With the NBA lockout keeping him out of his ordinary job, Josh McRoberts returned to his home court to coach.
Head Coach Scott Heady told his players that McRoberts would join the team as a volunteer assistant coach, and would help the team to develop their skills on the court. McRoberts said that because of the lockout, the opportunity presented itself to help the team out.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be playing soon, with the NBA lockout still going on, so I knew I’d be available,” McRoberts said. “This is just my way to give back to the school where I started.”
McRoberts main responsibility was to help the big men on the floor, the centers and power forwards, to thrive on the court. He worked with them on individual drills and with their technique to help them to play the position better.
“I’m trying to do whatever I can to help the big guys. Being a big guy myself, it’s what I know the most, so I just want to help them develop into the best players they can be,” McRoberts said.
Heady added that McRoberts was a great influence on some of the younger players.
“We have some young big guys that I think need some mentoring,” Heady said, and he added that McRoberts was just the mentor they needed. In his time here he worked with senior Karl Schneider and freshman Liam Duncan. Heady added, “I think [McRoberts] extra work with the post players was very good for all of them. Liam benefited more than anyone and continues to progress.”
Duncan said he definitely saw improvement in his game during his time working with McRoberts. “He helped me develop my game so much. He helped me down low, with my post game and helped me to develop a hook shot,” Duncan said.
The presence of McRoberts was a surprising yet welcome addition for the players on the team. Heady was very pleased with the player’s response to McRoberts joining the staff. As a five-year veteran in the NBA, McRoberts was a welcome addition to the locker room.
“He comes in every day with a lot of enthusiasm, and it’s a great opportunity for our guys to be around an NBA guy on a daily basis,” Heady said. “The guys were real excited. They knew right away that he wasn’t just here to hang out, but he was here to really help them, and it was evident he was here to coach and share and help in any way he can.
One player who wasn’t surprised by the arrival of McRoberts was Josh’s younger brother, Zach, a sophomore on the basketball team. Zach was excited about having his brother there to coach him and the team.
“He has a lot of experience from what he learned in high school and beyond, and he can bring that experience to our team,” Zach said. “People listen to him because he has been through what they have. He has a lot to say and he helps me out a lot.”
Though it is a homecoming for the two brothers, McRoberts was no stranger to the Carmel locker room. As a graduate of Carmel’s Class of 2005, he led the Greyhounds to the Sectional Championship. McRoberts was considered the number one power forward in the country, and was named MVP of the McDonald’s All American Game his senior season at Carmel. The team may have changed since he last played here, but McRoberts said that the atmosphere was the same as it was six years ago, and being back at Carmel was a welcome change.
“Carmel is a place I have a lot of love for, love for the program, and love for the community. So to be able to come back, it’s been an honor that Coach Heady has given me this opportunity to give back to this great program,” McRoberts said.
Heady believes having McRoberts was an extremely positive experience, even though he was only able to coach for just over a month due to the NBA lockout ending on Nov. 26.
“We were lucky to have Josh. He has so many experiences, from high school, college at Duke and now the NBA; he shared with the guys everything he’s learned,” Heady said. “It’s great for our program and for our guys.”
McRoberts was grateful for the opportunity to help coach the team he loves, even though his time coaching at Carmel was short and sweet. “So many people helped me to get where I’m at,” McRoberts said. “Coaches, people in the community, I owe so many people so much. I’m just trying to give a little of that back to this team.”