Coach's Corner

There's no turning back for Nate Robinson this time around. This year he has to go pro and even if he isn't selected in the first round, the dye is cast and he is destined to turn pro. Which sport is still in question but the fact is Nate has to play professionally next year at something.

I know some of you are scratching your heads and thinking, FOOTBALL? Prescisely. Nate came very close in the just completed NFL draft of being taken by the Cinncinati Bengals with one of their last two picks. They had watched the tapes and were convinced he could make it as a cornerback in professional football. I think they are probably right, as he combines an incredible jump-reach with sprinter-type speed and quickness. The fact that he also has incredible confidence is really what makes him an NFL corner prospect. He isn't intimidated by anyone and has the unique ability to time his jump at the end of a pass.
What about basketball? He was the darling of the hardwood this past season for everyone who got to watch him take the Huskies deep into the tournament.

So why won't he be a first round pick? Probably because there were so many other underclassmen guards who also declared for the draft. Call it bad timing but both of the guards off the national championship team declared, as did the guard from the national champion runners-up. They are all over six feet tall and all have more experience handling the point than Nate.

Nate was not even the point guard on his own team. Will Conroy had that distinction and the offense always ran through him when the Huskies had the ball.

Nate Robinson is a novelty. He is a crowd favorite. He is a scrapper. He is exciting. He is an off-the-charts leaper and brings an energy to the floor that is unmatched.

So why won't he be a first round pick? Well, probably because he's a 5 foot 7 ¾ inch off guard who is still developing his jumper. Those numbers will work against him. But even if he does fall to the second round, expect that he'll make a team somewhere. He has a gigantic heart but unfortunately he has poor timing.

The ironic thing is that he won't even be the first player drafted off of the Huskies. That distinction is liable to fall on Martell Webster, a high school kid who was supposed to be Nate's teammate next season.

Nate is one of the most interesting kids I've ever come across. He was difficult for both the coaches in football and basketball to handle. Don't get me wrong - not because he was a bad kid, but rather because he is very impulsive and feisty as both a player and a person. That kid is simply going at a different speed than everyone around him. He is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting figures ever in Husky sports history. I just wish that he would've finished the job and earned that degree in case pro sports don't work out. I wish he could've played both sports all throughout his career at Washington. What a legend he would've been. Heck, he still is, no matter where he gets chosen in the draft.

Personally, I wanted to see him do three sports. He is the fastest hurdler in the history of track in this state. To have been a three-sport letterman and a star in at least two would have put him in the Husky Hall of Fame. This coming year he would have owned Seattle.

It's awful tough to ignore the lure of the millions in the NBA, though. Nate had to go with his guts so he declared, and chances are pretty good that he's already taking an agent's money. He is moving on and I really believe he is going to make it. Even if he does fall to the second round with no guaranteed money, I still think he'll make it. Wouldn't it be cool if that someone was the Seattle Supersonics who take a flyer on him in the second round and keep him here in his home town?

I hope so. Top Stories