Glenn Robinson III’s struggles this season have been well documented throughout this season. In many ways, what he has gone through this year mirrors some of the problems that he had last year during his freshman season at Michigan.
That being said, when he, along with Mitch McGary, announced after last year that they would be passing on entering the NBA Draft and staying at least another year at Michigan, expectations rose.
McGary gets a bit of a free pass because has been battling a nagging back injury all season that required surgery. He likely does not return this year.
Robinson, on the other hand, is a complete mystery.
A five-star prospect and top-twenty player coming out of high school in 2012, Robinson has a plethora of talent at his disposal. People like to dog recruiting rankings, but where he was put reflected that, and he showed flashes of being a star during his freshman year.
It is not hard to see why Robinson performed as a role player would last season. Playing with the likes of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. takes the pressure off of a ton of guys to perform at the highest level, but he had a solid season, averaging 11 points, 5.4 rebounds, and shooting 57% from the field.
Even with being a role player for the Wolverines in their run to the National Championship game, NBA scouts thought that Robinson was a potential lottery pick with the chance to move even higher up boards because of a weak draft class.
Burke and Hardaway left, while Robinson and McGary decided to stay to work on their games and keep the Wolverines at the top of the Big Ten, making them the two guys that were expected to carry the team on their backs this year. (No McGary pun intended.)
Flash forward to the here and now, where the Wolverines are currently tied for first place in the conference, so in a roundabout way, McGary and Robinson returning have meant Michigan hasn’t lost a step.
The disappointing thing is that Robinson has hardly factored into that success at all. He is an important piece, yes, but the team could have put some more distance between themselves and the Spartans over the last five games if they had gotten a bit more out of him.
Not much has improved in Robinson’s game over the last two seasons. His scoring average is up to 12.8 points per game, but his rebounds are down, he is shooting only 48 percent from the floor, and it has become extremely apparent that he does not like contact.
When his jump shot is off early, it throws off his confidence for the rest of the game. A way to regain confidence throughout a game is to find a way to get easy buckets, but in order to get those easy buckets, you have to be willing to create for yourself and drive to the rim, and Robinson is shy to do that far too often.
Talent is not the issue here. Anybody who has seen Robinson when he is on would agree that he is one of the more athletic and talented wing players in college basketball, but those types of breakout performances have become more of the exception rather than the norm.
This current team is as talented as any other that the program has ever thrown out there. Sure, McGary is probably done this year, but knowing what Robinson is capable of packaged with the likes of the extremely talented freshman duo of Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin, along with out-of-nowhere performer Caris Levert, this team can make a special run again this year.
First, the goal is to win the Big Ten Conference, and with a huge showdown game with Michigan State on Sunday afternoon at home, Robinson needs to rise to the occasion and help the Wolverines grab this conference title by the horns.