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Davell Roby is a key player for SLU—both this year and next

This year, junior guard Davell Roby has become the go-to guy for Saint Louis’ offense, and it’s entirely possible it’s the first time he’s had to be “the man” for his team in a long while. According to 247sports, Roby was the fourth best player from Tennessee in 2014, but the top two players in the state were his teammates at White Station High School in Memphis with him. In his first two years at SLU, Roby’s offense took a backseat to Mike Crawford, Miles Reynolds and Malik Yarbrough. However this year, Reynolds and Yarbrough have transferred, to Pacific and Illinois State respectively, and Crawford has been hampered by hamstring injuries all year.

Quick sidenote: can we just appreciate how insane it is that Crawford hasn’t missed a game, considering he was centimeters away from tearing his hamstring tendon completely? And not just playing, but averaging 30.9 minutes a game? While rarely practicing because of said injury? It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, back to Davell. Under these circumstances, Roby has become the most important cog in the Billikens offense, and, while it’s been a learning process, it’s been promising. He’s averaging 11.7 points per game on the season, and shooting 39% from the arc. In conference play, he’s improved, scoring 12.4 points per game on 42% shooting from the three-point line. In addition, he’s contributed 3.5 assists a game while guarding the opponent’s best defender. He’s leading the team in scoring, serving as the team’s point guard when Aaron Hines is out, and is the team’s best perimeter defender. That’s a heavy load.

There have been rough spots along the way. Obviously, the Billikens are terrible, and Roby sometimes struggles at looking for his own shot and being assertive. Saturday’s Fordham game is an example of that, when he scored only six points on 2-6 shooting. Roby’s performance bodes well for next year, and he looks to be one of the most important players next year for Travis Ford’s new look Billikens.

Roby established himself as a leader early on, in electing to stay upon the hiring of Ford, and he quickly bought into Ford’s system. Next year, he’ll be the leader, as the SLU looks to integrate 6 new players who will immediately upgrade the Billikens’ talent level immensely. While those new players will get much of the hype coming into next season, if the Billikens are to immediately take a massive step in the A-10, Roby will be the X-factor, and really, X-factor is the ultimate Davell Roby role. He can thrive both as a role player on the court with explosive scorers like incoming freshman/hometown hero Jordan Goodwin and UCF transfer Adonys Henriquez or as the main scorer and playmaker on bench units. He’s a solid shooter, and is an underrated passer when driving to the hoop. He’ll still probably be the best perimeter defender on the team, and he’s proven himself to be a leader and a hard worker.

In his three years at SLU, Roby has never stopped grinding, despite the turmoil and downright ineptitude of the Crews era, and stayed committed to SLU through it all. Next year is his chance for vindication, and most importantly, his last chance to be on a good, competitive college basketball team. Next year could go either way, given the turnover, but it makes me feel better knowing Roby will be there as a leader, hungry and ready to notch some well-deserved wins.

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Jack Godar covers Saint Louis University for A10Talk. He is a St. Louis native who grew up rooting for SLU, but is a graduate of College of the Holy C...