Roberson’s injury shaped her great freshman year

Redshirt freshman Arielle Roberson is living out her very own

silver linings playbook.

Shortly after arriving at the University of Colorado last

season, she tore her left labrum, requiring season-ending surgery,

something she now says made her both a better player and a better

person.

”It changed my perspective on things,” Roberson said.

”Playing is a huge opportunity, it’s a blessing. … I think it

opened my eyes to a lot more, just in life, to being grateful for

every little thing that you get to do, for waking up in the

morning, for being able to go to sleep at night.”

That first week after her operation she mostly stayed in bed,

homesick and crying herself to sleep. Luckily, her older brother

Andre is a star forward on the Colorado men’s basketball team. So,

he was there for her, bringing dinner by her dorm, helping out with

her homework, anything to keep her spirits up.

”He made sure he texted me, he called me, checked up on me like

a nice, protective big brother,” Roberson said with a wide smile

Friday before watching Andre’s Buffaloes play Illinois in the men’s

NCAA field.

Arielle’s team, seeded fifth in the Norfolk Regional, faces No.

12 seed Kansas (18-13) in the NCAA women’s tournament Saturday in

Boulder in the Buffs’ first NCAA game in nine years. The other game

at the Coors Events Center pits No. 4 seed South Carolina (24-7)

and No. 13 seed South Dakota State (25-7).

Reflecting on her not-so-lost season, Roberson said she was able

to sit back and absorb so much at practice. Because she couldn’t

travel with the team, she also got to see plenty of Andre’s

games.

”I took a lot away from that because I wouldn’t have been able

to do that if I wasn’t injured. So, that’s the blessing in

disguise,” she said. ”I get to watch him play and go with him to

eat after games and things like that.

”There’s always a positive to any negative things that

happen.”

Andre Roberson, who’s 13 months older than Arielle, celebrated

the men’s second straight NCAA tournament berth on Sunday, then

cheered on when his sister’s team earned its bid 24 hours

later.

”It’s great how we both made it,” Andre Roberson said. ”Both

programs are up and rising … So it’s pretty cool to have her in

the NCAA, as well.”

And especially back on the court.

”With the injury last year she was kind of depressed and upset

because she worked so hard in the offseason preparing,” Andre

Roberson said. ”She was disappointed that she couldn’t travel with

the team as well. I kept her focused to keep working and it’s

paying off.”

After a summer filled with pickup games, H-O-R-S-E and ”21”

against Andre back in their hometown of San Antonio, Roberson

returned to school and worked her way back into playing shape.

She was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year after averaging

12.1 points and six rebounds and leading the Buffaloes (25-6) to a

No. 19 ranking and a 13-5 mark in the ultra-competitive Pac-12. She

set a school record by scoring in double figures in her first 13

games.

Roberson said all those hours on the court last summer facing

her brother, who’s a half-foot taller at 6-7, paid off.

”Yeah, because I’m prepared for Brittany Griner. Just

kidding,” Roberson said. ”He’s a big man, and there’s not really

any girls that big. Granted, you have Brittany Griner and the girl

from Iowa State and I think BYU may have had one. So, you don’t

really run across that many big people. So, that helped a lot. His

length. Shooting over them and getting around them. Granted, it was

not easy. But it definitely prepared me.”

So did sitting out last year, ironically.

”She was very, very engaged,” Buffaloes coach Linda Lappe

said. ”She did her rehab during practice. She made sure she

watched and she understood. She’s very perceptive. She understood

what our team was lacking last year and something that maybe she

could bring this year, part of that is consistency, part of that is

competitive fire.”

Lappe said Roberson was able to see the game from a coach’s

perspective last season.

Sitting on the bench, she also worked on her shot. Yes, her

shot.

”Even before she could stand she would sit in a chair and she

would shoot. And work on her form,” Lappe said. ”She did anything

that she could do basketball-wise before she could even be on the

court, so she kept her touch. I think it really helped her shot.

She shot it pretty well this year, a lot better than she ever did

in high school. She utilized that year to get better at

something.”

Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson lost out in recruiting Roberson

in large part because Andre was already in Boulder and the siblings

figured their parents, John (basketball) and Lisa (volleyball), who

were both student-athletes at New Mexico State, could get to more

of their games if they were on the same campus.

”Arielle is a phenomenal player,” Henrickson said. ”We

recruited her and thought she’d be a great player in our league.

She certainly has done everything we thought she’d be capable of.

she plays both the 3 and the 4, she can shoot the 3. She can put it

on the floor. She’s a tough kid.”

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