The #28 prospect in the 2014 high school class according to the RSCI
, Devin Robinson had an uneven freshman campaign, bouncing in and out of Billy Donovan's starting lineup and struggling to be consistently productive or efficient on either end of the floor. With Donovan moving on to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder, in came Mike White from Louisiana Tech, who led Florida to an NIT appearance and was able to get a little more out of the enigmatic Robinson as a sophomore.
Robinson contemplated entering his name in the 2016 Draft to gauge his standing among NBA teams, but was unable to once medical tests conducted after the season revealed a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his left foot. He underwent surgery in April and was scheduled to be sidelined for 4-6 months, and has indeed yet to be fully cleared to play, even if that is likely to happen soon according to reports.
The injury was a setback considering how much the 21-year old Robinson could have used a full off-season to work on his body, skill-set and feel for the game, all of which have considerable room to grow still.
Robinson passes the eye test and then some, as he has excellent size and length for the small forward position, to go along with an ideal basketball frame and smooth athleticism. His body hasn't filled out quite as much as some may have hoped when he first burst onto the scene at the 2013 adidas EuroCamp, particularly in the lower body, as he has narrow hips and very thin legs and quads that hamper him on both ends of the floor. Being unable to work on his lower body all summer was certainly not ideal in that regard.
Offensively, Robinson operated primarily as a floor-spacing combo forward for the Gators, who runs the court in transition and occasionally crashes the offensive glass. Almost half of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc, and he was able to convert a solid 34% of them as sophomore, up from 26% as a freshman. His free throw percentage also rose from 64 to 77%, which is another indication of his improvement as a perimeter shooter, and a very important factor for his NBA stock.
Beyond the numbers, Robinson boasts a compact and repeatable shooting stroke with his feet set, and proved to be fairly reliable in catch and shoot situations. His form tends to break down somewhat when closely contested or forced to shoot off the dribble, as his release isn't ultra-quick, and he doesn't have the most natural touch.
Although able to attack closeouts in a straight line, anything more than that is mostly an adventure for Robinson at this stage, as his ball-skills are very much a work in progress. He struggles to create space for himself in the half-court, and doesn't have the ability to get low with the ball, change speeds, directions or hands, or find the open man if the defense rotates towards him.
A smooth leaper off two feet, Robinson can finish around the basket with authority off cuts or running the floor in transition, but his lack of lower body strength is an issue when trying to use his athleticism around the rim off of one foot in the half-court. He looks very off balance on many of his attempts inside the paint, crumbling in traffic at the first sign of contact, and not being particularly crafty or creative using the glass. His rudimentary ball-handling ability doesn't do him too many favors in this area, as when he is able to create a driving angle to the basket, he often has a defender glued to his hip, leading to difficult attempts.
Robinson's passing ability is also in need of refinement, as he generated just 17 assists in 832 minutes last season, or one every 49 minutes he was on the floor. His 4% assist percentage would be considered poor for a center, let alone someone expected to see major minutes on the perimeter. To Robinson's credit, he didn't turn the ball over too frequently (9% TO%), as he simply wasn't asked to do much ball-handling for the Gators, something that might change somewhat this season as he likely inherits some offensive responsibility from departed combo forward and leading scorer Dorian Finney-Smith.
Defensively, Robinson showed some interesting things at times last year, particularly when tasked with guarding opposing ball-handlers, something he can do fairly impressively. He can get in a low stance, move his feet fluidly and make it very difficult for smaller players to get their shot off with his length.
With that said, Robinson has a long ways to go in this area to reach his full potential, as his average combination of technique, awareness and intensity often makes him far less effective than you'd hope. He has a tendency to fall asleep at times in his stance, losing his focus off the ball and being a split-second late with his reactions, resulting in wide open looks on the perimeter. That's part of the reason why Robinson has averaged a paltry 1.0 steals and .9 blocks per-40 thus far in his career, despite his terrific physical tools. He also doesn't always fight over the top of screens due to his lack of lower body strength, and can get pushed around mercilessly inside by stronger players. Players his size are increasingly used as floor-spacing PFs in todays' NBA, but it might be a while until Robinson is able to do so effectively.
It will be interesting to see what kind of season Robinson is able to put together as an underclassman, as the Gators will certainly be hoping to make a return to the NCAA Tournament after missing out for the last two years. They'll need Robinson to make strides on both ends of the floor and show he has the mentality to start to reach the significant potential he showed earlier on in his career.