Nasir Robinson Fits The Mold

The first time the Pitt coaching staff saw freshman forward Nasir Robinson play, he just knew the former Chester, Pa. High School player would be a perfect fit for the Panthers.

In one sequence, Nasir Robinson posted up his man inside, spun off and laid in an easy basket. On another, he ripped down a defensive rebound and fired a pass down the court for a fast-break lay-up. Robinson also had great position for a weak-side offensive rebound and put-back, and he routinely played the opposition's best offensive player at the defensive end.

Sounds like Robinson has a bright future at Pittsburgh. And through five games, albeit with just glimpses into what Robinson brings to the table, he hasn't disappointed anyone associated with the program.

"We're very happy with the way that Nasir has developed so far, but it's very early,'' Pitt associate head coach Tom Herrion said. "We believe he has a strong up-side, as do all our freshmen, so we'll see where he goes from here. But we're real happy with Nasir so far.''

Robinson debuted this season with four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes against Fairleigh Dickinson Nov. 14. He tallied six points and four more boards in 16 minutes against Miami, Ohio, but added two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes against Akron.

In Game 4 against Division II IUP, he had seven points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes, but played just 15 minutes against Belmont -- despite the absence of center DeJuan Blair -- and tallied two points and four rebounds.

"When I came in here at the beginning of the season, I was a little slow picking things up, but as the season has gone on I'm getting a lot better,'' Robinson said. "I've gotten a chance to play quite a few minutes in each game, and if I continue to improve I could earn more playing time.

"So, that's what I'm trying to do. As the practices have gone on, I've been picking up more things, and the older guys are really helping me out a lot. I can't say enough about that. So, if you would have seen me in the beginning compared to now, you'd really notice the difference in my play.''

Robinson has been playing both forward spots, but his minutes could be cut -- like they were against Belmont -- with the return of redshirt sophomore Gilbert Brown from a stress fracture. The duo likely will be primary backups to senior Sam Young at small forward (three), as opposed to the four (power forward).

"I like the three a little bit more, because at the four I have to go against some bigger guys,'' Robinson said. "But I can always take him up top and then beat him off the dribble. (But) we've used a lot of different lineups, so I've gotten a chance to play with a lot of different guys.

"Gilbert, when he returns to full strength, he's going to get a lot of minutes at the three behind Sam. So, I'll have a lot of work to do to get playing time there. But next year, when Sam is gone, Gilbert and me should be the main guys there. At least that's the way it looks right now.''

Robinson praised Tyrell Biggs for his assistance in the younger player's development so far, and Pitt's senior forward returned the compliment.

"Nasir's a hard worker, and I think he's going to be a great player in this program as long as he keeps it up,'' Biggs said. "He has some good offensive skills, but he can work on improving those. And he already plays good defense and likes to rebound, so that's even more important here.''

And it's the main reason that Robinson is a perfect fit at Pitt.

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