“He’s in love with the University of Missouri,” Roberts’ father, Craig Roberts Sr., told The Star by phone Thursday. “I hope the situation is workable, because he loves the school and has a great rapport and connection with the guys already.”
Roberts Sr. said C.J. talks regularly with Tigers freshman Frankie Hughes and sophomore Terrence Phillips and doesn’t want to request a release from the national letter of intent he signed in November.
Ultimately, C.J.’s decision hinges on a planned meeting with the Roberts family and Martin next week.
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The Roberts family doesn’t know Martin aside from his reputation. Both father and son spoke with Mizzou’s new coach by phone around 8 p.m. Wednesday after he was hired.
“C.J. thought the conversation went well,” Roberts Sr. said. “He said he seemed like a pretty cool dude and he looks forward to meeting him.”
However, Martin did not promise C.J. anything in that initial phone call.
“He didn’t say I want you guys or I don’t want you guys,” Roberts Sr. said. “He just kind introduced himself and said he would try to get down in the next week or so to sit down with us as a family and get to know us a bit better.”
C.J. Roberts — a 6-foot-2, four-star prospect, according to Rivals — also had offers from Baylor, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas State, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, LSU, Purdue, Rutgers, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech, USC, Virginia Tech and Rhode Island among others.
He averaged 25 points, four rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14 games as a senior before suffering a season-ended stress fracture in his left foot.
“(Martin’s) got him signed, so it’s pretty simple — either you want to keep him and are going to put that on the table right off the top or you’re not sure and have to do some more homework or have a few things to figure out before you meet with us,” Roberts Sr. said.
The Roberts family also will want to know about Martin’s style and how C.J. fits into his system along with the plan to develop him as a point guard and a person.
“I’m not upset about it either way,” said Roberts Sr., who has coached basketball for 22 years. “I understand he’s coming in and putting his stamp on the program. He’s making some sweeping, radical changes. … If we fit into his plan and his program and we like how we fit into it, I’m OK with that. If we don’t, I’m OK with it. But, I will say this, we’re not going to sit around two or three weeks and wait on that.”
The preference would seem to be sticking with Mizzou, which obviously could change next week, but Roberts Sr. expressed optimism after an 8-24 campaign.
“I think he’s (Martin) going to come in and change the program completely around immediately, and I do mean that for the better,” he said.
Missouri, which forfeited a scholarship each of the last two seasons as a result of self-imposed sanctions, has 11 of 13 scholarships for next season currently accounted for — 10 returning players plus Roberts.
Forward Jordan Barnett is slated to be the lone senior next season, while Terrence Phillips, K.J. Walton, Jordan Geist, Kevin Puryear and Cullen VanLeer will be juniors.
Frankie Hughes, Mitchell Smith and Reed Nikko will be sophomores with Jakoby Kemp, who redshirted this season, set for his freshman year of eligibility.