Rob Dauster

McDonald's All-American Game

Mitchell Robinson is not a trailblazer; poor decisions forced him into the worst one-and-done option

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Mitchell Robinson is a picturesque example of everything that is wrong with the NBA’s 19-year old age limit, the rule that has created the one-and-done era of college basketball.

He’s an athletic marvel at 7-foot, a prototype for what NBA teams are going to look for in a front court defender in the small-ball era. He’s long enough to protect the rim, strong enough to avoid being bullied on the block and athletic and mobile enough that he can function defending on the perimeter, be it switching on ball-screens or manning up against perimeter-oriented bigs. Robinson is good enough defensively that he’s currently thought of as a potential lottery pick despite the fact that his offensive repertoire essentially consists of ‘catch, dunk, repeat’.

He doesn’t need a year of college to turn him into an NBA player. He plays a position where strengthening his brand has almost no monetary value. And, frankly, he doesn’t want to be in college.

Robinson lasted two weeks at Western Kentucky over the summer before leaving school. He took a look at taking a redshirt year at LSU, Kansas and New Orleans before ultimately opting to return to Western Kentucky for the start of the fall semester. He lasted another couple of weeks before leaving again, officially deciding that he will spend this season training and working out for the 2018 NBA Draft, the first that he will be eligible to enter.

The argument is simple, really. College isn’t for everyone. If you’re an elite prospect with no desire for a year’s worth of higher learning and with no real benefit to spending a season playing in college, you shouldn’t be forced to spend a season playing there.

RELATED: Changing the NBA’s age limit will have repercussions, but to evaluate we must stop calling one-and-dones ‘students’

Mitchell Robinson is also an example of a player that really could have used a year away from home.

If he has proven anything during his short stint as a college basketball player, it’s that he is either not the best decision-maker or taking advice from all the wrong people. Shall we list the mistakes that he’s made?:

  1. He is a top ten recruit in the Class of 2017 and a potential lottery pick, yet he made the decision to commit to Western Kentucky in large part because of the presence of his godfather, Shammond Williams, being on Rick Stansbury’s staff. Elite recruits should never pick a school for one year based solely on the presence of someone they know on the staff.
  2. Robinson also signed a letter of intent with WKU. Elite recruits should never sign an LOI period, let alone with a program they have no business playing at. LOI’s give all the power to the school. They can force a player to redshirt a season if they don’t want to release him from the LOI, but they can rescind the scholarship anytime they want. Elite recruits like Robinson. have all the power. Never. Sign. An. LOI.
  3. Robinson never should have enrolled in summer school, either. It was a poorly-kept secret that Robinson was having doubts about going to WKU, particularly after Williams resigned in early July. Whoever told him that it was a good idea to go to summer school with those doubts in mind cost him this year. The second Robinson enrolled in a summer school class, he became a WKU student, meaning that his attempts to enroll elsewhere — LSU, Kansas, New Orleans — were complicated by the fact that he was a one-and-done player that needed an exceedingly unlikely waiver in order to avoid having to redshirt the 2017-18 season as a transfer.

He played his entire recruitment wrong, and it begs the question: Who involved in that process actually had Robinson’s best interests in mind?

Spending a year in college at a power program wouldn’t have necessarily solved that problem — let’s just say that the future success of one-and-dones isn’t always the primary motivation for their college coaches — but a change of scenery could have helped.

And now here we are.

Robinson has left WKU for the second time in the span of two months, and this time it appears to be for good. He will not be playing college basketball. He also won’t be playing professional basketball. He’s reportedly going to spend the next nine months working out in Dallas — which, admittedly, is better than remaining at home during this process — before entering the NBA Draft.

Robinson now becomes a test-case, a player that will be seen as something of a trailblazer should this become a realistic avenue for players of his ilk to take.

But frankly, that does not seem like something that is likely to happen.

Sitting out for a year is the worst option for elite high school basketball players. Every other option has some significant positives.

If the player goes to college, he’ll be playing on national television every night, building a brand and developing a name for himself while playing at a very high level and living a pretty good life. The dorms that basketball players live in are insane. The facilities that they play and work out in are state of the art. They fly first-class everywhere. They play in some of the most raucous and packed arenas anywhere in the world. They live life as a celebrity on their campus. That, plus the going rate for elite recruits, is a pretty good life to lead.

Playing overseas has benefits as well. Their life might not be as enjoyable — living in a foreign country is not easy — and the American public will have no connection to the player, but they’ll be making good money from the team and through sponsorships while spending a year as a professional. Competing against grown men that are grinding out paychecks and would love to plant an elbow in the ribs of some young hotshot American prospect is good way to learn just what it means to make basketball your 9-to-5.

Spending a one-and-done year in the G League has some of those same benefits. The salary won’t be as much, but you’ll be living in a place where English is spoken, the food is normal, and that sponsorship money — or a loan from an agent — will be more than enough to live it up in places like Reno, Canton, Grand Rapids, Sioux Falls and Fort Wayne.

But sitting out a year?

