MONTGOMERY — Dribbling near the top of the 3-point arc, Brandon Roberts took a quick step toward the basket, causing Conner Entriken to collapse on the floor.
The crowd’s response was instant as fans throughout Dunn-Oliver Acadome sighed in unison.
Entriken wasn’t injured. The Mississippi All-Star just couldn’t guard Roberts, a former West Morgan High star.
Welcome to the club. While averaging 34 points per game this past season, Roberts made a habit of making defenders look, well, defenseless.
Roberts capped a strong senior season with an encore, pouring in 12 points as Alabama beat Mississippi 87-76 on Friday night in the annual All-Star Classic.
The win gives Alabama a 12-11 lead in the all-time series.
“I just went out and there and showed what I could do,” said Roberts, a Samford commitment. “There was nothing but great players out there tonight. It was a fun experience.”
Roberts started the game at point guard, and he played 20 minutes — among the most on the team.
And he made them count.
Sinking deep 3-pointers or slashing through the lane, Roberts flashed a wide array of basketball skills. But the second-half, “ankle-breaking” drive to the basket stood out above the rest.
“Man, whoa, that was unreal,” said Wenonah star De’Runnya Wilson, a Mississippi State signee. “I felt bad for (Entriken) because as soon as he fell to the floor, everybody in the building was going ‘Ooohhh.’ Brandon is quick. Really quick.”
Wenonah forward Isaiah Maston agreed.
“(Roberts) is going to be a big-time player for Samford,” he said. “I don’t care that he’s only 6-1. That doesn’t matter. He’s a shooter, and he’s an athlete. He can play.”
Alabama’s all-star cast showed out, building a 54-37 lead by halftime.
Carver-Montgomery’s Jeremy Johnson, an Auburn football signee and Mr. Football in the state, flashed his athleticism with a couple of dunks. He led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
And that wasn’t even good enough for game MVP.
Wilson grabbed that honor, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds. Shelby County’s Tyler Madison added 13 points and five rebounds.
“Playing with all of these great players, that was the best part,” Roberts said. “It’s not every day that you get a chance to play on a team with so many great athletes. This team has great shooters. Great scorers. Great leapers. Great everything. This whole week has been an unbelievable experience.”
As for the next step at Samford?
Alabama coach Earl Taylor of St. Jude said he doesn’t expect Roberts to have any problems with the transition to college basketball.
“The kid can play. There’s no question about that,” Taylor said. “He does so many things well. Brandon is going to be just fine at Samford.”
Contact Justin Graves at 256-340-2460 or by email at email@example.com.
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