Isaiah Roby at Chick-fil A, 7.30

Former Husker basketball player and current Dallas Mavericks rookie Isaiah Roby (center) enjoys a humorous moment with Barbara Johnson Frank (left) and her husband, Alan, on Tuesday at the Chick-fil-A in the SouthPointe Pavilions. Roby spent two hours outside the eatery signing autographs for fans. r

Isaiah Roby didn't have to think hard about whether or not to spend a couple of hours signing autographs.

The former Husker and current Dallas Maverick, Nebraska's first NBA Draft pick since 1999, spent two hours Tuesday meeting fans at the SouthPointe Chick-fil-A in Lincoln as he prepares for the next part of his professional basketball journey.

Roby's signature cost $10, with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society.

The idea for Tuesday's event came together quickly. Roby said Charlie Colon, who owns the Chick-fil-A store in south Lincoln, reached out to him earlier this month about potentially being part of an event at the store.

The two knew each other from Roby's time in Nebraska's College of Business, where Colon is a frequent guest speaker.

Roby knew he would be in town this week, and the event was set up. Being able to help Habitat for Humanity was a no-brainer for the former Husker, who grew up in a Habitat for Humanity home in Dixon, Illinois.

"Being able to actually have a house, it's peace of mind, first off. It's easier for your family," Roby said. "So I love what Habitat for Humanity does for people. It gave me a much better childhood than I would have had."

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Roby has been in Lincoln getting back into shape prior to heading to Las Vegas to take part in a NBA camp for rookie guards, and then to New York for more rookie activities.

After working out for 15 teams before the draft, then being picked by the Mavericks, then playing in Summer League, Dallas told him to take some time off to recharge his batteries before getting back to work.

"I've only been down in Dallas for a few days," Roby said. "So I'm looking forward to getting back out there and getting to work with the team. The coaching staff has been great; I love the environment they've got down there. So I'm just excited to get back out there."

Roby was encouraged by his Summer League play, during which he averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocked shots in five games and seemed to get more comfortable as the competition went on.

"Talking to (Mavericks coach Rick) Carlisle afterward, he gave me some things to focus on in order to make an impact on the team this year," Roby said. "Our goal is to make the playoffs, so I'm going to do everything I can to do that."

For now, Roby is still getting used to the fact that he's a professional basketball player, including talking about how he wants to help an NBA team make the playoffs, something that the small-town kid in Roby still finds wild.

"It is kind of crazy still, but it’s good to know that — I definitely know I belong, just going through Summer League. My first game in Summer League, playing a team like Brooklyn, who had, both the guys I was guarding were solid NBA players in their first couple years in the NBA," Roby said. "So I was thankful to have that challenge, and I’m thankful to have the challenge to contribute to a winning team this year."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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