In the last few weeks, we have seen plenty of college basketball players declare for the 2014 NBA Draft and some of those players are Michigan natives and others are products of Michigan universities. However, in this case there are two “Michigan” players in particular that I feel shouldn’t have declared for the 2014 NBA Draft and those two player are Glenn Robinson III and James Young.
Now, I know Robinson III isn’t a Michigan native but he is Michigan product since he comes from the University of Michigan and I must say, I am not happy about his decision to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft. In all honesty, I feel that he is leaving to early. Don’t get me wrong, Robinson III is an intriguing NBA prospect that people and scouts will continue to watch very closely as his draft process continues but that doesn’t mean he is ready for the next level. At 6-foot-6, there is no doubt that he has good size and athleticism to play the NBA wing position but I feel he is still adjusting to his new-found role and working on his skill set for the wing position. Going into the 2014 NBA Draft, you have to remember that Robinson is still working to improve his handles, dribble pull up game and three-point shot. It’s because of those facts that I think he struggled at times during the course of his sophomore season and because of those facts that I think he will struggle in the NBA.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Robinson III has some very compelling and intriguing characteristics in his game. He is very quick which gives him the ability to get to the rim quickly, then you add that with his explosive leaping ability and you have yourself a raw but athletic star. Despite his unselfishness as a scorer, he also remains to be an efficient scorer, shooting 50 percent from the field all while averaging only one turnover per game. He also continues to be a solid rebounder, averaging close to five rebounds a game. Then on the defensive side of the ball, he continues to make plays in the passing lane with his great length and remain fundamental and discipline during one-on-one defensive match-ups. However, none of those things, change the fact that I think he is leaving college to early.
Overall, I worry about Robinson’s mental toughness. During his college career, Robinson struggled with letting the game come to him and learning how make an impact regardless of whether he is struggling to score or not. I don’t know about you but going into in the NBA, I believe he must be able to handle the mental and physical struggles that NBA will give him. When I say that he must let the game come to him or handle the mental and physical struggles of the NBA, I am basically saying that he can’t go into a game thinking he has to score 15 or 20 points. He needs to be thinking about playing lock-down defense, controlling the boards and hitting wide open shots. As I mentioned before, he must also learn how to make an impact when he is struggling to score. Whether he’s got a good start or a bad start, he’s must get in the habit of continuing to look for his shot and be aggressive. While he is doing that, he needs to make a point to have an impact on the boards and defensively, if he can do those things, he will be fine.
I said this before and I will say it again but Robinson reminds me of how Tim Hardaway Jr was during his early years in Michigan. If you go back to Hardaway Jr’s early years, you will notice that he was similar to Robinson III, meaning he had a tendency to think too much and not let the game to come him but once he finally did, you saw a major improvement, see Hardaway Jr’s senior year at Michigan as proof. I think if Robinson should have stayed at Michigan, which would have allowed him to work on letting the game to come to him and his overall wing skill set. Since Robinson III, has already declared, there is nothing more we can do besides watch and observe and most importantly hope that his decision doesn’t turnout to be mistake.
Now, when it comes to Michigan native, James Young of the University of Kentucky, I must say that I am very proud of him and happy with all that he has accomplished, because during his high school career and college recruitment, he was the subject of controversy and doubt when it came down to whether his game was over-hyped. Despite the controversy and doubt that surrounded him, Young did a solid job of proving the doubters wrong while at Kentucky, all while helping to lead his team to a National Title game in his freshman year.
However, none of the that, changes the fact that I think he is leaving Kentucky to early. At 6-foot-6, with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Young has great length and it’s because of that length that he is a force when creating his own shot. He can put the ball on the floor, take his defender off the dribble and get to the rim or he can used his good elevation which allows him to create separation from his defender when he goes up for his pull-up jumper. Plus I like the fact that Young is his unselfish when it comes to sharing the ball, which is a plus when you consider the kind of scorer that he was in high school and now in college.
Nonetheless, I still don’t think that he is ready for the NBA. Similar to Robinson III, Young still has plenty to learn, because he is still young and developing his overall talent. When it comes to his perimeter skills, I would still like to see him improve his ball handling skills, specifically his right hand ball handling. Most importantly, he needs to continue working on his shot selection and overall consistency of his game. Being able to score and score at a high level is great skill to have but being able to score at a high level and do it efficiently due to good shot selection and execution is an even more impressive skill set to have, which is what Young still must work on, as do most college players, especially freshman. I also want to see him continue to make an impact when he isn’t scoring well. As I mentioned earlier, being able to score is great but being able to make an impact in other areas like rebounding, defense or even passing, makes you an even better player, regardless of your score sheet. Young seems to do a good job of that at times but I would like to see him become more consistent in that area.
Again, none of this is to say that Young will fail at the NBA level, I’m just saying that I would have personally like to see him stay for one more year before leaving for the NBA Draft because he still has so much more to learn and prefer for him to do that learning and growing at Kentucky. However, for now, just like Robinson III, all we can do at this point is watch, observe and hope that his decision works out well for him in the long run.
In conclusion I think both Robinson III and Young will find new homes in the NBA during the 2014 NBA Draft but my concerns still remain on whether they will succeed or not at the next level. Now, I’m not looking for these young men to dominate or become the next great players of the NBA. I simply want to see these young men play to their potential and have good overall NBA careers. Overall, I think their success or failure will come down to three things. The first thing being their mental and physical toughness, the second thing being their work ethic and knowledge of the game and third and final thing will be how they are developed by their team’s coaching staff.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit