PITTSFIELD -- For St. Joseph's guard Taverick "Tank" Roberson, the difference in play between last year and this year is more about confidence than anything else.
Roberson was named this week's Berkshire Eagle Player of the Week, amassing a total of 390 readers' votes.
"There were times in previous years where I'd disappear at the end of games," he said. "We had a good enough team that most of the time, it didn't matter.
"But now I've got the green light. My teammates want the ball in my hands."
That was never more evident in the Crusaders' last two games, a nail-biter of a 68-65 win over Hoosac Valley on Friday night and an emotional 76-59 win over Pittsfield High School only 19 hours later at the Coaches vs. Cancer Boys' Basketball Showcase in North Adams.
Roberson essentially took over in the win over the Hurricanes, scoring a career-high 36 points. In the game against PHS, he was not quite as prolific, scoring 25 points. But many were on very hard drives to the basket.
The back-to-back games took their toll, however. Roberson was a not-too-good 4 for 10 from the line, including an airball.
"We play a lot of back-to-back games," he said of the Friday-Saturday schedule. "It's tough, yeah. In a lot of ways, it's a mental thing. Coming off the 36-point game on Friday night against Hoosac, I knew we had [to play] PHS the next day. I'm not sure I would have played as well if it hadn't been PHS. That's a big city rivalry game."
Roberson is not a native of Pittsfield, although a perusal of The Eagle's archives show that he has been starring in basketball since the fourth grade, when he and his family moved to Pittsfield from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The "Tank" nickname is a hand-me-down. His father, Taverick, Sr., is the original "Big Tank." Taverick Jr. was, at one point, "Little Tank."
But he's too big to be Little Tank these days.
"I'm just Tank," he said.
He has been playing with and against his current St. Joseph's teammates since he stepped onto the court in Pittsfield nine years ago.
"Sometimes with them, sometimes against them," he said.
Asked if he gets along with his Crusaders teammates now, Roberson smiled.
"Yeah," he said. "We get along pretty well. Sometimes they get mad at me on the court and sometimes I get mad at them. But we're like family now. We've been through everything together by now."
To reach Derek Gentile:
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