Theo Robertson Interview
Cal's Theo Robertson is considered one of the best shooters and "glue" players in the nation. While his teammates (Pac-10 POY) Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher often receive more pub, a number of NBA scouts have said they think Robertson is the best NBA prospect on the team.
NBADraft.net: What has playing for Mike Montgomery done to further your development as a basketball player?
Theo Robertson: I think he's come in and really put in a system that allows our players to play towards their strengths, and for me to be able to shoot the ball. He's put in a system where shots are being created, and people are being freed up through established screens, which really gives you great looks as a shooter.
NBADraft.net: Describe the experience of playing with fellow seniors Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, and Jamal Boykin? Are you enjoying your last season together and do you feel any extra pressure this season to go far in the tournament after last years early exit?
Theo Robertson: It's been a great experience getting the opportunity to play with those guys. The last 3 or 4 years have been very fun.
I don't think there's any extra pressure on us to go further...if anything, it's an expectation that we have for ourselves. That's something that we want to do...we don't feel any outside pressure because it's something we want to do. We just need to focus on the things in front of us.
NBADraft.net: You were 4th in the NCAA in 3 point shooting for the 2008-2009 season, coming in at 48.7%. Have you always considered yourself to be a shooter? Do you feel you have the range to have the same success from the NBA 3?
Theo Robertson: Absolutely. It really, for me, started the summer after my sophmore year in high school, getting in the gym and working with coach Frank Allaco and we really just tweaked some of the mechanics of my shot. Going into my junior year of high school, when I shot 51% from 3, and from that point on I've been really able to shoot the ball, then really being able to add range once I got into college and I think that is something that will translate over into the NBA game.
NBADraft.net: During your first game against Oregon St this year, CBS analyst Jim Spanarkel mentioned that you do a great job of "thinking and playing at the same time." To what do you attribute your high basketball I.Q. and your ability to stay within the flow of the game at all times? Is this a case of you being a gym rat, or does it have more to do with preparation - knowing your opponents and the game plan so well, or does the game just come naturally to you?
Theo Robertson: I think it's a combination of all, really. Going back to high school and developing good habits. Everything started in practice and then there's the work you put in outside of practice. Also, always trying to be prepared - to be ready for certain situations and alway understanding what you're trying to do. There's always a focus for me on whatever my assignment is. On the defensive end, I'm always locked into that. On the offensive end, I've always been a player that is looking to make the right play, whether it is for myself or my teammates. Really, on offense just trying to make the right play and on deffense staying locked in on whatever my assignment is.
NBADraft.net: As a sophomore during the 2006-2007 season, you played much of the year at power forward and won the Cal Defensive Player of the Year award for your efforts. How did that experience improve you as a player.
Theo Robertson: It helped with my versality. It gave me the opportunity, really forced me to actually, to go against some bigger, stronger guys and have to hold my own. I took it as a challenge. I didn't want to use it as an excuse...to say that I was under-sized and have that be a reason for giving up points and wanted to make my opponent work for everything they got. Really, just took it as a challenge and I didn't want to let my team down so I just gave it my best effort and I feel I held my own.
NBADraft.net: Who has been the toughest defensive assignment from another school that you've drawn so far in your college career? And the toughest to guard in practice during your time at Cal?
Theo Robertson: Toughest player I've had to guard was during my Freshman year I had to guard Brandon Roy, who is such a complete offensive player, just really has complete control of his game when the ball is in his hands. And coming in as a Freshman, that was a tough assignment, so I'd say Brandon Roy.
And in practice.....um......I would say the hardest to guard is probably Jerome Randle, just because he's so quick and 1 on 1 he can't be guarded and so he really commands help. I would say he puts the most pressure on the defense. So he's the toughest player I've had to guard, at Cal.
NBADraft.net: You took a medical redshirt year after undergoing hip surgery following your sophomore season. Did sitting back and watching the game for a year help develop any aspects of your game?
Theo Robertson: I think so. I think after sitting out that year seems you would just be a better basketball player just by the way you perceive the game and approach the game. And I think that really shows coming back in my junior year where I thought my numbers where pretty efficient. I attribute some of that in just being able to know the certain spots on the floor that I'm trying to get to, seeing how the offensive system allows players to get where they need to go to get the shots that are available. So just from watching that and really even watching my teammates and what they're doing, I think it helped me coming back the following year.
NBADraft.net: What would you say to someone who described you as being prone to injury? Does your style of play lead to more injuries in any way?
Theo Robertson: I don't think so. I don't even think I'm injury prone. The two hip injuries I've had weren't traumatic injuries or anything like that. They were just a genetic, heriditary piece of the bone that were sticking out and those have been cleaned up and are gone and I'm pain free from those injuries. Other than that, I've never been hurt really. No issues with ankles, knees, or breaks. But I do give it my all and put all my effort into the game - that is the style of play that I have. Those injuries are in the past and are not a concern anymore.
NBADraft.net: Do you see yourself as a 2, a 3, or swingman in the NBA?
Theo Robertson: Definitely a 2. I think, just in college I've been forced to play other positions that will definitely help my game, but definitely a 2 going forward.
NBADraft.net: What do you offer to an NBA team...what would you bring to the table?
Theo Robertson: That I'm a winner. I can fill various different roles to help teams win. That I'm a complete player there to field any role a team may need. I think versatility is my biggest asset and for that I can be plugged into lot's of different spots.
NBADraft.net: What advice have NBA scouts or coaches given you about developing your skills for the next level?
Theo Robertson: Everyone mentions the need to get stronger, but I think the main thing for me is to continue to work on my shot, being able to pull-up off the dribble, always work on handling the ball, continue to work on being a lock-down defender...those types of things are some of the advice I've gotten for going forward.
NBADraft.net: What did it mean to you to win the Pac-Ten in your senior season? What does it mean for the program?
Theo Robertson: It means a lot. We hadn't won the Pac-Ten title in fifty years. Just being with this core group of guys for so long...putting all the hours in the gym. It is a great feeling to experience that. It's been our goal all season. To be able to get that is a tremendous feeling, for not only us, but the program and the community as well.
NBADraft.net: Best of luck the rest of the season. Go Bears!
Theo Robertson: Go Bears!
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