Rick Stansbury’s long been known for his ability to recruit talent of the highest level. On Wednesday, he showed he doesn’t need to be at the sport’s highest level to do it.
Mitchell Robinson, a consensus top-20 recruit in the 2017 class, committed to Stansbury and Western Kentucky, giving the Hilltoppers a monster recruit for Conference USA, according to multiple reports.
The 7-footer from Louisiana was previously committed to Texas A&M, where Stansbury worked as an assistant under Billy Kennedy, but de-committed a month after Stansbury left for Bowling Green, Ky.
It’s hard to overstate the immensity of this recruiting coup for Stansbury as he begins his second stint as a head coach after spending 14 years at the helm of Mississippi State. A prospect of Robinson’s caliber attending a non-traditional power or a program outside the Power 5 just almost never happens. Emmanuel Mudiay signed with SMU in 2014, but eventually wound up overseas after eligibility issues. The Mustangs also got Keith Frazier, but he played only a semester for them and was at the center of an NCAA investigation that ultimately ended with significant sanctions. Danuel House (Houston), Winston Shephard (San Diego State) and Adjehi Baru (Charleston) are the only other top-30 recruits in the past five years to sign and play for a school of that ilk. It’s quite the accomplishment for Stansbury and Co.
The key, of course, will be for Stansbury will be to keep Robinson in the fold and then surround him with solid – if not necessarily blue chip – players. And the knock against Stansbury in Starkville was his lack of big-time success with big-time talent. With Robinson, he’ll have the opportunity to change that perception.