Much has happened to Stanley Robinson
since we last wrote about him as a freshman. He had a promising sophomore campaign, one in which his scoring efficiency increased dramatically and he began to adapt to playing on the wing full time. Things changed, however, in the off-season, when he was suspended from the team for a semester due to academic and personal reasons. Coach Jim Calhoun has gone on record saying that Robinson is on the right track, but nobody will really know Robinsons situation until January. That said, while his ability to reach his upside remains somewhat in doubt, there is no denying his potential as a basketball player.
Physically, there is nothing holding Robinson back. He stands at 69 and has reportedly added almost 25 pounds of muscle to his slight 212-pound frame. This is all without mentioning his huge wingspan. He is an elite athlete at the college level, with explosive leaping ability and good quickness in the open floor. He should also stand out at the next level with his combination of size and athleticism.
When we last wrote about Robinson, he was incredibly raw offensively, looking very much like a post-player attempting to transition to the wing. While that has not completely changed, he showed a lot of improvements last year, particularly numerically with his increased playing time and role on the team. Most significant are his shooting numbers. While hes still very much a spot shooter at this stage, there is no denying the fact that he shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from beyond the arc.
That said, as his sub 70% free throw percentage shows, his consistency could use a lot of work. Despite the fact that he gets good elevation, he releases the ball on his way down, after the peak of his jump. This causes him to push the ball and causes his already deliberate release to be even more prone to rejection. He falls away, also, usually in the direction of his shooting arm and shows further wasted motion by kicking out his legs during his motion. If he improves one thing next year, this is probably the most important. He has good touch around the basket, and certainly showed he could score more efficiently last season (raising his FG% by ten percent), but improving his shooting motion could do wonders for his offensive game.
So could improving his handle, or rather, simply learning how to dribble. Robinson often looked lost with the ball in hands, not knowing whether or not to shoot or pass. There was not much in between. On occasion, he put the ball on the floor and took the ball to the basket, but as shown in his dismal 2.7 trips to the foul line per 40 minutes-pace adjusted, he does not utilize his good first step or his outstanding athleticism around the basket nearly enough. His mid-range game is also almost non-existent, but last season he showed some hints of a pull-up jumpshot. Next season he is going to have to show that he can develop into a more versatile offensive player. He has made progress, but he has a lot of distance left to cover.
Defensively, he is actually very solid. Though he did not have the bulk last year to cover post-players effectively last season, he is a versatile defender and is capable of guarding multiple positions on the floor in both the post and on the perimeter. His lateral quickness and long arms allow him to harass defenders on the wing and he has the size to moonlight in the post. The problem seems to be consistency and focus. Sometimes Robinson simply gets lost on rotations, leaving his man open on the perimeter. Similarly, he bites on fakes, too, which on the perimeter lets his man drive to the basket and in the post gets him saddled with pointless fouls.
As a basketball player, Robinson showed a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball, which serve as a testament to his outstanding potential. There are not many players who were as raw as Robinson who improved as much as he did in a one-year span. Should he continue to work and improve, particularly his shooting form and his handle, he could develop into one of the best players in the Big East in a few years.
This is, of course, assuming that Robinson will be able to get his career back on track and re-enroll at Connecticut for second semester.
There is a lot of doubt swirling around Stanley Robinson
s ability to reach his potential at the next level, and that doubt will certainly factor into his future. There are the red-flags that were raised off of the record until Coach Calhoun announced his official suspension during the off-season. During first semester, Robinson will be taking online classes, working a job moving sheet metal, and trying to get his career back on track. After that, its anyones guess. Assuming the best, the future holds much potential for Robinson, a player with incredible athletic ability and budding skills. The only question is whether he has the willingness to do what it takes to be a pro.