He walked on water in high school. He made it look so effortless. He never seemed like he was rattled. Why should Ryan Roberston have been worried? He was the perfect guard. He was long at 6 foot 5. He was skilled with incredible range. He saw the game of basketball in slow motion. Robertson was All-State and All-American.
Ryan Robertson arguably posted the best career stats of any high school player in our town's history. At St. Charles West, he scored more than 2,700 points, dished out 1,100-plus assists and won a state championship. That's why Kansas and Roy Williams recruited him hard. And even though Mizzou was only 90 minutes away, Robertson became a Jayhawk. And the success continued in Lawrence: four NCAA tourney appearances, 1,000 points, and picked 45th overall in the 1999 NBA draft.
After one season with the Sacramento Kings, Robertson became a world traveler. He played in Holland, Greece and France. He has returned to his home in St. Charles, and is now the regional marketing director for Goldman Sachs. Robertson is a married father of three; and when he’s not working, he is coaching his children's basketball teams.
How do you approach basketball with your kids?
It's my biggest struggle. I can't remember how serious I am supposed to take it. My daughter is in second grade, and my son is in kindergarten. Do I ask them to practice layups in the driveway? I have to enjoy it—they have to enjoy it.
Best player you have ever been on the floor with?
Kevin Garnett and I played together in the McDonald's All-American game. He is 7 feet tall. He could shoot it, and he did things I have never seen done before. He did all of this while he was constantly talking.
Best moment ever for you on a court?
Winning the state championship in 1995. I was playing with my brother, Troy. My dad was the assistant coach, and Coach Hollander and I were close.
Are Missouri fans still razzing you about choosing Kansas?
Four years ago, I walked into a Bread Company in Columbia. I had my suit on and was doing business. I ordered my coffee and bagels. My head was down, and as I am walking out, there was a table by the door with four frat boys, who started to boo me. I smiled and waved, and walked out.
Most rewarding game against Mizzou?
My senior year. We were ranked No. 1 or 2 my first three years that we went to Columbia. We had great teams, but Mizzou always won in Columbia. So my senior year, we traveled to Columbia...and we won the game. I think I had 18 points.
Craziest moment overseas?
When I played in Greece, the fans were nuts. The league required riot-geared police. About 50 policemen in full armor would surround the court at every game. It happened all the time where the police would come out and have to use tear gas.
5 THINGS I THINK
1. The Rams should solve a lot of problems and go sign a wide receiver with a resume. You would make Sam Bradford better. You would make the running backs better. Why do they have to be almost the only team in the NFL without a really good receiver for a long time? Sign Mike Wallace.
2. I would rather listen to Ken Hitchcock talk about hockey than any sports figure in this town talk about anything else. He doesn't give you quotes, he gives you prose. The man is so thoughtful and brilliant.
3. Argo is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It's not quite The Godfather, Rocky, Vertigo, Jaws or The Exorcist, but it's in my top 10.
4. John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny will be together longer than any GM and coach/manager team in St. Louis sports history. Power and success often corrupt. It won't happen here. They both have the humility gene. Matheny knows Mo took a big chance on him, and Mo knows just how good Matheny will be one day as a manager.
5. Heaven for me would be a SLU-Mizzou first-round match-up in the NCAA Tourney. The athletic department in Columbia won't force the basketball program to play SLU, but the NCAA could.