March 31, 2014

Robinson excited about future at LSU

The only thing LSU basketball signee Elbert Robinson is sure of about next season is that he'll be wearing No. 3.

Beyond that it's hard to get a handle on the exact complexion of the team Robinson will be a part of with three players - Johnny O'Bryant III, Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin - still to decide about their respective futures.

Robinson - a Rivals150 member and four-star prospect - knows full what the return of at least two of those players would mean to LSU, which completed a 21-12 season last Monday in the second round of the NIT with an 80-67 loss at SMU.

Because the end of the road for LSU wound up in all places - Dallas - Robinson made the trip from his home in nearby Garland to spend time with his future teammates and coaching staff.

Robinson said he spent time last Sunday talking with Mickey and Martin at the team hotel and based his decision on their return from strictly on a gut feeling.

"I think they'll be back for one more year," Robinson said of Mickey and Martin. "Why not? We have a chance at an SEC championship and to try and get to the big (NCAA championship) game. Unless they say they're a Top 10 pick, why not come back."

Robinson - a 7-foot, 295-pounder - is considered the focal point of LSU's incoming recruiting class that features three high school signees, a junior college All-American and junior guard Keith Hornsby, who redshirted this season after transferring from UNC-Asheville.

Point guard Josh Gray of Odessa (Texas) Junior College is another headliner along with 6-9 forward Aaron Epps of Tioga and 6-foot point guard Jalyn Patterson of Montverde (Fla.) Academy.

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"I'm very excited," Robinson said. "I've been excited since signing day to get down there. I can't wait. I feel like I can go in and start and play with them. It's going to be a lot of hard work and it's not going to come easy. I'm going to have to bust my butt in practice."

Robinson completed his final season at Lakeview Centennial with a 27-6 record and loss to Allen in the third round of the state playoffs.

With opposing teams constantly collapsing their defenses around him Robinson averaged 11.7 points to go with 10.9 rebounds and 4.1 blocks, earning third team All-Area mention by the Dallas Morning News.

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"I improved but it really wasn't the season that I wanted to have because at the end of the year I started to burn out a little bit and was fatigued," Robinson said. "I started seeing a lot of triple teams but I'm a pretty good passer and hit the open man. We did some good things. It was a pretty successful season."

Since his signing Robinson attend one of LSU's home game - a season finale loss against Georgia - before the Tigers wound up at SMU after an opening-round road win over San Francisco.

Not only was he able to spend time around the team and coaches the day before the game but Robinson was at Moody Coliseum to get a closer look at LSU's system of play and the personnel he could meld with next season.

"It was pretty cool," Robinson said. "It was great seeing them because I hadn't seen them in a long time. It felt like we're a big family. Coach Jones is like another father figure. He's a good guy and DP (assistant David Patrick) is like a big brother that will be on me all the time because he sees I can be good. The rest of the guys treated me like I fit in right away with them."

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Should O'Bryant return for his senior season it's a good bet Robinson would spend time as an apprentice or possibly take over as LSU's center in the event the native of Cleveland, Miss. opts for the NBA.

What Robinson hopes for is to be able to join forces with Mickey and Martin, who blocked 106 shots, and help give the Tigers a formidable defensive unit in the paint area and around the rim.

In the half court, Robinson liked LSU's approach with O'Bryant getting his share of touches in early in the game and early in the shot clock, so that if double teams arrived, he could quickly pass out to a wide open teammate.

"It would be crazy," Robinson said of the aforementioned front line with Mickey and Martin. "I think I can help on the defensive end. They'll just bring their man to me and I'll be the best shot blocker I can be.

"On offensive end they have a lot of plays for Johnny and I can score the ball very well," Robinson said. "I was very satisfied with what I saw. I just can't wait to get there."

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