2012-13 Player Preview: Glenn Robinson III

Glenn Robinson III dunks over defender

While his counterpart in the 2012 class, Mitch McGary, saw his stock fluctuate wildly during his last two years of high school, Glenn Robinson III’s stock only progressed in one direction through his prep career: upward. The St. John, Indiana native committed to Michigan in September of 2010 and since that point the excitement around his game has grown exponentially. Month-by-month he progressed from relatively unknown three star prospect to one of the top-20 recruits in the class of 2012.

For Michigan, Glenn Robinson III provides a versatile and athletic option on the wing, something the Wolverines haven’t had for a long time. Robinson has the ability to play both the small forward and power forward spots — at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds he has the size and quickness both positions demand. Expectations for Robinson are high, which is reasonable given what Michigan fans have seen of him thus far. He will be expected to contribute right away, but he is walking into a favorable situation for a talented freshman. There are plenty of scoring options around him and Robinson will not be asked to carry a significant portion of the scoring load off the bat. He will most likely make an immediate impact in rebounding and defense because of his athleticism, as his offensive comfort and assertiveness develops as the season wears on.

Reasons for Excitement:

  • Athleticism: In case you didn’t hear me before, Glenn Robinson III can jump. Not only does he have serious hops, but his lateral quickness allows him to stay in front of wing players on the perimeter. What does this mean for Michigan? It marks an abrupt difference from the level of athleticism at the four position over the last few years (apologies to Zack Novak) and will allow the Wolverines to take advantage of more match-up opportunities.
  • Versatility: At 6-foot-6, Robinson has the ability to play a few different positions. He seems most likely to spend the majority of his time at the three or four positions, which are nearly identical in John Beilein’s offensive system. Offensively, he still has some skill areas to shore up at each of those positions, but where his versatility will truly be on display is on the defensive end. He can guard nearly any position, from smaller, quick perimeter players to bigger, more powerful combo forwards players. Robinson has the body and the athletic skill set to match up with both.
  • Work Ethic/Practice Habits: As Tom Brew was able to illustrate for us this summer, Robinson is an effective leader with great practice habits. These attributes are also evident in the way Robinson’s game improved so vastly as he progressed through high  school. This is good news for a freshman, as those attributes will undoubtedly soften the learning curve from the high school game to college. His freshman year, he may not have as much leadership influence as far as the whole team is concerned, but if he can provide some leadership for the cadre of freshmen and set a standard for the rest of them to emulate, it should go a long way in making sure each of them fulfills their potential.

Causes for Concern:

  • Aggressiveness: Often times the only thing holding Glenn Robinson III back from being a dominant force on the court is Robinson himself. Robinson has the tendency to defer at times on the court and needs to figure out ways to be in attack mode at all times — something he really started to do his senior year at Lake Central. This is Trey Burke’s team and Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to demand quite a few shots but the sooner Robinson can carve out his niche in the offense the better.
  • Ball Handling: While versatility is a strength of his game, and Robinson could potentially play any position from the two to the four, his ball handling on the perimeter remains a work in progress. It’s more advanced compared to some players his size but is it ready for major college basketball? Expect Robinson to be most comfortable taking a couple dribbles in transition or slashing to the basket rather than any sort of primary ball carrier duties early in his career.
  • Perimeter Shooting: If Robinson is going to play on the perimeter in John Beilein’s offense, he’s going to have a develop a shooting touch. He did not shoot from long range much in high school, but when he did, it wasn’t pretty: Robinson attempted well over 75% of his field goals from inside the arc at Lake Central last season and connected on just 27 percent of his few long range efforts. While high school stats can often be taken with a grain of salt, Robinson will need to develop his perimeter shooting ability at the Big Ten level. Beilein noted at Big Ten media day that while Robinson “can shoot it good enough,” he’s yet to develop a “shooters mentality”.

Outlook

Like most of the other freshmen on Michigan’s roster, Glenn Robinson III  is in an ideal position. He should log significant playing time, but will not be expected to shoulder too heavy a burden for a first-year player. As the year goes on, however, expect Robinson to take on more and more of an active role. He has the skills and natural talent to make an immediate impact. His explosiveness is off the charts, his slashing ability for his size is downright scary for defenses and his ability to finish at the rim is exceptional.

Expect to see Robinson stick to the three and four positions as a freshman – offensively. John Beilein’s endorsement of Robinson after a week of practice was that he “would expect you’ll see him out there” when the season starts. There’s a strong possibility that Robinson begins the season in the starting lineup and even if he doesn’t he’ll play a significant role. Robinson should be able to play off of Michigan’s primary options and adds an element to Michigan’s rotation that’s been lacking for much of the past four seasons.

Bottom Line

Not only does Glenn Robinson III have all of the physical tools necessary for success at the college level, he has already been singled out by John Beilein as one of the players who is most receptive to coaching. Beilein characterized Robinson as a quick learner at Michigan’s media day, saying the freshman “has had a couple of times where he took information, gathered it and he was doing it 10 minutes later.” This is a terrific sign for Robinson’s development and ability to mesh into the Michigan system.

Robinson could develop into a true star, eventually. For this year, it’s more reasonable to expect him to log serious minutes, probably start, and be a valuable contributor on both ends of the court. That’s actually quite a bit to expect from a freshman. Defensively, he will be guard opposing teams’ most athletic wing players. Offensively he will be able to create for himself off the dribble as well as finish strong in the paint against bigger players. I expect Robinson to build a strong foundation for future development during his freshman season. As far as the rest of his college career, the sky’s the limit for Michigan’s freshman wing..

Quotable: “I don’t think there’s any question [Glenn Robinson III] will have an immediate impact. He knows how to score but he also does a great job of keeping other people involved. Of course, Michigan’s offense is a perfect fit for him, too. He’ll be able to attack the basket and he can shoot. His three-point numbers weren’t what he would have liked last year, but I still consider him to be a good perimeter shooter. He’s been working real hard on that part of his game too. I really like his mid-range game. He does a nice job of finding spots to score from, and without all the double- and triple-teams I’m sure he’ll be a double-digit scorer as a freshman.” Tom Brew, author of A Season Inside: Lake Central Basketball

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