Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 4, 2013

Roberts finds new role, challenge at Liberty

There are many secrets to success.

Actually, they’re not secrets at all. We know them, no matter if we’re an athlete, chef, businessman or bus driver.

Casey Roberts knows them. He’s proven it for quite some time, especially during his days at Allegany High and Allegany College of Maryland.

At Allegany High, he was two-time Area and Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year, two-time All-City, led the area in scoring (25.6) and three-point goals (62) as a senior, and finished No. 5 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,430 points.

The Campers had a 64-10 record in his three seasons.

At Allegany College, he was first-team All-Maryland JUCO and All-Region XX for two consecutive seasons. He led the team in scoring (17.2) as a sophomore and made 83 three-point shots in his two years.

Now at Liberty University, Roberts is playing on his third team in four years, but the adjustment to a new program and Division I basketball hasn’t been as difficult as some might expect. One reason it hasn’t is because of what he brought to Lynchburg with him.

“I was definitely well-prepared and know I was blessed to have had the coaches I’ve had in the past,’’ he said. “Coach (Tedd) Eirich at Allegany, he’s kind of an old-school guy in terms of never being late, making no excuses, working in the weight room and practicing as much as we’re allowed to.

“Those values and how to play the game are important, and I’ve never really known anything else.

“It’s the same at Allegany College. I was blessed to have Mike Baker as my coach. He was more than a basketball coach. He stressed how important off-court priorities are, too. The way you conduct yourself as a human being is more important than as a basketball player. The X’s and O’s come after that.”

But coaches can do only so much. Coaches coach. Players play. And in Roberts’ third game at Liberty, he found himself at the Verizon Center, playing against Georgetown.

He thought about the many places he had played, the thousands of times at home with the hoop in the driveway. And now, against Georgetown?

“It was awesome to play there, the same place where the pros play, and against Georgetown. But we were so busy with preparation I didn’t have much time to think about it,’’ he said. “We were there the night before for practice and then for the shootaround the next day before the game.

“It was a lot of fun. I love that kind of challenge and opportunity.”

Liberty lost to Georgetown 68-59. Roberts had a team-high 13 points and made three of four three-point shots.

The 6-foot-3 junior guard had a team-high 15 points in a 67-62 loss to Morgan State a few games later. For the year, he is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 6.9 points per game, and second in three-point shots made (33) and three-point shooting (42 percent).

“Casey’s been probably our biggest surprise,’’ said Liberty head coach Dale Layer. “We knew he was a good player, but from Day 1 he adjusted well, has shown a great work ethic, is a team player, can knock down the shot and score the basketball. He’s contributed in all areas, and contributes every time he steps on the floor.”

The Flames got off to a disappointing start, losing their first eight games. They have gone 7-8 since, and beat Big South North Division leading Campbell 89-72 last week before losing at Winthrop 66-56 Saturday night.

“Casey started early in the year and now he’s our sixth man, or first perimeter man off the bench,’’ Layer said. “He’s improving his defensive ability and was very well prepared when he got here. He understands the game and works hard, is very coachable and conscientious. When you have that combination it translates into success.”

There’s at least one more secret to success, and Roberts nailed it early during a telephone interview last week.

“I’m never really satisfied.”

That’s the drive and mindset of the successful athlete — striving for perfection, despite knowing it likely will never be reached.

“There’s been some peaks and valleys,’’ Roberts said of his junior season. “Coming off the bench is hard ... it’s the first time I’ve ever done it. I started the year coming off the bench, then started for a while, and now I’m coming off the bench again.

“But it really doesn’t matter much. There’s not much difference at all once you get in the game. When you do, your job is to bring some energy and a spark to the team.”

Roberts has started 11 of Liberty’s 23 games and is fifth in minutes played, averaging 19 per game.

“I love the school and academics and also the mission of the school,” Roberts said of Liberty, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971. “I’m learning a lot and surrounded by positive influences on and off the court.

“And the basketball is incredible. The guys know all the ins and outs of the game, with a full-time staff that opens your eyes to stuff you didn’t know before. It shows you how much you have to learn and grow as a player.

“The competition is really good and competing with so many talented players every day is awesome. I just try to work hard and give God the glory in all I do.”

Tuesday’s Radford-Liberty game is scheduled to be televised on MASN2 (Atlantic Broadband channel 48) at 7 p.m., as are games against Campbell (Feb. 13) and Longwood (Feb. 19).

Upon further review

Allegany’s 65-33 win over Fort Hill last week was one of the more lopsided ones in the City series. Fort Hill held the largest victory margin, 88-47 in 1997, for a while. Allegany topped it by one point with a 100-58 win in 2009.

Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at mmathews@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014