Robinson will be working out by himself — everyone else is going to be in season, whether at the high school, college or professional level. Someone is going to have to pay for that trainer. Someone is going to have to pay for him to live in Dallas. Shoe companies may be willing to float him some money, but the number likely won’t be that high; I don’t see kids camping outside stores for days to buy the newest Air Hassan Whitesides. Maybe he takes out a loan, maybe he pays out of his own pocket — most likely, it will be funded by an agent — but either way, he’s burning through money without an income coming in.

And all of that ignores that Robinson was essentially forced into this move because of his previous decisions.

After he left WKU, he visited Kansas and LSU. He clearly wanted to be at a bigger school. That wasn’t a realistic option, not unless he wanted to be a redshirt.

Robinson painted himself into this corner.

Maybe it will be enough to convince the NBA to change their age limit. Who knows.

But this saga has a much greater chance of leading one-and-done prospects away from mid-major programs that hired their godfather and straight into the arms of the blue-bloods, where they belong.

Mitchell Robinson to leave Western Kentucky, workout for NBA Draft

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The saga of Mitchell Robinson’s college career is finally, mercifully over.

I think.

And yes, that’s about the fifth time that I’ve written both of those sentences.

On Sunday night, Robinson, a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017 and a potential lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, told Scout.com that he will be skipping college to workout and prepare for the NBA Draft. This comes just three weeks after Robinson re-enrolled at Western Kentucky. He had to re-enroll at Western Kentucky because, after attending a couple of weeks of summer school classes, he left school and asked for a release to transfer from the program.

He visited Kansas. He visited LSU. He visited New Orleans. He considered just sitting out the season before entering the NBA Draft, those summer school classes meant that he was a transfer that needed to redshirt, but eventually made his way back to Western Kentucky.

And, as of now, it appears that his career as an amateur basketball player is over.

We’ll see how long that lasts.

Charges dismissed against suspended South Carolina guard

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Assault charges against suspended South Carolina guard Rykym Felder have been dismissed.

Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Felder’s charges were dropped by the city prosecutor. Felder had been charged with third-degree assault and battery stemming from a bar fight. It was Felder’s second arrest since joining the Gamecocks.

Felder is a 5-foot-10 point guard from Brooklyn, New York, who played a pivotal role in the Gamecocks’ Final Four run last spring. He was expected to have a significant role in the backcourt since the team lost three starting guards in Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and P.J. Dozier.

Felder played in 36 of 37 games last season. He had 15 points in South Carolina’s 88-81 upset of No. 2 seed Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

N.C. State lands first Class of 2018 commitment

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Immanuel Bates, one of the best shot-blockers in the high school ranks, announced that he has committed to N.C. State at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Bates is a 6-foot-9, 200 pound center that is regarded as one of the best shot-blockers in the high school ranks and a borderline top 100 prospect.

He is the first commitment for N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts in the Class of 2018, picking the Wolfpack over Georgetown, South Carolina and Georgia Tech.

VIDEO: Virginia Tech walk-on Nick Fullard is surprised in class with full scholarship

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I’ll never get sick of watching these.

UConn’s eight newcomers already competing for playing time

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STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The competition to earn playing time is already in high gear at UConn, where eight newcomers have joined the Huskies.

So far, it’s been just pickup games, limited workouts with coaches and on Thursday, their first media session.

But 6-foot-9 freshman forward Josh Carlton said everyone knows they have a chance at playing time and everyone is looking to impress.

“The minutes are out there,” he said. “There is no real solid lineup in stone right now, so everyone is going hard. I think that could be an advantage.”

The roster includes just two players who saw significant action during last year’s 16-17 campaign — guards Jalen Adams, who led the team in scoring at just over 14 points a game, and Christian Vital.

The Huskies no longer have guard Rodney Purvis, who played out his eligibility. Big men Steven Enoch and Juwan Durham and wing Vance Jackson, three players who were expected to have big roles this season, all transferred.

Three others, junior transfer Terry Larrier, and redshirt freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Alterique Gilbert are back after sitting out most of the season with injuries.

There are four true freshmen — forwards Carlton, Tyler Polley, Sidney Wilson and Isaiah Whaley. They join junior college transfers Eric Cobb and Kwintin Williams and graduate transfers Antwoine Anderson and David Onuorah.

“We did a lot of bonding over the summer,” said Onuorah, who graduated from Cornell this spring, where he averaged 3.4 points and 4.7 rebounds. “We all know each other. There’s no need for name tags or anything like that.”

The team won’t have any player over 6-9. But Williams, who is listed at 6-7 and 211 pounds, said that doesn’t mean the team will struggle in the post.

“Some of us are a little better at rebounding, some of us are shooters and some are 6-9 guards,” he said. “Right now we’re getting it all figured out and I believe we’ll have a great season and we’ll be really fast as well.”

The Huskies are waiting to hear whether Wilson, who transferred from St. John’s after taking a single summer school class, will be allowed to play. The 6-7, highly recruited wing is seeking an NCAA waiver to play this season rather than sit out a year as a transfer student.

“The NCAA is something that I can’t control,” he said. “If they grant me the waiver, I’m happy. If not, I’m just going to cheer my teammates on and wait till next year.”

Fans will have to wait a while to see all the Huskies on the court. The annual First Night celebration, marking the start of practice, has been cancelled this year because of ongoing work to replace the roof of Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies will have their first full practice on Sept. 30. The game schedule is expected to be released on Friday.

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