Robinson impressing Dixon with development
James Robinson was in ninth grade when Pitt coach Jamie Dixon started recruiting him.
With that type of constant influence, it's no wonder Robinson, a freshman guard, is excelling in three of the four basketball basics that his coach covets the most:
Pass properly. Protect the ball. Play tight defense.
Rebounds also are high on the coach's list, but considering Robinson is the second-shortest player on the team at 6-foot-3, Dixon gladly will accept his 2.2 per game.
“He's done a lot of good things,” Dixon said after Robinson put the clamps on South Florida guard Anthony Collins in a 64-44 Pitt victory Wednesday. “Ball movement, he's knocking down free throws. I know he's going to be a good shooter for us. We just got to get him taking that right shot at the right time.”
Robinson leads the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio (10 3⁄32, 3.2), but defense is what he does best.
Before shutting down Collins, Robinson held Syracuse's Brandon Triche and St. John's D'Angelo Harrison to a combined 5 of 26 from the floor. Add Collins' 2 for 8, and the trio shot 20.6 percent (7 for 34) in three Pitt victories.
Robinson hasn't been perfect, struggling against Marquette's Vander Blue (13 of 20, 29 points in two games) and Providence's Bryce Cotton (9 of 16, 24). But when Robinson shuts down the opponent's best guard, Pitt usually wins.
“The defending part of it, he's picked it up to a high level early in the freshman year,” Dixon said. “That's rare. He has good size, good athletic ability and smarts. He takes pride in what he is doing defensively.”
Last year, when Robinson was at DeMatha Catholic (Md.) High School, Collins scored 22 points in a 56-47 victory against Pitt. With Robinson trailing him Wednesday, Collins had only six points — and no field goals until the final 3:46 of the game.
Robinson said he didn't watch much video of last year's game, but he followed his teammates' advice.
“They told me he was going to force the issue a little bit, he's going to dribble low and he's quick,” Robinson said. “So, I just tried to give him space, just stay in front of him. I knew I had my guys on the help side, so I knew I could be a little bit aggressive.”
After 29 games, Robinson is displaying an understanding of the game, even if Dixon's demands occasionally confuse him.
“He's still figuring things out,” Dixon said. “He doesn't quite understand what I'm saying at times and that's normal for a freshman, for a lot of guys.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Bisnowaty ‘ready to go’ but may not start vs. Youngstown State
- Pitt QB Voytik learning to be more relaxed while leading offense
- ACC faces many variables on potential TV network to rival SEC, Big Ten
- Movement along the offensive line continues for Pitt as opener approaches
- Brashear cornerback Coleman picks Pitt
- Youngstown State looking for repeat performance against Pitt
- Pitt defense is entering new season with something to prove
- Pitt men’s basketball adds junior-college guard
- Injured DT Render missing from Pitt depth chart
- For freshman safety Whitehead, a role reversal at Pitt
- Pitt basketball team starting to get injured players back