Pitt freshman point guard James Robinson keeps drawing praise from his coaches and teammates. And why not?
After three games and 85 minutes – the second-most on the team – this 18-year old has one turnover.
Junior forward Lamar Patterson was the latest to chime in on the player who is quickly becoming an integral part of the team.
“James is way ahead of his time,” Patterson said. “You would think he’s a junior or senior the way he plays. He’s so poised and so calm. He never rushes anything. I like to compare him to the some of the NBA greats like J Kidd. The way he plays, he’s so calm and so collected. You never see him rush anything or make a freshman mistake. I can’t think of a time he has made a freshman mistake, even in practice. He’s just so calm and poised.”
Pitt’s first three opponents haven’t put up much of a challenge. That will change next week when the Panthers play No. 5 Michigan in the N.I.T. Tip-Off tournament at Madison Square Garden. Patterson believes Robinson will be his normal, calm self in that atmosphere as well.
“When the ball’s in his hands we can trust him,” Patterson said. “That’s big to say for a freshman. We haven’t been in a tight situation yet, but I feel like he’ll be able to handle himself well. He’s going to have a great career here.”
Robinson credits his easy transition to the college game to his experiences at DeMatha Catholic in Maryland and his AAU team.
“It’s definitely a transition process,” Robinson said. “The game is a lot faster and guys are stronger, more athletic. But coming from DeMatha and playing for Team Takeover in the summer I feel like those two programs prepared me to make a smooth transition to the college game.”
Robinson has been Pitt’s defensive stopper. He held Lehigh senior C.J. McCollum without a point for a 19:24 stretch.
“It feels good to know I have their trust,” Robinson said. “At the same time I know there’s an expectation that I have to live up to every game, every practice, which I’m prepared to do. They expect me to lock up on the defensive end. That’s a challenge I put on myself every game.”
As for the one turnover, Robinson gives credit to his teammates.
“I’m just trying to be as patient as I can with the all in my hands,” he said. “My teammates do a great job of getting open on the wings. Post players do a great job posting up and giving me room to pass the ball. They make my job a lot easier. The one turnover is pretty much my teammates getting open and me having an ability to find them.”
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