OKLAHOMA CITY (KLKN) — It had been a while since Isaiah Roby had been a top play on ESPN’s Sportscenter.
Roby, the first Husker men’s basketball player drafted in the NBA in two decades, changed that just after Christmas. The Oklahoma City Thunder forwardmade a move and 10-year NBA veteran Nikola Vucevic fell to the ground, while Roby ended the play with a ferocious, one-handed slam.
“When we got back on defense he was like, ‘you can’t do an old man like that man,’” Roby said.
Roby ended up scoring 19 points in that game against the Orlando Magic, his first career start in his first full season on an active NBA roster. But that doesn’t come as a surprise to Roby, who remains confident in his ability to compete at the highest level.
“You know I definitely felt good about my chances coming into training camp,” Roby said in a recent Zoom interview with Channel 8. “I felt like the work I put in, put me exactly where I needed to be in order to make the squad.”
Roby is currently averaging 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds a game for the Thunder, coming off the bench in most games. And now fully healthy for the first time in years, Roby feels he can continue to make an impact for Oklahoma City.
“Last year, I definitely had some moments like, ‘man you’re guarding an NBA All-Star,’” Roby said. “Or I’m in the gym and playing against these guys. This year I see myself as equals to those guys. I put in the work to be here and there’s a reason I’m here.”
The former Big Ten standout credits his time at Nebraska and under head coach Tim Miles for much of his success.
“You know, a lot of guys ask me are you from Nebraska? Why did you end up going to Nebraska?” Roby said. “People don’t really know what it’s like to be a Cornhusker. Nebrasketball is always going to leave a lasting impact on me. I’m always going to be a representative of the University and represent it the right way.”
So what’s the answer to the popular question brought up by many Husker fans, players and coaches? Does Roby know how good he can be?
He’s not ready to answer that just yet.
“If you think you know how good you are or how good you can be, that’s putting a ceiling on yourself,” Roby said. “I feel like I never want to do that. I’m playing still and I’m playing better and better, and people are still asking me, do you know how good you can be? I think that’s a great question to have in the back of my head. But I’m not putting a ceiling on myself.”