From 2000-2005, Maryland’s Cliff Warren served as an assistant under head coach Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech. Naturally, during his five seasons in Atlanta, Warren established a rapport with the nearby high schools and their coaches, meeting them at camps, clinics and the like.
One of those coaches just happened to be Frank Robinson, the father of Douglas County (Douglasville, Ga.) four-star combo guard Brandon Robinson, a primetime class of 2016 talent, who the Terps have prioritized on the recruiting trail.
“Coach Cliff and I have known each other forever – a really long time,” said the 6-foot-5, 170-pound Robinson, who holds offers from Maryland, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Memphis, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Tulsa. “Back when I was little my dad introduced me to Coach Cliff when we used to go up to Georgia Tech for camps and things. [Warren] used to always say hi to me and talk to me when I was little, and that meant so much to me. Coach Cliff and my dad formed like a friendship, and I just got to know [Warren] more from there.”
When Warren arrived at Maryland in 2014, it didn’t take him long to reach out to the Robinsons once again. At the time, Brandon Robinson was a budding sophomore, just starting to show out for the Georgia Stars AAU program.
“Coach Cliff was the one who told Coach [Mark] Turgeon at Maryland about me, and ever since Coach Cliff got there they’ve been on me hard,” Robinson said. “When I’m looking at schools, the main thing I look for is relationships and people I can trust. I have to trust in you and believe in you, and I know I can trust Coach Cliff, because he’s known me since I was little. I know Coach Cliff will look out for me.”
Warren, along with Turgeon, watched Robinson intently during the two live evaluation periods. Then, in late April, the headman went in-home with the Robinsons, leaving an impression on both Brandon and Frank.
“Coach Turgeon is a really good guy, and he’s easy to talk to. He definitely wants me at Maryland, and he showed that by coming to my home,” Robinson said. “He was explaining to us how I’d fit into their system and how he sees me as a combo guard, working alongside Anthony Cowan and some other guys. He likes to play three guards, so there’d definitely be room for all of us to get time, which I really liked. Coach Turgeon thinks I could fit in really well at Maryland, because of my intelligence, my toughness and how well I see the floor and read and react.
“And I think it’s a great system; Maryland gets up and down, they get a lot of guys involved and they move the ball. My father liked what Coach Turgeon was saying too; we both think it would be a great fit.”
Robinson has also taken note of the national attention Maryland’s been garnering of late. He said it’s obvious the program is on the rise with the addition of transfer Rasheed Sulaimon and class of 2015 four-star center Diamond Stone.
“Maryland is going to be a top team, a championship contender next year,” Robinson said. “That definitely makes them stand out. It’s definitely a school I want to look at and visit. It’s a really great program up there, and Coach Turgeon is doing something special.”
The only other program that went in-home with Robinson in April was Florida State. The Georgia guard said the Seminoles rank right up there with the Terps given their longstanding relationship with him.
“I have a terrific connection with Florida State too,” Robinson said. “Their one coach, we have a great rapport and he’s like a father figure to me. It’s more than just basketball with us; we talk about everything and always stay in touch. Florida State was on me before anyone else, and I really feel comfortable there. They really want me and are showing a lot of love.”
Some other schools “showing a lot of love” include Florida, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Tennessee. Robinson said a lot of programs have been contacting his coaches and his father recently, but the aforementioned schools are the ones he’s personally had contact with the most.
During the live period, meanwhile, Robinson said he noticed assistants from UF, FSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Maryland, Wake Forest, Alabama and Stanford in the stands watching.
“I think I played pretty good in the live period, and I think I opened up some eyes,” Robinson said. “I’m hard on myself so I always think I could’ve played better, but I think I did OK. My team played good; we only lost two games in both sessions.
“But I’m always looking for things to personally improve on -- like shooting, ball-handling, defense, everything. But I feel like I offered great help defense and I got my teammates involved. I probably could’ve scored a little more, but that’s not the role I’m asked to play all the time. As long as I’m getting my teammates involved, I’m OK with not scoring.
“And after [the evaluation periods] the things the coaches were saying they loved about me is my versatility and how I can affect the game in a lot of different ways. In my opinion I’m one of the most versatile players in my class. If I’m not scoring, well, I can defend three positions, I can get my teammates involved and set other people up. I can do a lot of different things to affect a game, and that’s why I think I have the interest I do.”
Indeed, Robinson has drawn plenty of interest and offers. Now, it’s a matter of finding a mutual fit, which Robinson plans to begin hashing out in short order. He said he has no clear frontrunners at this time, since he hasn’t had a chance to go “real in-depth” yet.
“Once the school year ends I want to get into it and start looking real hard at each school that’s offered me,” Robinson said. “Like I said, relationships are big, and one thing my mom always tells me is to find a place I’ll be happy at besides basketball. She says you have to love the school, not just love the coaches or the program. I have to really like the place I’m at, so my visits and official visits are going to be important so I can really see how I fit in.”
So far Robinson has seen Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Auburn and Alabama. In the summer, he plans to trek to Maryland, UF, Miami and possibly Tennessee. He’ll also be taking official visits, but has “no idea” who might receive one down the line.
As far as a potential decision date is concerned, Robinson said he’d like to have his school selected by the early signing period next November -- if possible.
“I change my mind all the time. My dad just tells me to make my decision when I feel it’s right and I’m confident in a school,” Robinson said. “Hopefully I can sign early and get it done then, so then it can just be over with. But if I have to extend it, I will.”
Robinson, UMD Have Mutual Interest,Connection
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