There's nothing quite like a growth spurt. Devin Robinson grew relatively late as a teenager, first making an impression as a rising junior at the 2012 Reebok Breakout Classic. At that time he stood 6-6 and projected as a pure wing forward, and he'd yet to hear from a single collegiate program.
Fast forward to spring, 2013, and he'd gained another couple inches and suddenly began to look more like a 6-8, face-up power forward. And that for a player who actually is a Class of 2013 recruit by age, so clearly the decision to re-classify made great sense for a player still developing physically.
He toured Adidas Eurocamp in the early summer and then arrived at the NBPA Top 100 Camp with immense fanfare. While scouts had evaluated most of his peers heavily by that point, Robinson carried a great deal of mystery. That week in Charlottesville, Va., he proved he belonged in the country's top tier.
He brought that momentum to Las Vegas for the LeBron James Skills Academy and then, repeating his footsteps from the year prior, the Reebok Breakout Classic. Robinson's ultimate position may remain under contention, but that stretch of events lifted his stock to the elite level.
Numerous high-major programs offered or at least expressed serious interest, but by late August he was ready to cut his list. This fall, he considered Indiana, Notre Dame, Florida, Connecticut and Oklahoma State before pledging to the Gators.
Long athleticism stands out first. Robinson boasts terrific height and reach for a player with legitimate perimeter skills, qualities that could become a career-long attribute versus even the world's best players. He's able to make plays over the top of even those forwards considered tall for their position.
He shoots confidently to 23 feet and wields a steady, unbroken stroke that should improve significantly with repetition. His athleticism makes him a formidable finisher above the rim, and he's simply able to outreach many big guys for rebounds.
His defensive potential also is outstanding, particularly inside. He uses his length and quick leap to pick shots out of the air as a helpside defender, and he recovers very effectively challenging perimeter jump shots.
Like many late-bloomers, the fact that Robinson blew up late may prove beneficial. He didn't experience the early high school or even junior high coddling that occurs frequently on the grassroots circuit, and thus his game lacks some of the unnecessary drama that sometimes exists for top prospects.
As referenced above, the positional argument continues to rage. A consensus opinion has emerged here at Scout.com that Robinson is best-suited for power forward, at least for college.
That's primarily true for two reasons: His ballhandling and his defense. Robinson doesn't handle terribly, but he also lacks true wing dribbling skills and thus doesn't slash or create for himself as much as his athleticism suggests he would. He's much better catching and shooting or taking a few dribbles into his shot, rather than lining up a defender and creating something from nothing.
Meanwhile, though he slides his feet very well defensively for a 6-8 power forward, shorter wings give him problems off the bounce. He's also such an effective shotblocker that he simply gets more done inside. In that sense he's a victim of his own success.
Down the road, however, Robinson's jump shot — and overall rapid progress — may enable him to make the transition to the wing. Nevertheless, for now we definitely prefer him as a four-man.
Robinson's rise is recent and his game is modern. He possesses the potent shooting range desired in today's game, and his size and length are plus-attributes that likely could sustain him for many years.
His most complete basketball may reside in the intermediate future, but even as a freshman and sophomore he projects as a big-time player based on his ability to accomplish significant achievements inside and out. He has ample time to develop holistic balance.