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Basketball: NIU makes offer to Dixon's Roby

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 11:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 14, 2014 11:50 p.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Dixon's Isaiah Roby puts a shot up Wednesday against Morton.
(Michael Krabbenhoeft/mkrabbenhoeft@saukvalley.com)
Dixon's Isaiah Roby (11) shoots a basket of the defense of Streator's Jake Houch (44).
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Dixon's Isaiah Roby goes up for a shot over Sterling's Draque Penaflor-Heier Friday night.

Isaiah Roby suffered a minor wrist injury this weekend. Then the soon-to-be junior at Dixon High School and his QC Elite 16U team lost in the championship game of a tournament.

To cap it off, he broke his cell phone and had to scurry to get a loaner.

Roby was in need of some good news, and he got it.

NIU assistant basketball coach Lou Dawkins told Roby to contact Huskies head coach Mark Montgomery at noon on Monday.

"They asked how I did this weekend, and I told him that I did OK, but there was a lot I could have done better," Roby said. "Then they made the offer."

Montgomery made Roby the first official offer for the Huskies for the Class of 2016.

"I was a little stunned," Roby said. "I didn't know what to say."

Roby's QC Elite coach Logan Wynn had told Roby to expect that NIU would offer soon.

The 6-foot-7, 185-pound forward first started looking at Northern Illinois last fall. He attended a football game and toured the facilities.

That was before Roby helped the Dixon Dukes improve from three wins in 2013 to 23 wins in 2014. Dixon also won its first regional title since 1986.

Roby averaged 10.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 3.1 blocks.

Roby said he's not in a hurry to make a decision on his school. He has also made visits to Iowa and Illinois State.

The recruiting website prephoopsillinois.com lists Drake, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin as other Division I schools that are recruiting him.

"They like the way that he can handle the ball," Dixon coach Jason Mead said. "He's the best passer that I have ever coached. Part of that is because he is tall, but it's also because he has great vision.

"I think teams like the potential for growth both physically and as a player. He might still get taller, and he's going to fill out. He's got a lot of work to do on the court, but he's not afraid to put in the work."

Roby says that recruiters tell him that he'll project as a shooting guard or wing at the college level.

He already handles some of those roles on the Dukes and the QC Elite.

"I'll do a lot of trailing the play and be there for a 3," Roby said. "And they have me working on guarding everyone on the floor. I'll guard a forward, and then jump out to guard a point guard."

Roby says that recruiters aren't concerned about adding weight, but want him to work on increasing his lean muscle.

"I'm not going to do a lot of banging under the basket in college," Roby said. "I'll be away from the hoop more. They want me to be strong, but not to add weight and lose mobility."

As far as Northern Illinois, the Huskies are heading into their fourth season under Montgomery. After back-to-back five-win seasons, the Huskies went 15-17 in 2013-14. The turnaround was the greatest in program history.

"It's important for Isaiah to look what fits best for him," Mead said. "It's also important for him to see how he fits into the program. There are a lot of factors to look at."

Roby is undecided on his educational path, but he says he wants to pursue something in the science department.

Roby file

School: Dixon High School

Year: Junior

Parents: Roderick and Danielle

Height/Weight: 6-7/185

2013-14 stats: 10.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, 3.1 blocks.

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