Following a meeting with Michigan brass to discuss his future, Glenn Robinson III has decided to forgo his last two years of eligibility and enter his name into the 2014 NBA draft.
Wolverines coach John Beilein made the announcement in a joint statement that indicated Robinson and Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas would be leaving early. Both are expected to hire agents.
"In a very short period of time, these two young men have had a very positive impact on the Michigan basketball program," said Beilein. "From day one, Glenn and Nik have had the right attitude and work ethic that has helped us enjoy so much of our recent success."
Stauskas and Robinson were the mainstays amid Michigan's re-ascent into a national power. Both were key contributors on the Wolverines' national runner-up squad in 2012-13 and took over leadership roles this past season after the departures of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan was a surprise Big Ten regular-season champion and earned a No. 2 seed before losing to Kentucky in an instant-classic Elite Eight matchup.
There is still no word on the status of Michigan big man Mitch McGary, who was a potential lottery pick in 2013 before surprisingly returning as a sophomore. McGary suffered a season-ending back injury after only eight games and tops out as a fringe first-round prospect.
Stauskas averaged 17.5 points and 3.3 assists per game on 47 percent shooting. He was named a consensus second-team All-American. A three-point gunner who does a better-than-advertised job of creating shots off the bounce, Stauskas has the highest grade among his teammates and could be a late-lottery selection if workouts go well.
Robinson, meanwhile, is much harder to project. While an integral piece to Michigan's puzzle, Robinson did not take the leap as a sophomore many expected, finishing with averages of 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game on 48.8 percent shooting.
He's still a minus outside shooter despite stretching beyond the arc more last season, knocking down 30.6 percent of his threes. Synergy Sports tracking data (subscription required) shows Robinson hit 36.7 percent of his jumpers overall, which wouldn't be bad if so many of those weren't inefficient mid-range shots.
There are also questions about his long-term position. He worked almost entirely as a power forward under Beilein, which his 6'6" height and slight frame will not allow at the next level—even in small lineups. Robinson is considered small even for the typical NBA 3. Other players like Kawhi Leonard have developed well after playing out of position in college, but Robinson is going to need the right situation. He's not someone who will walk in and contribute right away.
ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) ranks Robinson as the No. 34 prospect in the 2014 draft class. It's an assessment I largely agree with and a disappointing development for Robinson, who probably would have been a first-round lock last season based on potential alone. There are still a few underclassmen announcements upcoming, so it's possible between now and June that Robinson can crack top-30 lists.
There are plenty of factors that point to Robinson boosting his draft stock the next couple months on his own. He's a freakish athlete. Going into the combine, Robinson should be able to impress scouts on his vertical and quickness alone. Given the right coaching and the requisite work, he could develop into an NBA starter and solid player on both ends of the floor.
Teams also have the knowledge that Robinson won't have trouble with the NBA lifestyle. His father is, of course, two-time NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson, who played 11 professional seasons—mostly with the Milwaukee Bucks. Children of former players usually fall into two camps: wildly overrated or wildly underrated. Biases exist on both sides of the aisles.
Nonetheless, Robinson is a heady player with deep NCAA tournament appearances and a bevy of untapped potential. I'd be shocked to see him fall into the second round come draft night.
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