Highly touted incoming Pitt point guard James Robinson college-ready
By John Grupp
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
With so much spotlight on five-star center Steven Adams, it's easy for point guard James Robinson to get lost in the shadows.
Until you spot that shiny thing around his neck.
Like Adams, the gold medal-winning Robinson brings a college-ready game as he arrives for his freshman season at Pitt.
“Whatever I can do to help the team,” he said, “that's what I'm going to try to do.”
That is the kind of attitude that coach Jamie Dixon admires, especially when it comes attached to a highly motivated, top-60, four-star guard.
“He knows he's got a lot of work to do,” Dixon said, watching Robinson, Adams and fellow Class of 2012 freshman Chris Jones at the Pro-Am Summer League on Monday in Greentree.
“He realizes he's got to play the same way he plays and he doesn't have to change. Just play solid and make his teammates better.”
That shouldn't be a problem.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Robinson, the fourth-ranked point guard in the Class of 2012, according to ESPNU, played at nationally ranked DeMatha (Md.) Catholic — winning more games (120) than anyone in the history of that program — and brought home a gold medal from Brazil last week with Team USA at the 2012 FIBA U18 Championships.
He averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 assists for the undefeated Americans (6-0), coached by Florida's Billy Donovan, and committed only two turnovers in 93 minutes.
“It was a really great experience,” said Robinson, who also played for Team USA in April at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Ore. “It was kind of like an intro to college.”
Robinson arrived at Pitt this past weekend and took part in his first individual workout Monday, guarding mainly sophomore Cam Wright.
Later that night, he played in his first summer-league game, where his teammates include Adams, transfer Trey Zeigler and junior wing Lamar Patterson.
Robinson finished with three points on 1 of 6 shooting, along with two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers.
He showed his toughness after slamming into the padded basket following a collision with 6-9, 240-pound overseas pro Jakim Donaldson.
With Tray Woodall entering his senior season — and still sidelined from sports hernia surgery — Robinson can provide valuable minutes.
A lack of point guard depth was a key factor as last season fell apart with Woodall sidelined by a groin/abdomen injury.
“As long as I'm on the court, I think I can make an impact on the game,” Robinson said. “If I'm not on the court, I will be the best cheerleader from the bench. Whatever my role is this year, I'm going to embrace it.”
John Grupp is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7930.
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