With former Michigan captain Zack Novak off in Europe pursuing a pro career, and a 6’10, 250 pound freshman center being added to a roster already well equipped with size, speculation in the spring and summer was that that John Beilein might consider utilizing two big men on the floor at the same time. While that has come to fruition during stretches, the spot Novak once filled, battling a height disadvantage as a severely undersized power forward ,has been passed on to fellow Indiana native, freshman Glenn Robinson III, instead.
Robinson III, a little undersized himself at 6’6, 210 pounds, is adjusting nicely despite mismatches defensively, and actually leads Michigan in rebounding at 6.7 per game.
“I played a little bit of post in high school so I’m kind of used to it,” said Robinson III. “It’s a little different --- bigger guys, way taller --- so I think that’s one of the skills I can do, and I continue to progress in practice and keep working on it.”
Working in Robinson’s favor is his ability to excel on the perimeter offensively, drawing his normally-larger counterpart out of the paint to further utilize his guard skills, reversing the advantage to his and the Wolverine’s favor.
Defensively, Robinson III has been able to hold his ground against the likes of C.J. Leslie (6’9, 200) and Marshawn Powell (6’7, 240), impressing his head coach.
“He’s 18 years old,” said Beilein. “I think the average age is 22 that he’s played against all year long. It seems like every time we turn around there’s a four man that is 6’8, 230, 22 years old, and he’s guarding him. So he’s responded well enough to keep him in there.”
“I think that if we had a serious need right now at the three position --- this year --- he could flip over there in a second.”
It’s that positional versatility that makes Robinson III so valuable, not only on the floor in games from a matchup standpoint, but also for his teammates in practice since for the posts he provides a look against a shorter, quick player, and for the guards, a physical, long defender.
“Tim and Mitch --- we’re always going at it one on one,” said Robinson III. “We do a lot of things with the guards and the posts so I have to switch up between the guards and the post. Going from guarding guys like Jordan Morgan, to Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke.”
“I would say practices are the hardest part about everything. Practices to me are way harder than the games. We’re very hard competitors, very tough competitors and everybody out here wants to win.”
To watch video of Robinson III, press play below.