In March, James Robinson was a senior at DeMatha Catholic and finishing up his high school career while C.J. McCollum was becoming an NCAA tournament star with his shining moment in Lehigh’s upset of Duke in the NCAA tournament.
When Robinson was reminded of this Monday night following Pitt’s 86-51 victory over Fordham, he smiled.
Nothing seems to faze this savvy freshman who will be charged tonight with the task of slowing down McCollum, the NBA prospect who had 19 in Monday night’s victory against Robert Morris three days after notching 36 in a loss at Baylor.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Robinson said. “It’ll be a challenge for me. It will be a team challenge. Personally, I haven’t watched him too much this year. I know in the past he’s gotten a lot of points. It’ll be a team effort. That’s what we’re relying on. We play great team defense. That’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the season regardless of who we’re playing.”
So why is a freshman checking a future first-round NBA draft choice? Because coach Jamie Dixon said last week that Robinson has already developed into the team’s top perimeter defender.
Robinson stressed it will be a team effort in attempting to limit McCollum. He said that has been the key to the strong efforts in the first two games. The Panthers have allowed 99 points in wins over Mount St. Mary’s and Fordham.
“We don’t have a certain number in mind,” Robinson said. “We just want to be solid. We don’t like it when they score. We’re trying to get better and better on the defensive end.”
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