ESPN’s “Impact 25” continues today with the website’s selections of the nine individuals whose decision to return to their schools–rather than head to the NBA–will have the biggest impact on their respective teams.

Of course, Josh McRoberts is among the selections.

Why he’ll make news: McRoberts already was in the news with offseason back surgery. He was declared healthy to practice this week and he is expected to be ready once the season begins. McRoberts made more news in the spring when he decided to return to Duke, despite overtures that he could be a lottery pick. McRoberts was a subordinate player to Shelden Williams a year ago; he’ll be the No. 1 option this season.

What’s expected: McRoberts was named an All-ACC freshman and earned a spot on the All-ACC tournament second team last season. Not bad for the Blue Devils’ third option. He shot 60.5 percent from the field, mostly on dunks, putbacks and a few other moves in the lane. He chipped in 8.7 points a game and was second on the team in blocked shots (46) and rebounding (5.3 rpg). All of these numbers will increase dramatically this season. Duke brought in plenty of help in Lance Thomas and Jon Scheyer, but the reality is McRoberts is in a position where he’ll be featured. That’s one of the reasons he returned. He’ll have more of an impact on whether Duke is in title contention than any other player on the roster.

Headline games: McRoberts will go mano a mano against Indiana’s D.J. White, Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert and then, in the ACC, against North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough and Boston College’s Sean Williams. That’s enough to gauge his value.

Fran Fraschilla’s take: Most of Mike Krzyzewski’s recruits don’t use Duke as a quick weigh station to the NBA. That’s why, despite enormous buzz to the contrary, it was no surprise that McRoberts chose to stay around for his sophomore season. Frankly, because of the presence of two first-team All-Americans — J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams — the 6-10 Indiana native was not much more than a solid role player a year ago. That will change this season; McRoberts must step up and play a much bigger role, offensively and defensively. The likelihood is that he will, and any expected Blue Devils drop off will be minimal because of that.

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