Most basketball teams have a catalyst, a guy or girl whose performance is a fairly consistent barometer for the team's overall success. For the 2012-13 Michigan Wolverines, that guy is Glenn Robinson III.
Genuinely the player who carries the burden does so inadvertently, and that is most certainly the case with GRIII. He seems quite content to be just one of the many talented players on one of the best teams in the nation.
When GRIII is plugged in and aggressive, the Wolverines are undoubtedly one of the three or four best teams in the country, and a legitimate threat to cut down the nets at the Georgia Dome in April.
Immense talent genuinely accompanies this responsibility, but it isn't always associated with the team's most talented player. In this case, it is, because in my opinion, GRIII is the best pro prospect on the Wolverines' roster.
I may get some arguments from those that would tab Trey Burke as the most talented prospect, but I contend that that while Burke is certainly talented, he isn't more talented than GRIII.
He's just more consistent, aggressive and dependable. With Burke, you know what you're going to get—to a certain extent—every night.
He plays with great energy, passion and attitude in every game. Because of this approach, he makes himself a factor in some way shape or form.
That's not the case with GRIII.
There are games where you can actually forget he's on the floor. That should never happen with a 6'6", 210-pound, skilled, second-generation player who can do this:
Obviously, GRIII's talents are deeper than his athleticism. He's a decent ball-handler and solid outside shooter as well. He's shooting 56 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
So why doesn't he assert himself more?
Unfortunately, GRIII doesn't seem quite ready to step up consistently. That's understandable, as he is only a freshman, but it could also be the reason the Wolverines don't win the national championship.
This team needs him to be good-to-great every night to have a chance at winning it all. Due to his inconsistency, GRIII is only averaging 10.8 points per game. But in the Wolverines' 25 wins, he's scored 12 points per contest.
In the five losses, he's been nearly invisible averaging 4.8 points per game. There is more to the game than scoring, and GRIII is the team's leading rebounder at 5.5 per game. But those numbers are even terribly low in the losses.
He's pulled down just 3.2 boards per game when the Wolverines have come up short.
Heading into the regular-season finale against Indiana, and then the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, GRIII has to turn it up a notch. There are no more small games left for the Wolverines.
Because of his talent, the NBA draft may come calling in June, and this could be the final few college games of GRIII's career. On talent alone, he's probably a top 15 pick, but a huge finish to this season could launch him into the top five.
The talent is there to ascend up the draft board and to help propel the Wolverines to the next level. But GRIII has to find his confidence, comfort zone and consistent aggression to obtain both goals.