After deciding to return for his sophomore season with good friend Mitch McGary, Robinson III went through some mental hurdles dealing with some internal frustration after being forced to slide back down to the four spot following the back injury to McGary.
Eventually letting his cooler head prevail, Robinson III once again sacrificed his own numbers and some production for the good of the team, helping guide Michigan to their second straight Elite Eight appearance in as many seasons and coming up with some big shots late in games.
Declaring for the draft in 2014, Robinson III had hopes of being selected in the first round and though it didn’t happen, falling to No. 40 in the second round after being taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Robinson III is ready to move forward with his new home.
“I wasn’t in New York, I had a family event and it was really exciting,” Robinson III said. “I got there and I was really excited and as the selection show went on I got kind of nervous but I knew my name was going to be called.
“I was just grateful to have the opportunity to be behind this Timberwolves organization and just very excited to get going.”
Under recruited and a little late to develop at the high school level, Michigan and Coach John Beilein showed faith in Robinson III’s potential down the road.
Capitalizing on that potential at Michigan, a part of winning 59 games over his two seasons with the Wolverines, Robinson III believes that prep has him ready to make the step to the NBA level.
“Coach Beilein, to me, really has a system that fits well for us to translate to the next level,” Robinson III. “He has his system but there’s times where we have the freedom to kind of play and we all know how to play the game of basketball and we just executed it well.
“We got up and down the floor and really he gave us a chance to succeed and, that’s the only reason I’m up here today is because I was able to fit in that system and play within our team.”
Not only that, Robinson III was playing alongside four first round picks over his two seasons.
Now with the Timberwolves, Robinson III might be unsure whether or not he’ll get the chance to team up with scoring forward Kevin Love, but can’t wait to be on the receiving end of some alley oops from European sensation Ricky Rubio.
“I’d definitely say Ricky,” Robinson III said. “Just because playing with Trey Burke, a great point guard at Michigan. And really seeing how well (Ricky) controls the offense and how well he can move the ball and a pass first point guard, I really look forward to that connection. I see a lot of highlights coming soon.”
Heeding the advice of his father Glenn Robinson who played in the NBA from 1994-2005, Robinson III said his father told him to enjoy every moment leading up to the only draft he’ll ever be a part of.
Now a professional, Robinson III is eager to call basketball his career.
“Now, it’s all about basketball,” he said. “We don’t have classes to go to. When we got to practice, when we’re working out, it’s your choice what you want to do with your free time and it’s how you handle that so I have no doubt in my mind both of us will do that the right way and succeed out of it.”
While both LaVine and Robinson III are tremendous athletes, arguably two of the best in the NBA draft this year, their new coach Flip Saunders believes there’s more layers to both games.
“I think a little bit that goes unnoticed, cause they talk about their athleticism cause it’s through the roof, but they’re skilled players,” Saunders said. “Both have the ability to shoot if you look at their shooting percentages especially Glenn the last four weeks of the season.”
“Their main thing is going to be to keep on improving,” Saunders added. “You know when you have 19 year olds that are athletic and skilled and they’re willing to work, as I said before, that’s really half the battle.
“I’m not going to put a limit as far as how much they’ll play, that’s really up to them as to how well they’ll integrate with our players and you give them the opportunities.”