With 5 transfers and 2 freshman suiting up for the Saint Louis Billikens, SLU’s season go a lot of different ways. While the influx of new talent is extremely exciting, one of the most important pieces is a familiar face. Senior guard Davell Roby has been a Billiken longer than anyone else on the team, and after three long years, finally has a chance to be a part of a winning team. Roby’s leadership, scoring and defense will make him the X-factor for Travis Ford’s new-look Billikens.
What he’s done:
Roby has been a key contributor for the Billikens ever since freshman year. In his freshman and sophomore years, he averaged around 6 points per game each year, and started 37 games over those two years. His junior year, he led the team in scoring(11.7 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg), while shooting 39% from deep and routinely guarding the opposing team’s best offensive weapon. The catch is that over the past three years, the Billikens have been terrible, losing 21 games in each of Roby’s three years.
However, in Travis Ford’s first year, there was definite improvement. Though they went 12-21, they exceeded the very low expectations(thanks Jim Crews!), winning 6 A-10 games in a season where some predicted them to go winless in the conference. Roby was a big part of that, emerging as the Billikens’ go-to scorer, and playing strong defense. It would have been easy to give up in what many considered a lost season for the Billikens, but Roby and company always played hard.
What he’ll do:
With all the new talent coming in, Roby’s most important role is that of senior leader. Transfers Adonys Henriquez, Javon Bess, DJ Foreman and Ty Graves, and four-star freshmen Hasahn French and Jordan Goodwin all have a ton of talent, but have never played together in a NCAA game. With so much of this year’s rotation being new additions, Roby will have to serve as the leader of the team and help the team cohere. On the court, Roby likely won’t be the leading scorer again, with explosive offensive talents like Henriquez and Goodwin coming in, but he’s much better suited for a complementary scoring role regardless, as a dangerous three-point shooter with the ability to put the ball on the floor. Roby’s ability to play the point and serve as a distributor will also come in handy.
Roby still is probably the best perimeter defender on the team, and adds tremendous value on that end of the court. When Roby and Jordan Goodman are in the backcourt, the Billikens will have one of the toughest backcourts in the A-10. Both are around 6’4, 210, and are tough, physical players who bring a ton of intensity to the court. Roby likely will fly under the radar this year, especially if the Billikens are performing well. However, Roby will be the engine of the team.