Virginia Tech senior point guard Justin Robinson remains sidelined with a left foot injury. Continuing to wear a protective boot on his foot during warmups as the No. 11 Hokies prepare to face No. 16 Louisville on Monday night, Robinson is missing his second consecutive game after missing Saturday’s Virginia Tech win over N.C. State.
Robinson injured his toe on his left foot last Wednesday in a win over Miami as head coach Buzz Williams said after that game that Robinson is out indefinitely. After Monday’s top-25 ACC showdown with Louisville, Virginia Tech gets a winnable three-game conference stretch before a rematch with top-five Virginia.
Putting up 14.4 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game on 47 percent shooting and 41 percent three-point shooting, Robinson has been one of the nation’s best floor generals this season. A depleted Virginia Tech team is already facing a limited roster of scholarship players thanks to injuries and suspensions as they’ll need Robinson back as soon as possible so they aren’t running multiple players 40 minutes per game.
While Virginia Tech’s defense proved to be unbelivable during Saturday’s win over N.C. State, Ahmed Hill, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Wabissa Bede all played 40 minutes each in the victory.
Robinson’s injury uncertainty also caused him to be removed as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award — released on Monday afternoon. Boston College’s Ky Bowman replaced Robinson as a finalist for the award.
Virginia Tech lost a piece to its frontline on Thursday, as the program announced that sophomore forward Khadim Sy had left the program.
“We are genuinely grateful for the fifteen months Khadim was part of our program, and all he contributed on and off the floor,” Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said in a statement. “I will be watching the rest of his career unfold, and wish him only great things.”
Originally considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, the 6-foot-10 Sy picked the Hokies over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Miami, and Purdue. In his lone season in Blacksburg, he started in 28 of 32 games, averaging 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game.
Sy’s departure leaves Virginia Tech’s front court in an even more precarious situation entering the 2017-18 season. Zach LeDay, the team’s top scorer and rebounder from a season ago, has graduated. Chris Clarke is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in February. Ty Outlaw suffered an ACL tear of his own less than two months ago. Kerry Blackshear Jr. returns after missing all of this past season in order to recover from a foot injury.
The only other forwards on Virginia Tech’s roster are freshman P.J. Horne and 6-foot-10 Nick Fullard, who sat out last season after transferring from a Division II program.
Since late July, Buzz Williams has lost two returning starters. The Hokies still have a strong backcourt led by the veteran trio of Ahmed Hill, Justin Robinson, and Justin Bibbs. Even with a healthy Clarke and a healthy Blackshear, depth up front is a serious concern for the Hokies
Virginia Tech opens its season on Nov. 10 against Detroit Mercy.
While the antics of the Monmouth Bench Mob have certainly been entertaining to this point in the season, it’s important to realize that the players these reserves are celebrating are pretty doggone good. King Rice’s team added another win over a power conference opponent to its résumé as they won 83-68 at Georgetown Tuesday night.
The Hawks, who have also beaten UCLA, Notre Dame and USC, outplayed the Hoyas from the start as they picked up their first-ever win over a Big East opponent (1-30). Je’lon Hornbeak lead a balanced effort with 18 points as Monmouth shot 10-for-20 from three and 31-for-37 from the foul line. Monmouth didn’t shoot an impressive percentage from the field overall (42.9 percent), but their ability to attack Georgetown off the dribble resulted in numerous opportunities from three by way of using the dribble drive to kick the ball out to open shooters.
With options such as Hornbeak, Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn and Deon Jones, the Hawks have multiple players capable of hurting teams off the bounce, and that’s what happened to Georgetown. The Hoyas began the game with subpar energy, which is a bit surprising given Monmouth’s credentials to this point in the season, and the visitors too advantage. By the time Georgetown was fully engaged in the game it was too late, with Monmouth doing a solid job on the defensive end.
Georgetown shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 7-for-30 from three, and outside of freshman Jessie Govan (14 points, four rebounds) they didn’t get much offensively from their big men. Monmouth has players in the post, but that was one aspect of the matchup where the Hoyas should have been able to grab the advantage. Instead they struggled, with Bradley Hayes scoring just one point and Marcus Derrickson three.
