Everything You Need to Know on Unique New Orleans Hornets Rookie Brian Roberts

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Brian Roberts #22 of the New Orleans Hornets drives the ball around Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets at New Orleans Arena on January 9, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The 2012 rookie class has no shortage of strange rookies, and other than the New York Knicks' 35-year-old Pablo Prigioni, the 27-year-old Brian Roberts is one of the league's strangest newbies.

His first big game of the year came as the New Orleans Hornets took down the Denver Nuggets, leading the way as the Hornets stopped Denver's 15-game winning streak.

Roberts sparked New Orleans with his 13 points and 18 assists. With all of the spectacular young guards in this year's class, Roberts nailed down the highest assist total for a rookie this season.

Sure, he's had some pretty good scoring games from time to time, scoring 17 points against Denver the first time the two teams met and again a few weeks back in Cleveland.

Roberts' season can only be described as an up-and-down slough through his first year in the NBA, dotted with excellence in a valley of discovery.

He's been stuck all season long behind Greivis Vasquez, a point guard who has exploded onto the scene in his own right, leaving him fighting for minutes and battling for every additional second he gets on the court.

It wasn't uncommon to see him go games at a time getting less than 15 minutes a night, as Vasquez proved to be the unquestioned No. 1 option at point guard.

Combine that with New Orleans' desire to develop rookie Austin Rivers, the return of Eric Gordon and even the bit of burn that Roger Mason Jr. was getting at the two-guard spot, and Roberts was getting minutes by the skin of his teeth at times.

It's quite the change for Roberts, who spent his college days as the big little man on campus at the University of Dayton.

His senior season at Dayton was nothing short of a magnificent run that ended in shattered dreams.

The Flyers tormented teams in their offseason schedule, all thanks to Roberts' incredible three-point shooting and his genuine leadership.

Dayton took down the 14th-ranked Louisville Cardinals (who made it to the Final Four that season), followed by a takedown of sixth-ranked Pittsburgh. With Roberts at the helm, Dayton climbed to 14th in the AP poll, the highest ranking the team had seen since being ranked sixth in 1968.

The team's season was derailed in January when rookie Chris Wright fractured his ankle, from which point the team went 7-8 through the rest of the regular season and lost in the second round of the A-10 tournament.

From potential Cinderella to the NIT, Roberts' senior season was an exciting disappointment.

Going into the draft, the only discernible trait that scouts could see was his impeccable shooting stroke, and he went by the wayside. Undrafted and unwanted, he scooted off to play basketball elsewhere.

Roberts took off to Israel, playing with one of the most obscure professional basketball teams possible, Hapoel Gilboa Galil

After proving himself a solid scorer, averaging 15 points per game, he was given a contract with a more recognizable name on the European basketball circuit, signing on for two years with German-based Brose Baskets.

There he stayed through the end of last season, helping the Brose Baskets to three straight German National Championships.

Along the way, Roberts joined the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and finally the New Orleans Hornets' NBA Summer League squads, finally grabbing a two-year contract with the Hornets over the summer.

Roberts was always criticized for his subpar passing, his meager frame, his lackluster defense and only having the long-range shot as an above-average offensive weapon.

Through two starts this season, Roberts has amassed 27 assists, and at 27, he's finally starting to put some bulk on his frame.

He's still got a long way to go, but there are definitely flashes from Roberts that tell us he's in the NBA to stay this time around.