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Roe sees improvement in play; knees heal from surgery

February 26, 2009

After undergoing two knee surgeries in 13 months, freshman forward Delvon Roe has picked up his game in the month of February.

Before February hit, Roe was averaging five points and 4.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes a game for the MSU men’s basketball team. In February, Roe has upped his production to 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 22 minutes a game while shooting 69 percent from the field.

That rapid improvement should continue to pay big dividends for the No. 9 Spartans as they look to win the program’s first Big Ten Championship in eight seasons.

Early in the second half of the MSU men’s basketball team’s 62-54 win against Iowa Wednesday night, Delvon Roe caught a bounce pass from sophomore guard Kalin Lucas, took one dribble and threw down a two-handed dunk.

No, the play wasn’t anything special and probably didn’t even make the final SportsCenter cut, but dunks are becoming more commonplace for Roe, a freshman forward who has underwent two knee surgeries in the past 13 months.

“They’re good,” said Roe about his knees. “I haven’t had any setbacks since the season started and now I’m just trying to get that behind me.”

In December 2007, Roe had microfracture surgery on his right knee, which ended his high school career. In August of this year, Roe underwent exploratory surgery on his left knee to remove small particles of cartilage.

Both Roe and MSU head coach Tom Izzo have known the freshman won’t be 100 percent this year. Still, Roe said he hopes to be a “pretty good player” come March.

If the month of February is any indication, that shouldn’t be a problem considering Roe’s rapid development this month. Before February hit, Roe was averaging five points and 4.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes a game. Now, Roe has upped his production to 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 22 minutes a game, while shooting 69 percent from the field.

Junior forward Raymar Morgan said he has seen improvement in Roe’s lateral quickness and leaping ability since the beginning of the season.

Along with being able to be on the court, Roe said he believes playing a different style of game than he has been accustomed to has been beneficial to him this season. He admitted moves that seemed easy to him in high school are impossible to do right now.

That extra hurdle to overcome has made him a better player, Roe said.

“It makes you learn other things and how to play the game,” Roe said. “You wonder how other people who don’t have those athletic skills and that ability to do it get it done. Now I’m starting to see the way they get it done and I’m trying to start to put it into my game and grow and let my athleticism come back, and that’s going to make me even more of a better player.”

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