5-Star Center Mitchell Robinson to Skip College, Focus on 2018 NBA Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2017

Credit: Scout

Mitchell Robinson's college basketball career is over before it began.

"I've decided to leave Western Kentucky and just focus on next year's NBA draft," Robinson confirmed to Scout's Evan Daniels. "I want to thank Western Kentucky, the coaching staff, the fans and my teammates, but I decided to pursue a professional career."

According to Scout, Robinson was the No. 1 center and No. 9 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class.

It had been a chaotic summer surrounding Robinson's commitment to Western Kentucky and his future plans.

Western Kentucky suspended Robinson indefinitely in July, and he left the school altogether. Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde reported on Aug. 22 the 5-star center planned to skip college in preparation for the 2018 NBA draft. However, Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal noted on Aug. 28 that Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury announced Robinson had enrolled to Western Kentucky ahead of the fall semester.

It seems we finally have resolution to Robinson's plans after his latest announcement.

Skipping college can be a risky strategy for players with NBA aspirations. Whereas the likes of Brandon Jennings, Terrance Ferguson and Emmanuel Mudiay—all of whom were first-round selections—played in professional leagues overseas before making the jump to the NBA, Daniels reported Robinson only plans to work with a trainer ahead of the draft.

It's doubtful a number of blue-chip recruits will follow Robinson's path to the NBA even if his strategy proves to be a success. After Mudiay and Jennings, college basketball hasn't lost much would-be talent to overseas leagues.

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Playing at a major college program not only helps a player improve but also gets him on a national stage and in front of NBA scouts and front-office executives. Robinson is taking a big bet on himself by forgoing those opportunities.