Talking Stanley Robinson With Justin Of The UConn Blog

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On Monday, the Orlando Magic announced they have signed second round pick Stanley Robinson. Over the weekend, I got to catch up with Justin of The UConn Blog and ask him a few questions about the former Connecticut forward.

Howard the Dunk: I thought Stanley Robinson was a bit of a steal at 57 because he’s just a freak athlete. We could tell that much during the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League. He’s not much of a shooter, so how does he use his athleticism to make up for his less-than-stellar shooting on offense?

Justin: It’s not that he isn’t a good shooter; in fact, he shot over 50 percent from the field his final two seasons at UConn and ended summer league shooting an even 50 percent (11-for-22) from the field. His big issue lies in his inconsistency and a lack of confidence that shows up from time to time.

One game he’ll be driving the lane, throwing down dunks (capped off with his trademark rebel yell, of course) and hitting the 3 (he shot over 34 percent from behind the arc in three of his four years). But there are other times where he’s hesitant to shoot, just watches the ball and can’t get anything to fall (as a junior, he shot only 13 percent from behind the arc).

My theory has always been that his game-to-game production depends on his start. If he’s hitting shots early, his confidence is high and he’ll pull the trigger (almost too much, sometimes); if not, he becomes afraid to shoot or get involved.

But even when he’s not as aggressive as he should be, he’s always a threat to make a “wow” play on the break or on a putback because of his raw talent. His athleticism is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in Storrs – not one game went by in his four years without a broadcaster team mentioning it at least once – and watching him throw it down on a breakaway was one of the few joys UConn fans enjoyed last season.

Still, until he figures out his consistency issues, he’ll always be more of an athlete than a basketball player.

You can read the rest of the Q&A after the jump.

HtD: On the defensive end, what kind of potential does Stanley have? What does he do well on that end of the floor?

Justin: When he’s active, he can really be a force on the defensive boards. Despite his relatively slender frame, he can often out-jump and soar over much taller players to grab the ball. He also has 7-foot wingspan, is very quick and can block shots (he averaged more than one a game in his final three seasons) – essentially, all the tools you’d need to guard pro wings or, perhaps, stretch-4s.

Still, his inconsistency tends to affect his play on this end, too, as he can just disappear if he’s not in the right mindset. But the potential is there.

HtD: Robinson was looked at as a potential lottery pick at one point. Why do you think his stock dropped? What areas of his game does he need to work on most?

Justin: There were certainly some red flags raised after he missed the first half of his junior season. But there were also concerns, according to reports, after nervousness led to some poor pre-draft workouts, which likely only reaffirmed some coaches’ worriment over his inconsistency.

And even though he had a solid senior season, it certainly wasn’t a spectacular one – despite having all the physical tools you could ever want, Robinson failed to ever emerge as a go-to guy, and a UConn team predicted to receive at least a top-10 seed failed to even make the NCAA Tournament.

HtD: Stanley had to miss some time at UConn to care for his family. Can you talk about what kind of guy he is off of the court?

Justin: Robinson missed the first half of his junior season. Only it had less to do with taking care of his family and more to do with the semester-long suspension he was handed by the team. (Although the reasons behind the suspension remain vague, it was part academic, part behavioral, part unknown.)

But that’s not to say he’s a bad guy; far from it, actually. Stanley is generally a shy, quiet guy who probably would never hurt a fly.

He’s just a little … weird.

For example: I covered the team for the school newspaper when Robinson was a sophomore. After he turned in a great game (which were few and far between at that point), the media wanted to talk to him about it, obviously. But when the SID went to tell him that we wanted to talk to him for a bit, he took one look at him and bolted out the nearest exit. Not out of hatred of the media or anything. To this day, no one knows why, really. That’s just Stanley.

HtD: Robinson has a chance to make the Magic during training camp. Another former UConn player who was on Orlando’s summer league roster, Jeff Adrien, does not. But after covering Adrien during the Orlando Pro Summer League, I had to ask this question. Is Adrien the scariest looking player in UConn history?

Justin: He’s got to be in the top five, at least.

When he played for the Huskies, we called him the wooyah – partly because that’s what it sounded like when the Boston-bred Jim Calhoun called him a warrior (which happened 60 times a week), but also because his game is exactly how I’d imagine a warrior from the Mongolian Empire would have played basketball.

The funny thing, however, is that he may be even more tame than Stanley. He has the body of a rhino … but never talks louder than a whisper off the court.

I’d like to thank Justin for his time and encourage all of you to check out The UConn Blog.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).