King Rice’s veteran team plays without fear and doesn’t back down from anyone, which is a big reason why they’re off to a 7-3 start and have one of the better résumés in college basketball to this point in the season. Nothing wrong with taking joy in the exploits of the players at the end of the bench, but it’s important to understand that Monmouth is for real.
Could the Hawks be an at-large candidate come March? That remains to be seen as there’s a lot of basketball to be played, but there’s no overlooking what they’ve been able to accomplish to this point.
Five ranked teams fell on Thanksgiving Day, with one of those being 17th-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish ran into Monmouth, which already had a win at UCLA to its credit, at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando and lost 70-68 after Justin Robinson hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining.
The Hawks are now 3-1 on the season, with their lone defeat coming at the hands of a USC team that has also surprised people with their strong start. Above is video of the Hawks’ locker room celebration, complete with Austin Tilghman proclaiming that the Hawks “have the juice,” Daniel Pillari enjoying some of said juice and Robinson making it known that besides themselves and their fans “nobody knew we were going to come in here and do this.”
Next up for Monmouth is Dayton in Friday’s semifinals, with the Flyers coming off of a highly-entertaining win over Iowa.
Video credit: Monmouth Digital Network
Less than two weeks after they opened their season with an upset win at UCLA, Monmouth picked up its first-ever win over a team ranked in the AP Top 25.
Two Justin Robinson free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as King Rice’s Hawks upset No. 17 Notre Dame at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, and the diminutive point guard was a problem for the Fighting Irish all night.
Robinson scored 22 points, with 14 of them coming from the foul line as Notre Dame’s guards struggled to keep the quick guard contained off the dribble. He was one of three Hawks to score in double figures, and their combination of depth and athleticism proved problematic for Mike Brey’s team. All five Notre Dame starters scored in double figures, with Demetrius Jackson’s 20 leading the way, but the lack of depth proved problematic as the game wore on.
Notre Dame didn’t get a single point from its bench, with Matt Farrell and Matt Ryan combining to play 28 minutes. That lack of depth not only cost Notre Dame Thursday night, but it’s something they’ll have to figure out if they’re to be a contender in the ACC. Jackson and Steve Vasturia ran into foul trouble against Monmouth, and the lack of a bench option capable of picking up the slack led to Monmouth building up a ten-point lead in the second half.
Notre Dame tried to account for that by slowing down the tempo, but in doing so they struggled to find quality looks against the Monmouth defense. And given the players at Rice’s disposal, it’s tough to slow the game down against a team that can get after you on both ends of the floor.
Monmouth entered this season with expectations of contending for a MAAC title alongside the likes of perennial favorites Iona and Manhattan, and their start to the season backs up that belief. With two players in Robinson and Deon Jones who have earned all-conference honors during their careers and a host of contributors that includes guards Je’lon Hornbeak and Micah Seaborn, this is a group to keep an eye on as the season wears on.
Because if they can earn a bid, Monmouth’s non-conference schedule will have them prepared for the NCAA tournament.
Back in mid-December it was reported that 6-foot-8 forward Justin Robinson, a two-year all-state selection in Texas and the son of San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson, would join the Duke basketball program as a preferred walk-on in 2015-16. Preferred walk-on positions give players the opportunity to join the program in hopes of eventually doing enough to earn a scholarship, and that was something Robinson was on board with.
Justin was on the receiving end of some good news earlier this week regarding his status within the Duke program, as he’ll now be a scholarship player upon his arrival. News of the change was first reported by News 4 San Antonio.
Even with their late recruiting flurry, as point guard Derryck Thornton reclassified to 2015 and small forward Brandon Ingram made his pledge shortly thereafter, Duke hadn’t reached the NCAA limit of 13 scholarships. So instead of leaving one unfilled, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to give Robinson a scholarship.
Robinson will get to compete against the likes of veterans Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee, Rice transfer Sean Obi and incoming freshmen Chase Jeter and Antonio Vrankovic in practice next season. And according to the News 4 San Antonio report, Justin may still be growing. Given the pieces already in place it will likely be difficult for Robinson to earn playing time as a freshman, but that daily competition may end up benefitting both he and Duke over the long haul.
Justin’s older brother Corey is currently a wide receiver at Notre Dame, catching 40 passes for 539 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014.