Oregon State PG Roberto Nelson is just getting started.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
There’s a lot of buildup surrounding Roberto Nelson in the sleepy town of Corvallis, OR and on the campus of Oregon State University. Usually known for its football, the Beavers basketball team is generating a buzz due to the game of point guard Roberto Nelson; arguably State’s biggest recruit and most talked about player since The Glove was holding down the Pac-10 during the late ’80s.
But there’s something you should know about Roberto Nelson: He doesn’t buy into the hype. “I don’t listen to that because it’s all hype, and hype can get into your head and mess you up,” said Nelson in an interview with Oregonlive.com. But for fans of NCAA basketball, the hype is hard to ignore.
Never mind the handles, the textbook jump shot, the remarkable court vision. Never mind the video circulating the web of Roberto Nelson destroying a rim and ending up with 20 stitches, the Roberto Nelson story is much deeper than that.
Born to Bruce Nelson, a high school basketball star himself from Columbus, OH, ‘Berto was seemingly bred to play the point guard position. As a 6-3 combo guard, Nelson tore through the California AAU circuit while breaking nearly every record at Santa Barbara High School, en route to becoming a top-100 recruit for the Class of 2009 and drawing comparisons to long time NBA stalwart Andre Miller.
Nelson had offers from almost every major program, and it seemed like he was heading to either UCLA or Ohio State, until a fateful meeting with Obama’s brother in law and Beavers head coach, Craig Robinson completely switched up the recruiting process. Robinson never could have envisioned Nelson choosing Oregon State over the hundreds of top-tier programs that all requested his services. But Nelson shocked the recruiting world by signing with the Beavers, who have consistently finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 over the last decade. Robinson heralded his signing as a potential program savior and the buzz surrounding Roberto Nelson went from a faint murmur to a resounding roar.
Before Roberto Nelson could even step foot on to the court in Corvallis, his whole world changed dramatically. His father and number one fan, Bruce, was sentenced to a jail term for a crime in which he still maintains his innocence. Faced with that dilemma and overwhelming anxiety, ‘Berto’s grades slipped and he was placed on academic probation for 18 months and only able to practice with his teammates.
When he was finally able to suit up in December of last year, Nelson averaged 7.5 points, and 17.4 minutes while showing flashes of brilliance and a 34-point outing against Arizona State that provoked thoughts throughout campus that he may be able to live up to the hype. Now, with some game experience under his belt, and a full offseason to strengthen his body and game to handle the rigors of a full season, the redshirt sophomore is primed to have a big season and lead the Beavers to the top of the Pac-10. You’ve been warned.