Hersey's Roberts adjusts, flourishes
Ethan Roberts had to learn to slow down to speed up his game.
The Hersey senior forward moved from the Memphis, Tenn., just before his junior year when his dad was transferred to the Chicago area.
He came from a school in Memphis that was just a bit larger than Hersey. Since he played basketball at his old school, he thought the transition would be nearly seamless. He didn't count on the slower-paced, physical and defensive style of the Mid-Suburban League.
"It is very slow here," Roberts said. "In Memphis, if you beat someone off the dribble and you could get to the basket. Here, I remember driving, and oh my gosh, there are three people on me. I kept getting charge calls. They call a lot of charge calls here."
It took some time, but Roberts, who is a 6-foot-5 wing, was able to adjust quite well to a style that he compares to "Big Ten" basketball. So much so, that he was named to the Daily Herald's Northwest Suburbs All-Area team last season after averaging 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3 assists while knocking down 43 3-pointers.
Roberts got a jump on the adjustment when his parents moved into the former home that his mother grew up in. Both his mother and aunt attended Hersey and his aunt, Carol Cooling Cobb, who passed away seven years ago, has a journalism scholarship named for her.
"I actually met Ethan and his dad at the scholarship awards assembly before they moved here," said Hersey coach Austin Scott, who teaches English.
"It has been a unique journey for Ethan. It's hard to miss him walking down the halls. I don't think he took his puffy coat off all winter."
Roberts' play has drawn the attention of college recruiters. He has received formal offers from both the Naval Academy and West Point and has other interest as well.
"Ethan's best asset is his versatility," Scott said. "His flexibility and versatility as a player really suits him for the college game. I think that is why a lot of college coaches are attracted to Ethan."
Roberts says that the military option intrigues him.
"People talk about the military aspect and I am open to it," Roberts said. "I come from a military family. I had one grandfather who was in the infantry in the Korean War and another grandfather who was a pilot. Plus, I have three cousins who were in the military as well."
Roberts is happy to be back on the court with his new friends and teammates at Hersey. He scored 19 points in the team's opener against Glenbrook South on Wednesday.
"It has been crazy," Roberts said. "For me, overall, I am so happy to play my senior season with coach and my teammates. It has been different for sure."