Calm head, sweet shot helps Roberson shine in NBL

If there are two things a great import guard needs to succeed in the NBL, it is shooting skills and perseverance.

South East Melbourne Phoenix guard John Roberson has only been in Australia for a few months, and he has shown he has both those qualities.

Phoenix were keen to get John Roberson. Credit:AAP

Nerves don’t hit Roberson too often but they did with a sell-out crowd and the Phoenix in their first NBL game.

Roberson had two fouls in the first five minutes and went straight to the bench, he came out to start the second term and nailed five points and two assists before giving up a turnover and then his third foul.

He could have sat and sulked; instead he kept his head in the game.

"I think I got a little too excited and picked up two quick fouls," Roberson said. "It was unfortunate but we had guys step up, right the ship while I wasn't in there.

"It’s kind of our philosophy, man. One man goes down, one man gets in foul trouble so others step up."

Whether they were soft fouls, not fouls or silly fouls, suddenly the Phoenix had their star point guard benched and their star power forward Tai Wesley off with a hamstring injury.

Some teams would have fallen apart, instead the Phoenix endured staying in the lead heading into half-time and in the second half Roberson managed to stay on the court a little longer helping his side to first-up win.

Mitch Creek made the big plays in that final term but Roberson made some of the most assured ones, including an early three and another step-back three which pushed the lead to 10 points with four minutes to play.

"If you can shoot it there is a place for you anywhere in the world but I think Simon does a great job of putting me in position to use me to my strengths," Roberson said.

"Coming off ball screens, leaving a lot of space for me to operate. This offence suits me perfectly for what I can do best in shoot and distribute to the guys."

Roberson didn't arrive with the big reputation of star imports like Ware or Bryce Cotton but the Phoenix see the same traits of making big shots and lifting when the game is there to be won.

They will be looking to him again on Sunday afternoon as they take on the Brisbane Bullets at Melbourne Arena.

"I can't believe how lucky we are to have found him," Phoenix centre Dane Pineau said.

"It's almost like we have one of those stud point guards like a Casper Ware or Bryce Cotton or Melo Trimble – we got it bang right away with John and it makes it much easier to compete with those other sides.

"John is an incredible shooter off the dribble, he's money. I'm really glad he's on my team."

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