In Allen Fieldhouse, it all came together.
After an early start full of growing pains accustomed with being a freshman at a major college program, Florida Gators forward Devin Robinson had one of his best games in his young career Friday against Kansas. Robinson had 13 points while going 4-9 from the field, his best percentage since Florida’s season opener against William & Mary. The forward also was 3-4 from the foul line and 2-3 from three-point range, a career best.
Throughout the season Robinson has shown potential in his offensive ability. While having erratic shooting performances in certain games, Robinson looked to bring about more consistency to his game by working on his shot after practice, getting extra time in with the coaching staff. The freshman also went over video with head coach Billy Donovan.
“He brought me up to his office and we went over all my shots over the Battle of Atlantis and he showed I was leaning back on my shot, I need more discipline on my shots and he just told me, like, shoot straight up on my follow through,” Robinson said. “We work on it every day so definitely improved.”
The time put in prior to the Kansas game paid off. Robinson went from a player who clearly looked like a freshman in some games to a confident shooter getting the ball off in rhythm. The forward looked especially strong in the first half, his eight points tying forward Chris Walker for a team-high at the half. The freshman said he now understands what is required of him.
“When I first got here I was just nervous and I was like ‘I got to go score buckets to stay on the court,’ and stuff, but I feel like it’s a team game, you got to do your 95 percent to be successful you got to play defense to work on your offense,” Robinson said. “I’m finally catching on to the concept in what’s going to help me stay on the court so I just got to do what it takes.”
In addition to his improved scoring, Robinson has placed an emphasis on his rebounding. The freshman had a career-high five rebounds against Kansas, and credited his length and speed as the reason for his success. Robinson is also adding bulk to battle in the paint. The forward currently weights 190 pounds, with his target weight around 200 or 210. Eating five meals a day and working with strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene, Robinson knew he would have to gain weight in order to have an easier time around the boards.
“I mean just playing the games in practice, trying to go get rebounds, getting pushed around,” Robinson said. “My rebounds, I had like two rebounds first couple of games and I’m like this is hard so I got to keep battling I just need to know I need to get bigger and stronger.”
As Florida prepares for Monday’s game against Yale, the freshman will look to build upon the success had against Kansas. While the season has been a series of highs and lows for Robinson, Friday’s game provided a benchmark to aspire towards.
“It really raises my confidence,” Robinson said. “Before games, I was in a drought, it comes out of no where, but a game like that really gives me confidence a lot.”