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Syracuse Basketball: The Quiet Rise of Tyler Roberson

Since ACC play began, Tyler Roberson has put 8.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while turning into a solid complementary player, and a sudden bright spot for a team with nothing to play for other than pride.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Roberson was really bad against Boston College on February 11. Let's get that out of the way first. He played just 11 minutes, earning a spot in the Fab Melo Memorial Boeheim Doghouse and finished with an 0-2 from the field and just a single measly point. He was bad.

BC wasn't Roberson's only bad game this year either. He's been wildly inconsistent and disappeared for long stretches of time.

But if you look at his whole body of work - especially in ACC play, where he probably should have fallen off against stiffer competition - he's actually turning into a pretty solid player all of a sudden.

You'll probably remember the 19 point, 10 rebound performance against Duke. He was efficient from the floor (8-for-14), crashed the glass for second chance points and played a huge role inside as the Blue Devils shut down Rakeem Christmas. As bad as he was against BC, that's how good he was against Duke.

And it's not all just one big game for Roberson. In ACC play, he's finished with double-figure points six times, and double-figure rebounds six times. While his season averages are still not mind-blowing (7.8 points, 7.3 rebounds), his conference numbers are showing a significant development (8.2 points, 8.8 rebounds).

Just to put those numbers in a bit of context, here's how they compare to Jerami Grant last season, also a sophomore but well on his way to the NBA. Grant averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, increasing the rebounding to 7.4 per game in the ACC while seeing his scoring drop to 11.3 points per game (need to note the back injury and limited playing time brought those numbers down at the very end of the season). No one would confuse Roberson for Grant offensively, but he's not miles away statistically, and the rebounding numbers are telling.

Again, context: Grant led the team last year with 6.8 rebounds per game. CJ Fair led the 2012-13 team with 7.0 rebounds per game. In fact, the last SU player to average more than Roberson's 7.3 rebounds per game was Rick Jackson in 2010-11 (10.3). The last time two Syracuse players averaged at least 7.3 rebounds per game - like Roberson and Rakeem Christmas (9.1) are currently accomplishing? 2008-09 when Paul Harris (8.1) and Arinze Onuaku (7.3) paced the team.

Roberson still has plenty of flaws. He's still mostly inefficient from the field, finishing with a sub 40% field goal percentage in 11 games. But he also knows his role in the offense, and hasn't done too much to hurt the team, turning the ball over just 25 times in 23 games (10 fewer than Chris McCullough in almost 200 more minutes).

He has a long way to go to become a star, and he may never get there, to be honest. But at the minimum, Roberson should continue to turn into a nice complementary post player who crashes the boards. And there isn't a team in the country that wouldn't want that.