Weight over, ER3 onto the "learning part"

For so long the focus has been on cutting weight for Elbert Robinson III. Now LSU's 7-foot-1 freshman center is onto a different phase of his progression with the season nearing.

The weight is over, at long last, for LSU freshman center Elbert Robinson III.

And no, there’s no typo there, because for some time now ER3 has been waiting to stop talking about those lbs – how many of them he had, has and is planning to have.

It’s not that there wasn’t just concern on the part of coaches, fans and other onlookers. Robinson, a 7-foot-1 southpaw from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, ballooned up to 328 pounds at one point during his senior year at Lakeview Centennial.

His high school mentality, shared in an interview this July when Robinson arrived on campus at 301 pounds, spoke volumes about how things spiraled.

“In high school I was eating anything I wanted to eat. I wasn’t taking it as serious as I should have taken it,” Robinson admitted. “But when I got here I was like ‘There are a lot of expectations, so I’ve gotta get my body right to be prepared for the season.’ Eating right has been a big factor.”

The result: Robinson now tips the scales at a lean 265 pounds and is more than happy to move on to the next discussion when it comes to his debut season in the purple and gold.

“The weight part is out the way, that’s all good. Now it’s about the learning part – the plays, all that,” Robinson said on the eve of LSU’s first practice last week. “But by losing the weight I’m learning how to get better position. I used to bully people on the block, but now it’s a little different.”

Refining his technique will be critical for Robinson, who figured out quickly this summer in open-court sessions that the gap in size and strength is narrowed from his prep days. “For a while there it was pretty tough, but now I’m getting used to it,” he explained. “The coaches have been helping me on it.”

Robinson makes no bones about the fact he considers himself a defensive player first, stressing he takes “a lot of pride protecting the rim.” The first-year player feels that makes him different than the Tigers’ formidable inside presence from the last three seasons, Johnny O’Bryant.

“We have some similarities, but I think we’re different because I’m a defensive player,” Robinson told TSD over the summer. “I like playing defense, blocking shots – I love that. Getting defensive rebounds, too, that’s my game.”

The big man in the middle, who turns 20 on Tuesday, is relying on his prowess on that end of the floor until he figures out exactly where he fits elsewhere with LSU’s returning talent.

“Not exactly,” Robinson answered when asked if he’s found his place yet offensively, “but I’m pretty sure it will come soon.”

For a young man who shed 63 pounds over the span of 10-12 months, patience shouldn’t be an issue. Now let’s all agree to just stop talking about the waistline and focus on how Robinson performs near the baseline.


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