Jackson Robinson withdraws from the NBA draft and transfers to Kentucky

Jackson Robinson, the 16th Big Man of the Year and one of the best transfers available in college basketball, had Kentucky fans sweating Wednesday night and then rejoicing Thursday afternoon.

After allowing the 11:59 p.m. NBA withdrawal deadline without making an official announcement on Wednesday, Robinson finally revealed his plan to return to college and transfer from BYU, where he was the leading scorer on a 23-win NCAA Championship team. Last season, he followed his former coach, Mark Pope, to Lexington. For the Wildcats, it was worth the wait.

Robinson is the 12th player and ninth to select Kentucky since Pope got the job in April, and he may be the most important. The Cats have put together a strong roster that includes a mix of solid defenders and 3-point shooters, but they still desperately need to land a wing scorer who can get buckets in a variety of ways. The 6-foot-7 Robinson, who shot 35.4 percent from 3-point range and averaged 14.2 points in just 26.4 minutes per game last season, fits that bill. The athlete He ranks as the 29th best player in the transfer portal and Kentucky’s top addition.

In BYU’s top six wins last season — Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, San Diego State and NC State — Robinson averaged 16.8 points, shot 41.5 percent from 3 and hit 16 of 17 free throws. The former top-100 recruit previously spent two seasons in the SEC, including at Texas A&M and Arkansas, before playing the final two years with Brigham Young University.

Although Pope had already flipped former BYU commit and top 40 recruit Collin Chandler to Kentucky, he had not lured any of his actual former players. Two of them signed with rival Louisville and two others withdrew out of the portal and returned to the Cougars. But Robinson was the biggest fish Pop could get from his former school, and although it took some serious patience, he finally landed the perfect piece to complete his first roster at Kentucky. The Wildcats could probably still use their 13th and final scholarship on a long-term project, but this is the scholarship they had to take.

See also  A Nevada court has ordered Jon Gruden's case to be referred to NFL arbitration

Robinson joins fellow transfers Ansley Almonor (Fairleigh Dickinson), Kobe Brea (Dayton), Lamont Butler (San Diego State), Andrew Carr (Wake Forest), Brandon Garrison (Oklahoma State), Keir Krysa (West Virginia), Otega Oweh ( Oklahoma). ) and Amari Williams (Drexel). This group combined to make 424 of 1,069 three-point attempts last season, a percentage of 39.7 percent, which would have ranked fourth nationally. Butler, Oweh and Williams are high-level defenders. Almost everyone else on the roster can shoot.

Five Wildcats — Brea, Kriisa, Almonor, Carr and Robinson — made at least 35 3s at a clip of 35 percent or better. Trent Noah, Travis Perry and Chandler, a trio of four-star freshmen, all averaged better than 40 percent from 3 as seniors in high school. Brea led the NCAA in 3-point percentage (.498) and BYU’s pop offense ranked second nationally in 3-point attempts last season. So we have a good idea of ​​how Kentucky will play offensively next season.

But what Robinson brings to the table is a player who can do more than just catch and shoot. He’s excellent at hitting his shot off the bounce or on the move and is a capable scorer inside the arc, where his size and length (6-foot-11 1/4 wingspan at the NBA Combine) help him finish at the rim. He also shot 90.8 percent from the free throw line last season.

Robinson is bigger than North Florida transfer Chaz Lanier, a wing option that chose Tennessee over Kentucky last week, and much more proven against top competition. These factors, combined with familiarity with Bob’s system, made this a perfect match. It also allowed the Wildcats to flex their incomplete muscles, because Robinson certainly had other lucrative options. It was worth the wait and whatever the cost because his addition now solidifies UK as a legitimate top 25 team heading into the season. The athleteCJ Moore had already rated the Cats before Robinson committed.

See also  The Spurs' win puts the Thunder, Wolves and Nuggets in a three-way tie atop the West

With this roster, Pope should have an NCAA Tournament team, at least, in year one.

Required reading

(Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *