New Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin met with C.J. Roberts and his family Saturday morning in suburban Dallas.
Roberts came away impressed, his father Craig Roberts Sr. told The Star by phone.
“C.J. thought Coach Martin was really cool and he did something that impressed me even more,” Roberts Sr. said. “After we left the meeting, I took C.J. to get a new phone and we went to eat. Coach Martin called and said, ‘We’ve got to communicate, so I’m going to call you and I want you to call me. Let’s make sure we keep the lines of communication open with each other.’ ”
C.J. Roberts is a four-star point guard and ranked No. 98 overall in the country by Rivals. He signed with the Tigers in November.
After the coaching change, the Roberts family wanted to meet with Martin, who was hired March 15 as Kim Anderson’s successor, before deciding whether to ask for a release from his national letter of intent.
“We need to think about it, pray about it and make sure we’re making the right decision,” Roberts Sr. said. “We’re going to try to get together and see if we can come up with a decision (Sunday afternoon).”
C.J. Roberts felt incredibly comfortable with Anderson and his staff, but such a relationship isn’t easy to replicate in a week.
“As impressive as he was today, as sincere as he was and passionate, he’s trying to cram something that Coach Anderson and his staff did in four or five months into three days,” Roberts Sr. said. “That’s the tough part about it. This is our first time ever laying eyes on him.”
“It’s a whirlwind, but for the most part all of them are really good things,” Roberts Sr. said. “Coach Martin is an extraordinary guy. He’s strong-minded and principled, and I think he’s going to do really well there. It’s not a matter of if he wins, it’s a matter of when.”
Martin met with the Roberts family — including his father, mother and 10-year-old sister with his paternal grandmother listening by phone — for 2 1/2 hours at the family home.
Richland (Texas) High coach Richard Bacon and C.J.’s trainer, Donny Beacham, also were present for the meeting.
“Everyone was impressed with him,” Roberts Sr. said.
Obviously, the family took note of top prospect Michael Porter Jr.’s commitment Friday.
“I’ve expected that for a minute now,” Roberts Sr. said. “I knew that was in the works, but I take it with a grain of salt. C.J. thinks it’s cool. He thinks it would be fun to play with Mike.”
Certainly, it also could bring the kind of spotlight Roberts seeks for his career.
“It’s a good thing to land the No. 1 guy in the country, a certified NBA prospect who’s going to bring all the NBA scouts you can imagine to practices and games,” Roberts Sr. said.
As enticing as that aspect is for the Roberts family, “we’ve got to make sure it’s going to be a good situation for us,” Roberts Sr. said. “It does no good to have NBA teams you if you’re not playing in a way that’s conducive to your talents and helps you look good.”