Senior James Roberson will Compete for the Beavers During the 2004-05 Season
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University head men’s basketball coach Pat Smith today announced that senior point guard James Roberson (Chicago, Ill.) has decided to play out his college eligibility at BSU during the 2004-05 season.

Following the 2003-04 season, Roberson was diagnosed with a tumor in the left temporal lobe of the brain. He successfully underwent surgery to remove that tumor in April, but decided late in the summer that he would be best served to stay home, sit this season out and attempt to get all aspects of his life back on track. But after a consultation with his high school, junior college coaches and others, he made the decision to come back and play for the Beavers during the upcoming season.

“I don’t think anyone, except for those that have encountered this situation can really understand what he has been through in the past year. It is just something that is unbelievable,” said Coach Smith. “One thing that I have been very impressed with in the short time I have known James Roberson is his inner strength and his ability to make good decisions.”

Another reason Roberson may be headed back to the court is to fulfill a promise he made to a friend. Roberson and fellow BSU senior Amir Major have been basketball teammates since high school. After a two-year stop at Lincoln Community College (Ill.) they stuck together and made the trip north to Bemidji State. That close bond they have developed was an influence on Roberson’s decision to come back. “Me and Amir have been playing together since high school,” Roberson commented. “We were both considering not playing at BSU this year, but he believed in me so I told him that if he decided to stay I would play so we could finish our careers together.”

The addition of a player with the abilities the leadership qualities of Roberson is a shot in the arm to a roster full of newcomers. “We are glad he is back. He is a winner and a guy that will knock down shots for us.” Smith added, “James is at the top of our list of returners. He can lead and never say a word. Some guys have that knack and I have already seen it in him.”

Roberson, the 2004 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Newcomer of the Year, helped lead Bemidji State to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago. He spearheaded a BSU offense which ranked 18th in the nation in scoring at 84.5 points per game. Individually, Roberson ranked 24th in the NCAA in assists, averaging 5.8 per game. He set a BSU single-season record with 167 assist and a school single-game record with 13 assists against Concordia-St. Paul on Jan. 2, 2004. Roberson was fourth on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game and finished second on the team with 54 three-point field goals.

Bemidji State finished its 2003-04 campaign with a 20-10 record, the first 20-win season in school history, and won the NSIC with a 14-2 regular-season record in league play. It was the program’s eighth regular-season NSIC championship, but first since 1967. Three BSU players, including NSIC Player of the Year, Daktronics First-Team All-Region selection and NABC All-America honoree Charles Hanks, earned First-Team All-NSIC honors, and former head coach Jeff Guiot was named NSIC Coach of the Year. Hanks became just the second player in league history to lead the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. The Beavers set 18 school and NSIC records during the campaign, including school marks for field goals, scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

BSU opens its 2004-05 campaign under first-year head coach Pat Smith, Nov. 3 with an exhibition game versus the Grand Forks Air Force Base at 7:00 p.m. in BSU’s Memorial Hall.