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Grit. Tenacity. Walk-On Status. Zach McRoberts.

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How did we get to this point with one of IU’s most unlikely stars?

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Go ahead, make fun of Zach McRoberts all you want.

Sure, he has a goofy jumpshot. Sure, he’s from Carmel. Sure, he probably unironically likes Imagine Dragons. Sure, he’s every white Indiana dad’s dream of an IU player is.

But make no mistake that McRoberts is critical piece in the teams success.

If you haven’t heard the story by now, here’s one of the more unlikely journeys to Bloomington. After spending a season playing with the Vermont Catamounts (S/O @VT_Ben) in 2015 McRoberts opted to transfer and take a risk at trying to join a then Tom Crean Indiana basketball team.

For a coaching style know for their high-tempo offense, McRoberts didn’t appear to be a good fit for the team, yet he earned himself a roster spot for the 2016-17 season after sitting out a year for transfer rules.

Then, in part to a slew of injuries, McRoberts was thrust into a position I’m not sure he ever expected himself to be in; the starting lineup.

As many of you know IU was forced to change things up last season with the use of a three guard set which featured a main rotation of Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson, Devonte Green and Zach McRoberts. His percentage of average minutes played per game nearly doubled from the 2016-17 to the 2017-18 season.

And you know what? He did pretty well.

Despite only taking an underwhelming (checks notes) 66 field goals last year, McRoberts had his presence felt on the other end of the floor. McRoberts led B1G last year in conference play for his steal percentage and ranked top-40 nationally, earning kudos from the masses for stepping up in a pinch.

Now in the 2018-19 season, IU has addressed depth issues and the status quo is restored, McRoberts will return to his spot as a 3-and-D role player off the bench. Plus he earned a team voted co-captain position along with Juwan Morgan for the year.

However, just because he’s the exact cliche you’d expect out of a basketball player from Carmel, doesn’t mean he can be so easily disregarded as Zach McRoberts has one final go at it.