You don’t have to be a basketball expert to see why several Big Ten schools were interested in this Dixon Duke. Roby’s size and basketball skills are a rare combination.
At 6-8 he has the size to play inside, but his ball-handling skills and his court vision are like those of a guard. He truly could play any position on the court at the high school level.
“He could be our point guard at our level for sure. Probably at the next level he’s not going to be a point guard, but at our level he definitely could be,” says Dixon coach Jason Mead.
Roby often will grab the rebound on the defensive end then bring the ball up the court on the break like a guard, and then dish it off for an assist. He says he developed those guard skills when he was young.
“In fifth grade I was playing with the eighth grade travel team, so I was shorter so I had to play guard,” says Roby. “I think that’s just carried with me. I like finding the open man. That’s probably one of the bigger parts of my game.”
Roby’s passing ability is second to none, at least in Northern Illinois.
“He’s the best passer I’ve ever coached,” says Mead. “He’s got great court vision. He sees the floor really well. He also has an awareness of where people are and where they should be.”
Roby has signed to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers next season. He had offers from other Big Ten schools Iowa and Northwestern, plus schools from other power conferences like Stanford and Georgia. But Nebraska coach Tim Miles won him over.
“Nebraska has something new,” says Roby. “They had a new coach. Coach Miles when he started recruiting me he had just won coach of the year in the Big Ten and they had the best home record in the Big Ten and a brand new arena just built that year. A brand new practice facility, and they had made the tournament that year. It’s a really cool place to be right now.”
“The big thing about coach Miles at Nebraska he said he wants me to play point-forward for him.”
Nebraska can wait. For now Roby wants to lead Dixon to a second straight Big Northern West Conference championship. He’s had some monster games already this season. He scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against Genoa-Kingston. He had 34 points in a win over Rock Falls. Against Burlington Central he had an incredible 23 rebounds and 15 blocked shots. But he’s not about personal stats.
“He dedicates himself to being a team-first player which is pretty unique of guys that are big-time level players,” says Mead. “He’s very team first, team oriented. He likes hanging out with his friends.”
The only thing Roby lacks at the moment is a little more muscle and weight on that 6-8 frame, but he’s working on it.
“I don’t know if you saw him when he was a freshman or a sophomore, but he looks vastly different now then he did then,” says Mead. “Even over the last eight months since our season ended in March last year to know he’s grown tremendously. He’s probably grown another inch or two and he’s filled out probably 15 pounds since then. He’s going to get much bigger after he goes to Nebraska.”
There’s one other thing coach Miles at Nebraska wants Roby to work on.
“Just getting a killer instinct. A killer attitude on the court,” says Roby.
If he gets that down and adds a few pounds the sky is the limit for Roby, and to think his first love wasn’t basketball. It was football.
“Yea I wanted to play college football…wide receiver.”