Raptors 905 top prospect Ronald Roberts Jr saw his season cut short by injury at the All-Star break, but by that point the Toronto Raptors training camp invite had rocketed up the NBA D-League prospects list and was on the cusp of joining teammates Axel Toupane and Greg Smith as NBA call-ups.
“I felt like my season went really well,” Roberts said. “Honestly, I owe a lot to Coach Jesse (Mermuys). He had a lot of faith in me and he just believed in me and he let me do a lot of things out there that coaches in the past didn’t let me do. He let me expand my game and that eventually got me to the top (of the D-League Prospects List) and I went down (to injury).
“I had calls from a few (NBA) teams after I got hurt, a week after I had a few calls from teams, but obviously I couldn’t take them.”
It’s a common theme among the 905 players to give head coach Mermuys credit for letting them expand their game. It took a while for Mermuys to learn how to be a head coach, but he did everything with the development of his players first and foremost in his mind and the results were obvious.
The 6’8 Roberts averaged 18.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks playing at power forward and center for the 905.
Roberts is about to start rehab now that he has recovered from his injury and he plans to play in the NBA Summer League in July.
“I start my rehab on Monday,” Roberts said. “I was on crutches for two weeks and I start six weeks (of rehab) on Monday. I am feeling good. No pain or anything like that. Basically I just have to get my leg stronger before I go play again.
“I don’t know who I am going to play Summer League with, but I’ll be good to go when Summer League starts.”
The Raptors 905 approach should allow the team to successfully recruit a new crop of prospects for next year’s squad. The only unfortunate outcome from the program’s initial success is players like Roberts will likely end up being signed by an NBA team other than Toronto.