Mar 30, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III (1) shoots over Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) in the first half in the finals of the midwest regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

GR3: To get to the NBA, stay in school!

Mar 30, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III takes the court before the finals of the midwest regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament against the Kentucky Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

(Since the Wolverines exited the NCAA tournament, the chief topic of discussion has been whether one, two or three players would leave Ann Arbor for the NBA. An early morning conversation prompted me to share the following article from Chuck Bloom, a distinguished former co-worker at the Michigan Daily.

Born and raised in Detroit, Mich., Chuck attended the University of Michigan  (Class of 1974) and was assistant sports editor of the Michigan Daily. He also spent 2 ½ years as a student assistant in the U-M sports information department.

Chuck arrived in Texas in 1976 to begin his journalistic career as sports editor/columnist of the Conroe Daily Courier in suburban Houston and worked for newspapers in the Texas Gulf Coast, Hill Country and suburban Dallas.  A regular contributor to mgotalk.com,  he still maintains a somewhat consistent blog – chuckbloom.blogspot.com

Now that Michigan’s run through the NCAA basketball tournament is over, the one question to be asked by Wolverine World is whether sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III will return to Ann Arbor for another year or two, or bolt for a chance to play in the NBA.

Simply put, he should STAY put where he resides for another 12 months – if he wishes to become an NBA player worthy of a top contract.

Let’s begin with an agreed assumption: In a draft class without an immediate impact player (according to several NBA scouts and general managers), Glenn Robinson III is NOT a 2014 NBA Draft lottery pick. He is just not among the top 14 players eligible for those NBA squads searching for help right away.

Now that Michigan’s run through the NCAA basketball tournament is over, the one question to be asked by Wolverine World is whether sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III will return to Ann Arbor for another year or two, or bolt for a chance to play in the NBA.

Now that Michigan’s run through the NCAA basketball tournament is over, the one question to be asked by Wolverine World is whether sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III will return to Ann Arbor for another year or two, or bolt for a chance to play in the NBA.

Potential to do more

For two seasons at Michigan, Robinson has neither been the go-to player nor star for the Wolverines; he’s been a fine complimentary player with the potential to do so much more as he matures.

Second assumption finds leaving Michigan to simply be a second-round choice (and thus, not receiving a guaranteed contract that first-rounders achieve) is not a good career move. The odds of going through the Developmental League versus what the competition in the Big 10 provides heavily favor the college game.

Just ask former Wolverines Manny Harris and Darius Morris how it feels to play in Reno, Nev. McAllen, Texas, or the other D-League bus trips; hell, Harris left the D-League to go play in Turkey. There only three former U-M players in the NBA – Jamal Crawford (1999-2000) with the Clippers, Trey Burke (2012-13) with the Jazz and teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. (2011-13) with the Knicks. That’s it! Because space on NBA rosters is SO limited, you have to be a standout in college to worm your way into the Association.

Would compete with LeBron

Even if Robinson were to be a late first-round selection, he would be competing against a crowded field at small forward (which is what he’d be). But, in all honesty, is he better than the following small forwards for the possible late first-round teams? That would include LeBron James (Miami), Kwahi Leonard (Spurs), Kevin Durant (OKC), Paul George (Indiana), Trevor Ariza (Washington), Shawn Marion (Dallas), Mike Batum (Portland), Paul Pierce (Brooklyn), Chandler Parsons (Houston), Tayshaun Prince (Memphis) or Andre Iguodala (Golden State)? No, not for the next 3-4 years. And there are others who are better than GR3 on lousy teams (Luol Deng, Nick Young, Rudy Gay and … Carmelo Anthony).

But Robinson is still able to insert himself in an upcoming NBA draft as a lottery choice. For him to excel in the land where his father WAS a star, the younger “Big Dog” must do three things:

1) He must dominate the opposition at his position; 2) he must develop a strong mid-range game and post-up moves; and 3) he must get stronger and better as a rebounder.

Watchful eye of Coach Beilein

And to improve those important facets to the game, Robinson must stay at Michigan and continue his development under the watchful eye of Coach John Beilein. Sitting on an NBA bench for 2-3 seasons will not advance that agenda.

Hopefully, he obtains sound, wise and experienced counsel from people he trusts, from his family (especially his father who has been through both wars on the hardcourt) and others in the basketball community he respects.

Teammate Mitch McGary, who would’ve been a lottery pick in June, must also return to U-M in order to prove to NBA general managers that his back is sound and withstand the pounding of a collegiate season, let alone an 82-game NBA calendar.

If those two front-line players will publicly commit to another year at Michigan, perhaps sophomore guard Nik Stauskus will also agree to play for the Wolverines. That troika, plus Caris LaVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin, will automatically give Michigan a leg-up on the 2015 Final Four, and possible NCAA title. Add a quality recruiting class to add some needed depth to a short rotation, and it could change Michigan basketball fortunes for two decades’ time.

But it begins with Robinson, who simply is NOT ready for that type of prime time action…not right now. ♦

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

 

 

 

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