Devin Robinson was ready to leave the University of Florida one year ago before his hopes for entering the NBA were dashed.
Robinson declared for the draft but left his options open by not hiring an agent. That proved to be a fortunate decision after it was discovered in April he had a stress fracture in his foot. With surgery looming and no chance to attend the combine or work out he had no choice but to return to school.
Now, one year later, Robinson repeated the process and eventually hired an agent. And though still a prospect who may or may not get drafted in the second round, the 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward is better off for having played a third-year of college.
“I know I am ready for this next step and I am personally excited for all the new challenges that will be presented with this decision,” Robinson, 22, wrote on his social media account when he knew he was moving on from the Gators.
Robinson interviewed with the Miami Heat, among others, at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, one of several players the Heat and President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg and VP of player personnel Chet Kammerer are evaluating who could be second-round picks or who could go undrafted. Robinson was asked during that interview how he could help and said he could be a “versatile wing, make them longer” before adding “I could help (Hassan) Whiteside with his rebounding.”
While in Chicago he also set up private workouts with the Bulls, Bucks and Celtics.
“I’m working my butt off and I’m going to continue to work,” Robinson said from the combine. “I haven’t made it yet. I haven’t made a team, I haven’t gotten drafted yet so I still have work to do. I’m still grinding, I still have that chip on my shoulder to make a roster. Just make one team fall in love with me.”
And Robinson knows what to expect in what amounts to a six-week job interview.
“They are going to try to get to you, they’re going to try to break you,” he said. “Don’t let them break you. Just keep grinding. It’s a long grind. It’s a long five or six weeks. Just be prepared.”
Robinson averaged 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in his third season at Florida. He scored 38 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in Florida’s first two NCAA tournament wins over East Tennessee State and Virginia, including 24 points in the opener.
Mock drafts have him going in the latter second round. Draft Express pegs him at No. 51 to Denver and Bleacher Report has him as the 53rd overall pick going to Boston.
Robinson, envisions himself as a “3 and D” player, someone who can help by stretching the floor (he shot 39.1 percent last season on 3 pointers) and guard a top wing player. He is athletic and his wingspan measured at 7-0.75 at the combine, the fourth widest among players his size or smaller. Robinson said he is studying players like Indiana’s Paul George and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.
One area in which he knows he must improve is his ball handling.
“Right now I’m heavily dependent on my teammates getting me the ball but I’m going to knock down the shot,” he said. “I’m working on creating my own shot to be successful at the next level.
“Those guys (George and Leonard) are great at creating their own shots and getting their teammates involved. And their footwork is tremendous with extra pivots, pump fakes and step backs. I just try to work on all of those things with my trainer, watch film and see what they do and re-enact it.”
Robinson was asked what he tells a GM who says: Why should I draft you?
“I say ‘If you want a winner then you should draft me. I care all about my winning, I care about my teammates, I’m a great team player and I’m going to work hard. I’m a sponge. I don’t act like I know everything because I don’t. I’m still learning the game. I just want to be the best player I can be.’”