Robinson III, Stauskas to leave the Wolverines

ANN ARBOR — Tuesday’s seeds were sown last April, when Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III stood and watched in the Crisler Center press room.

Robinson watched Tim Hardaway Jr. explain how he worked for the team in college but when the NBA called, he would surprise the doubters.

Stauskas watched Robinson and Mitch McGary have their own news conference — to say they were staying at Michigan — and wondered why he wasn’t getting those questions.

On Tuesday, Stauskas and Robinson laid out their futures, announcing they would skip their final two years at U-M to enter the NBA draft, the fifth and sixth early-entry departures of coach John Beilein’s Michigan tenure.

McGary attended the news conference but is still deciding whether to leave for the NBA or return to school.

Robinson and Stauskas took the podium together and explained their rationale, took every question thrown at them and then left together (partially because Stauskas needed a ride, not having a driver’s license).

Relieved of the decision-making burden — Stauskas said he made the call after receiving feedback last week from the NBA advisory committee and Robinson decided Monday night, though neither had officially signed their papers as of Tuesday afternoon — the pair shared one common trait: Confidence.

Stauskas has all the accolades as the All-American, Big Ten player of the year and borderline lottery projection. Labeled as a shooter when he came to Michigan, he spent last off-season turning himself into a dynamic passing, driving, multi-talented guard.

He knows he’ll have doubters entering the NBA, but does not let that bother him.

“They’re going to find out quick, they’re going to learn just like everybody else in the Big Ten learned,” Stauskas said Tuesday.

“Because that’s the thing about me, I always find a way to stay motivated. I always find a way to have a chip on my shoulder. Whether that’s people talking about me or things in my own head, I’ll find a way to keep expanding my game. I know I always have new things to work on.”

One of Stauskas’ motivations came last year from watching Robinson pass on an NBA chance.

While Robinson was back in the same press room Tuesday, this time announcing he was leaving despite putting up similar numbers to a year earlier, his demeanor was entirely different.

This time he was self-assured and determined, repeating the advice that came from everyone he trusted, that he needed to be “two feet in” for his decision either way.

He went to an Indiana Pacers game last week with his family and said to his mother that the players seemed to be his size and speed, no bigger or more intimidating. He talked to his father, former NBA player Glenn (Big Dog) Robinson, the man who told him a year ago he needed to go back to school, and heard that this time he was ready.

And Robinson spoke to former Wolverines and current NBA rookies Trey Burke and Hardaway, who both said he was prepared for the league.

Hardaway’s advice resonated, as the current New York Knick was in a similar spot last year, doubted and questioned by many when he left, but knowing the next level might be a better fit.

“I can’t wait for that moment,” Robinson said. “A lot of people are going to be kind of shocked by the way that I play and some of the things that they necessarily didn’t get to see during the season. I know a lot of questions are going to come, (like) why didn’t they see them during the season. It’s my job to prove them wrong.”

He hopes to emulate Hardaway, who dominated draft workouts and rose to a first-round pick, then became one of the NBA’s best rookies this season.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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