From an offensive standpoint, Michigan coach John Beilein will tell you the small forward and power forward positions are one and the same just on different sides of the floor, so for Robinson III, the transition from one spot to the other shouldn’t be difficult.
The difference will be in his responsibility. Averaging 11 points and just over five rebounds per game in 2012-13, Robinson III no longer looks into the back court to see Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. who combined for a giant slice of the Wolverines’ offensive production a year ago.
Now, part of that onus falls directly on his shoulders, no longer tasked with constantly battling bigger, stronger power forwards on the defensive end, and free to get shots up and attack defenses on the other.
“We’re trying to put him in so many situations where he’s just playing ball but making the court really big for him so he really can use that athleticism,” John Beilein said recently. “He’s really comfortable.
“You see him on both sides of the floor, you’ll see him in the middle, you’ll see him all over the place, and we all have known he’s been able to shoot it but as I’ve told you all before, there’s about 25 shots that Tim and Trey were taking (that are out there for other people right now).
“He did a great job last year of realizing that those guys are really good players. And now, there’s going to be many opportunities for him like that.”
As evident as ever in Michigan’s exhibition season opener Tuesday night in a win over Concordia, Robinson III came out ready to go from the tip, exploding off the floor for highlight dunks on the fast break, plucking down rebounds, and showing an improved amount of confidence not only in his outside shot, but mid-range as well.
Robinson III led all scorers with 33-points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field with four assists to one turnover and two steals defensively.
“I hope this is just the start,” Robinson III said. “I’ve been working really hard in the off-season on my game, I think there’s a lot more to come.
“A lot of people really don’t know my style of basketball or how hard I play just because we had different guys who could do that last year. We have multiple guys who are capable of doing that this year and I just have to have my nights where I have to step-up.”
Robinson III was voted as a Preseason All Big Ten performer during Thursday’s Big Ten basketball media day.
Video of Robinson III after the Wolverines win over Concordia.