Mitchell Robinson may be the next player to follow the route Emmanuel Mudiay and Brandon Jennings took to the NBA, skipping college basketball.
Robinson ranks No. 11 overall on the ESPN 100 college basketball prospect rankings for the upcoming class. The five-star, 7-footer is from New Orleans and backed out of his commitment to Western Kentucky last month.
While he considered playing for the Kansas Jayhawks or his hometown school at New Orleans University, the latest report indicates he is likely to skip college basketball altogether.
Here is what Pat Forde says of the strange situation (via Yahoo Sports):
“Even if he were to attend college, Robinson likely would have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a transfer. An attempt to gain a waiver for immediate eligibility based on the short duration of time he spent at WKU would be difficult to win. Robinson is considered a likely first-round NBA draft pick.”
Robinson would have been an expected one-and-done college basketball player. Rather than sit out for a year, he will instead presumably play at some level overseas.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had to agree to a buyout with the Australian club Adelaide 36ers after they selected their first-round pick, Terrance Ferguson, this season. This makes him an intriguing option for similar reasons.
While it’s unclear if Robinson would get a look from a top-tier team in Europe, he may offer legitimate value for a team in Australia or China. Of course, he could also consider the G League as their age limit is 18 years old.
In a recent column, Chris Reichert explained why Robinson would be an unlikely option for the NBA’s developmental program (via 2Ways10Days.com):
“Many of these intriguing young talents are drafted based on potential and the unknown …Playing a full, 50-game season in the G League could expose players and open them up for a deeper look into their upside, ultimately causing them to fall on draft boards.”
Reichert argues Robinson would be the No. 1 pick in the G League and he would play 30-plus minutes per night. Compare that to Jennings, who played less than 18 minutes a game when he opted for overseas competition rather than college basketball.
This would expose some of the potential flaws in his game and lower his draft stock, which would hurt his long-term value. Robinson would also make significantly less money in the G League, as the maximum salary is just $26,000.
Expect him to look for an overseas option, though likely not one in Europe.