done for the greater good will serve him incredibly well with whatever he chooses to do after IU.

  • sd chuck

    This kid earns every minute he gets on the floor! He will be hard to knock out of the starting lineup. His defense, rebounding, back taps and taking care of the ball! Rare kid doesn’t care if he scores! Imo, everyone would like him to be on the floor, with them, very unselfish, and has a high basketball IQ!

  • Mark Bando

    I was thinking the same. Become a three point threat. Maybe he can already shoot them but just didnt for some reason. It was a small sample size but he shot 40% last year.

  • TomJameson

    I keep heating that about De’Ron, but I don’t think his situation is uncertain, at least not his health. His doctors told him that his recovery would take 6 to 9 months. That’s July to October. I think physically, there is no worry. Plus, he’ll be able to progressively do more things like shooting, working his upper body, and a few others before he is released.

    Where his concerns might lay, are the same for the entire team, and that’s how they have to compete for minutes and starts. There’s a lot of talented wings coming in, plus I think a lot of competition from Race and Justin. THAT’S what should be concerning to DD.

    And I think he knows it, because his stated goal is to become more mobile, and work on his defense, and work on his body. That young man is very motivated, and I certainly won’t bet against him, nor write him off so quickly.

  • dwdkc

    While we don’t have established bigs after De’Ron, who is indeed coming off injury, we will also have Jake F and Race inside, Juwan who plays his best against bigs, and Moore might be able to contribute as well at 6’10”. Where we really need help the most is a good ball-handling guard that can defend quick players. We only have 3 true guards on the roster; none of them proven starter material, and even 4 with Romeo is a bit thin.

  • Hoosiernation1887

    If I had to guess, people are making the assumption that he doesn’t “need” it due to the fact that he is from the wealthiest community in Indiana and his brother is an NBA player who has had a multi-million dollar career. From my perspective it doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, if you can save $25K you’d really like to. That said, I agree with your point, ZMR joined as a walk-on knowing what it meant, priority should be given to getting additional roster help via a grad transfer or somewhere else. If we don’t land one, I’d be happy to see McRoberts get it awarded to him, he’s unquestionably earned it with his play. There would be no reason to be undersigned by a spot when the kid’s played so well.

  • iugradmark

    Tom I hope you are right but would suggest you Google a few articles on NBA players that had this injury. My read is that this is a very difficult injury to come back from. Since this is on the public side I will leave it there but suggest if you are interested boning up on what is in front of DD.

  • John D Murphy

    500 is low. Ray Allen apparently shot 500 a day before warm ups every gameday. I heard an interview with one of the UND women’s players about 5 years ago. She had dramatically improved her shooting and said she shot a minimum of 2500 each day over the summer.

  • John D Murphy

    Completely agree. I think he starts the first half of the year at least. I would be shocked if he isn’t in the top 4 in minutes played for next year.

  • IllinoisHoosier

    If he could solidify his three point shooting he could end up having a great senior season. And he leads by example with his hustle and defense. That should help motivate the young players.

  • Darrell Allen

    My take on Zach was that he is such a consummate teammate, that his first unselfish instinct was to play extremely hard, defend to the max, but defer outside shooting to the “shooters”. He excelled at back cuts and offensive rebounding. He’s the type of player everyone likes as a teammate!

  • TomJameson

    I’m going by what De’Ron himself has shared concerning what his doctors told him. He goes over it in his “that’s a wrap” article. Basically doctors said in early February that a preliminary timetable for a return to full strength that he was given at the time of injury (early January) was six to nine months.

    While searching the internet is good for some things, one has to realize that not all injuries are equal. There are tears and partial-tear, plus medical technology, techniques, and rehab are constantly improving … especially in the sports area. The point is that EVERY injury is different, and shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into an arbitrary time frame.

    I’ll stand by what his own doctors have said. I’d encourage you, and others, to re-read DD’s story. I see no reason for any subterfuge from his doctors, so I’ll choose to believe them at this point.

  • TomJameson

    I’m not assuming anything. I just think he’ll be able to compete for his job. dwdkc lists the bigs we have to work with, so I’m not really worried in that area. They are not ALL going to suck. lol
    My main concern is at the guard position as well. I think the returners will improve, I expect Rob to win out the starting PG spot, but after that, it really is a crap-shoot.

    The problem with all these guessing games, is that we just don’t know what our roster will look like next year. Not really.

  • dwdkc

    I don’t worry about bigs as much as I used to. Much worse not to have good guards in college. Small ball seems to work pretty well most of the time. But the team next year already looks to have pretty good size–even if you assume De’Ron isn’t all the way back, still a lot of 6’6″ to 6’8″ guys you can play at the same time .

  • marcusgresham

    If you think about Zach McRoberts it’s an interesting dichotomy. Here you have this guy from the richest zip code in the state with an NBA brother. That sounds like entitlement personified but he’s utterly selfless on the court.

  • marcusgresham

    I feel like Archie is absolutely unconcerned about the politics of anything. lol

  • marcusgresham

    Recovery with an Achilles tear may be 6-9 months but I feel like getting fully back to where you were takes a lot longer. Factor in that he’s had issues with quickness, mobility, and conditioning, and I do see cause for concern.

  • TomJameson

    I guess I just agree more with his doctors, rather than everybody else’s opinions, even those who have recently stayed in a Holiday express. lol

    Marcus, I respect your opinion and knowledge, but I don’t think his “issues” were as great as folks remember. I think it’s a case of the fish keeps getting bigger with every retelling of the story.

    I’ll be willing to eat crow if I’m proven wrong, but I wonder if anybody else will if I’m proven correct.

  • JimmyChittwood

    sounds like profiling to me.

  • marcusgresham

    Oh, I hope like hell you’re right but everything I’ve ever heard about coming back from a torn Achilles sounds long and difficult.