Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. A brief synopsis of the definition of Junkyard Dog is in order, in case you missed our first award ceremony. The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.
Our inaugural winner was Auburn’s KD Johnson, and joining him on this illustrious list of Junkyard Dogs is Houston’s J’wan Roberts. Roberts is a name many folks might not recognize, as he’s not even a starter for Houston this season but his relentless effort defensively and on the offensive glass has been huge for Houston and their competitiveness early on this year. He’s averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds and his award winning moments came in what was one of the best games of the season thus far against Alabama. He had 9 OFFENSIVE rebounds, and was an absolute nightmare for Alabama’s frontcourt off the bench. His energy and relentless pursuit on the glass, and physicality as an interior defender, is huge for Houston. It’s important to note that Roberts is not the tallest guy on the floor, at only 6’7” Roberts
was outmatched from a physical perspective by Alabama’s bigs, at 7 ft and 6’8” respectively. In fact, those 2 had two TOTAL rebounds. Much of the defensive glass work for Bama was accomplished by their guards, as the bigs were too busy getting tossed around by Roberts and Co. And while the Cougars fell short on a controversial missed goal-tending call, much of the reason Houston was in that game was due
to their offensive rebounding, getting 21 total. Coach Kelvin Sampson mentioned Roberts’ efforts post-game, calling him their best offensive rebounder and crediting him for “playing like a warrior tonight.” All you need to know.
If you watched the game Roberts would have been a clear stand out, as he was always around the ball when a shot went up and missed. That consistent effort is often contagious, and that impact is immeasurable and a defining characteristic of a Junkyard Dog. While he is not going to be a guy who wins game MVP’s or makes All-Conference teams, his presence and skill set directly, and indirectly, impact the Houston program in a positive way. He’s a guy every coach wishes he could have, and the type of player Sampson has been bringing into this program as he’s built the culture that is Houston basketball. If Houston goes on a major run this postseason many will talk about guys like Marcus Sasser and Kyler Edwards, and deservedly so, but the foundation that allows guys like them to shine is shouldered by a guy like J’Wan Roberts. And it is for those reasons he is being given the highest of honors, the Junkyard Dog of the Week. Do yourself a favor and watch a Houston game if you haven’t
and keep your eye on this guy to see what it looks like to play the game with a Junkyard Dog mentality. And come back next week (2 weeks from now) for the next ceremonious written presentation of the Junkyard Dog of the Week award. Until then, happy gambling