Despite the wait, Roby 'ecstatic' to join Mavericks
Isaiah Roby sat at a folding table, surrounded by his closest family and friends, just waiting for his phone to ring.
After 44 picks had gone by without hearing his name called in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night, the former Nebraska forward was starting to get nervous.
Then he got the call. Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and owner Mark Cuban were on the other line, and they informed Roby that they were selecting him with the 45th overall pick in the second round.
“It was surreal,” Roby said. “That was the first moment where it really hit me. I told my friends, I said, ‘if I start crying, you better slap me. I don’t want to cry.’ Then as soon as I heard my name, I held it in for about 10 seconds and I started crying. It’s a dream come true. It was crazy.”
The wait was a bit longer than Roby may have hoped, especially after making a difficult decision to forego his senior season as a Husker and stay in the NBA draft pool last month.
But through the whole pre-draft process, the Dixon, Ill., native knew he had a wide range of potential landing spots. Based on his individual workouts and conversations with teams and his agent, Roby figured he could be taken anywhere from pick 21 to 45.
Though he ended up going to the very back end of that projection, Roby said he couldn’t be happier with his eventual landing spot.
“As it got towards the bottom (of the draft), the longer it went, the more nervous I got,” Roby said. “But I’m just ecstatic with my situation. My big thing was just getting the opportunity to make a name for myself, and that’s what I got.”
Roby’s NBA career will begin next month at the Las Vegas Summer League, which runs from July 5-15. From there, Roby will either join the Mavericks or start out with the organization’s G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, based in Frisco, Texas.
Regardless of where his basketball path takes him next, Roby’s big gamble paid off. Oddly enough, it happened almost exactly how he told new NU head coach Fred Hoiberg that it would.
“It’s kind of ironic: me and Hoiberg, we talked about it, and I said if I feel that I have an opportunity to get drafted at a decent spot, I’m not going to pass it up,” Roby said. “The (pick) number I gave him was 45.
“I should’ve given him 35 looking back on it, but I spoke it into existence. I got the opportunity, and that’s all I asked for. Now I’ve got my foot in the door, and I’m going to make the most of it for sure.”