For Michigan freshman Glenn Robinson III, utilizing his size and strength was just one of the ways he impacted the game at Lake Central (IN) High School. With long arms, a staggering vertical, and the natural ability to put the ball on the floor, Robinson could find himself in a similar role for the Wolverines.
"I've been playing the two, three all my life, and a little bit of four too," said Robinson III. "So just keep working in the system and keep following that and we'll see where it goes."
Lauded by sophomore Trey Burke as possibly the most athletic guy on the team, Robinson fit right in throughout summer workouts and open gyms. Part of the reason the son of the "Big Dog" seamlessly transitioned from home to college life is because he didn't wait to get to Ann Arbor to begin preparing his body for Big Ten basketball.
"I was fortunate enough to have a trainer actually back in high school my senior year," said Robinson III. "He helped me put on weight and I was on a program. Even here, our strength coach, Coach Sanderson, has helped a lot coming here. We do some Olympic lifts and I'm just naturally gifted like this, so it does help a lot with the body and size."
With the added size and athleticism Robinson III possesses, Michigan head coach John Beilein is looking closely at the NBA and the role a scoring forward or the traditional "four" spot has transformed into over the last few years.
"If you look in the NBA playoffs, who was playing the four-man for Oklahoma City late?" asked Beilein. "It was Kevin Durant. And who was playing four-man for the Heat? That would be LeBron James. So that four-man sometimes can go so you have four guards out on the floor or you could play really big. It depends on who you are playing."
Regardless of position, the added hours and individual time spent between players and coaches inside the William Davidson Player Development Center have already played a key role in Robinson III's progression in a little over three months time on campus.
"That was very important," said Robinson III of the extra individual work. "Not even basketball wise. I know getting around campus --- I know everything now. I learned a lot because of that, and having to do it with basketball has helped a lot. I know Coach B was saying that the freshmen last year didn't get that opportunity."
And Robinson is quickly applying what he is learning. "It is one thing to get information," said Beilein, "it is another thing putting it right into action. Glenn Robinson has had a couple of times where he took information, he gathered it and he was doing it 10 minutes later. With all our freshmen, we've seen that."
The freshmen class as a whole, who, coming in, have created a significant amount of buzz inside and outside of the basketball program, didn't walk through the doors hoping for red carpet and confetti. What the new five in town did expect and hope for is that they could step right in and blend themselves with the rest of the program. While that plan is definitely working now, the first open gym let the veterans know that business, in the talent department, had picked up quite a bit.
"I remember, I think it was all five of us freshmen on the same team, and we came away with the victory. And then the upperclassmen came back, kind of looked at each other and were like ‘okay we got to step our game up a little bit,' and they came back the next game and beat us," said Robinson III.
Depth and competition will only make Robinson III and the rest of the Wolverines better as they begin preparation in earnest for the 2012-13 season.
To watch video of Robinson III from media day, press play below.