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
”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
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
”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
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
”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
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
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
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
”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
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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