The Importance of Roberto Nelson

How important is Roberto Nelson to the Beavs? (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

After the Idaho debacle the Beavs have come back strong with two dominating performances against UIC and Howard. OSU played very well in these last two games doing what they do best, creating turnovers and converting those turnovers into points. In the last two games a trend has started though, something which might really help OSU especially once Pac-12 play starts, and that's the recent emergence of Roberto Nelson. He has scored at least 20 points in the last two games and while the opponents are not of the highest caliber he still scored that much. Against Idaho when the offense stagnated he looked like the only guy who could create something for himself.

Nelson has had the ability and that was recognized when he was coming out of high school, but then he had to redshirt his freshman year due to academic difficulties. With that year off and with a learning year in the previous season he looks like he is finally getting comfortable. It seems like the quick hook has stopped coming as well, so he is allowed to be more creative with the ball, he gets the same sort of freedom with the ball that Joe Burton has.

The main weapon that can make Nelson a threat on the court is his shot, he can make his mid range jumper, and he can shoot from most everywhere beyond the arc. If his shot is back on target like it has been in the last couple games he will see the floor a lot and it should open up things for Jared Cunningham who has been struggling from three point range, but is still a dynamic slasher and finisher. Against zones Nelson can be the zone buster, who forces opponents to back out of the zone to match up with him. Right now he is the missing component for the Beavs, one more scorer who can keep other teams honest, so they can't cheat on Cunningham.

For me, this is what the Beavs are missing, a consistent shooter and a guy who can create without needing to be next to the hoop or relying on back door cuts. Starks can be a shooter, but his size limits his effectiveness closer to the basket. If Nelson is able to be a dependable scorer, then this OSU team will be an offensive force, because somebody will be able to win an individual matchup and if the opponent tries to cheat towards anyone, everyone else can make them pay. For these reasons the development of Nelson becomes more and more important as we get closer to Pac-12 play, with a full power Nelson this team has a geniune chance to win the Pac-12.

Go Beavs!

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