Q & A: Elbert Robinson

With the distinct possibility of Johnny O'Bryant moving on after the 2013-14 season, Johnny Jones replenished LSU's post presence with the signing of 7-foot-1 center Elbert Robinson. Head inside for an exclusive chat with the big man, who details why he chose LSU and how much weight he's lost.

Of the three signees LSU basketball picked up Wednesday, center Elbert Robinson is by the far the biggest and was the most heavily recruited.

I had the chance to interview the 7-foot-1 big man from the Dallas area on Thursday night, alongside Hunt Palmer, as we co-hosted "Off the Bench" on 104.5 FM (WNXX) in Baton Rouge.

Here is the full transcript of our interview, which includes Robinson's takes on what made LSU attractive to him (he had offers from Georgetown, Ohio State and many more big-time programs), the direction of the Tiger program and where his weight is at these days.

Hunt Palmer: The first question we have to ask is why LSU? What was Coach Johnny Jones' pitch to you?

Elbert Robinson: Coach Jones, he's a great coach. We've built a great relationship together. I've been knowing him for a while. He had one of my former teammates (at North Texas), and he knows how to work with big men. He used to be an assistant coach with Shaq. He's just a great coach.

Ben Love: Johnny's working with a couple of good big men right now in Johnny O'Bryant and Jordan Mickey, who just got to campus this year. I understand you know Jordan pretty well. Talk about that friendship and where that relationship started.

ER: I met him my sophomore year, when we played against them. He's a pretty good player, very athletic.

BL: You mentioned before that Johnny has developed a lot of big men. The style of this LSU team is to get up and down the floor, but yet they still have a space for O'Bryant to dominate in the paint in halfcourt sets. How do you see yourself fitting in to that up-tempo style that LSU likes?

ER: Oh yeah, I fit in that well. That's how my high school team plays – we're up-tempo, so I definitely see myself fitting in that pretty well.

HP: All right, you've got to tell me, Elbert, because every once in a while you look in a media guide or a starting lineup and they give a player an inch or two. You're not really 7-foot-1, are you?

ER: Yes sir, I am 7-foot-1.

HP: Goodness gracias. Well then tell me about your experience on the high school level, and maybe AAU helps in this vein, but how often do you see big men relatively your size? And is it difficult sometimes to get work against guys your size like you'll be seeing in college?

ER: I mean, yeah, it's difficult to find other guys my size, but I've played against a lot of big men. I've been to a lot of skill camps and developed my game while playing against some of the top talented centers in the nation.

BL: We've got to talk to you about something else that makes you a unique big man. You're a lefty. Is that something that you feel the high school kids so far have had difficulty with because you come at them from a different angle?

ER: Yes sir. A lot of players tell me it's hard to guard me because I'm left-handed. They don't expect it and it takes an adjustment for guys.

HP: Obviously LSU has gone through a little bit of a rebuilding process, and Coach Jones has kind of put some life into this program over the past two years. The fact that they signed a really good class with Jordan Mickey, Jarell Martin and Tim Quarterman, how much of an impact did that have on you coming in a year behind those guys in your recruiting process?

ER: It made a big impact on me because I had seen that coach was really wanting the program to go far, and we're rising.

Elbert Robinson is ready to follow in Shaq's footsteps at LSU
HP: When you came in on your official visit, you got to take in a football game, but you also bumped into another 7-foot center in Shaq. What was it like meeting Shaq? And did you expect that to happen?

ER: No, I really didn't expect it, but it was a nice experience to meet him. Just great.

HP: What was his message to you?

ER: Be a Tiger. (Laughter all around)

BL: I've seen different reports that have you at 325, 330 and even 335 pounds. Where are you these days?

ER: Right now I'm at 290.

BL: 290, wow! Is that something that Coach Jones and the staff have encouraged you to do or had you already started that process before you committed and signed with LSU?

ER: I started it since this summer. I've been working out, trying to eat right and get my body right.

BL: Do you have a target goal of a playing weight you'd like to be at by the time you get to campus next year?

ER: 270, maybe 265.

HP: There were three guys that signed and sent in their National Letters of Intent. Aside from yourself, there's Jalyn Patterson, a guard from over on the east coast, and Aaron Epps, a guy from right here in Louisiana. How well do you know those guys and have y'all kind of cultivated a relationship?

ER: Yeah, me and Aaron, we text from time to time. I was on my official visit with him. He's very athletic. He's going to be a good fit in the offense. And Jalyn, I never got an opportunity to really speak with him.

BL: Staying on your official visit, usually after the prospects watch practice they get to play some with the team in open court after the coaches leave. Did you get to play some with the current team?

ER: Yes sir.

BL: What was that experience like? A lot of players have told me that's been an eye-opening experience for them as high school seniors. They figure out where they stack up, where they have to work on their game. Did it reveal some of those things for you?

ER: Yeah, when I was guarding Johnny O'Bryant, he was pretty quick and his footwork was amazing. That really encouraged me to get better on my defensive quickness and my footwork.

BL: Aside from Jordan Mickey, have you developed any friendships or relationship with any other guys on this year's team?

ER: Jarell Martin, we text from time to time.

HP: What are your goals for the rest of your high school season now that recruiting is out of the way?

ER: To try and win the state championship and be a McDonald's All-American.

BL: We'll get you out on this: Being as you're not in the state of Louisiana and you're in Texas, where there are people all around with allegiances to UT and Texas A&M, what's the reception been like since you had the big signing yesterday and now you're the LSU guy in the area, carrying that torch?

ER: It's been great. All I've gotten is good compliments. It really has been great.

What can Robinson do at LSU?


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