Devin Robinson will be a Gator

When he began his junior year in high school in 2012, Devin Robinson (6-8, 190, Chesterfield, VA Christchurch School) was a skinny, 6-5, 170-pound wing with a nice jump shot, a good player for sure, but too much like hundreds of other kids throughout the country. By the time he finished his AAU season in the summer of 2013, Robinson had grown three full inches. He still had the nice jump shot but the additional length transformed him into an effective rebounder and turned him into a disruptive defender.

It’s easy to make comparisons with Robinson to former Gator Corey Brewer, the Most Outstanding Player on Florida’s 2007 NCAA championship team. Not only are they physically similar, there is similarity in the jump shot that has range to the three-point line and the ability to defend three positions. Brewer could be a force on either end of the floor. The University of Florida is hoping that Robinson will turn into that kind of player, also.

Robinson will be a Florida Gator. That decision was made public Wednesday afternoon as Robinson selected Billy Donovan and the Gators over a long and impressive list of suitors that included Indiana, Oklahoma State, UConn, Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida State, VCU, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Kansas and Cincinnati. Robinson’s final four was Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma State and UConn. For the longest time, it seemed that Florida would be the odd man out but after visiting UF with his parents the weekend of October 12, the Gators moved into the driver’s seat and sealed it with an in-home visit. Robinson was supposed to have an in-home with Indiana coach Tom Crean Tuesday night but when that was cancelled it became fairly obvious that he would be choosing the Gators.

At Florida, Robinson is expected to be a hybrid forward who will play the wing, run the baseline and step in at the high post where his quickness and ability to pull up and shoot off the dribble will make him a nightmare to defend.

Robinson was lightly recruited heading into his junior year at Christchurch School but as he grew and his game expanded so did the offers. In the summer of 2012, his best offers were from locals VCU and Virginia Tech along with Rider and Towson. Robinson averaged 17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a junior at Christchurch. After growing three inches he had a breakthrough spring on the AAU circuit where he played for the Richmond Squires. He followed up a strong early spring showing with impressive performances in Italy in early summer at the adidas Eurocamp but it was at the NBA Players Association Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia in mid-June that he really burst onto the national scene. At NBAPA, Robinson showed that he was that forward who can stretch a defense with his jump shot, yet long enough and athletic enough to get inside for a few thunderous finishes at the rim.

Although he’s long and lean now, Robinson has the kind of frame where adding 20-25 pounds of muscle shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Robinson joins a recruiting class that includes point guard Chris Chiozza (5-11, 160, Memphis, TN White Station), combo guard Brandone Francis (6-5, 205, Jacksonville, FL Arlington Country Day) and preferred walk-on guard Zach Hodskins (6-2, 175, Milton, GA). The recruiting class is expected to expand by one and that could happen as early as Thursday when Kevon Looney (6-9, 200, Milwaukee, WI Hamilton) makes his decision between Duke, Florida, Tennessee and UCLA. Duke has been the frontrunner for Looney but Florida’s chances might have improved significantly with Duke’s courting of Reid Travis (6-8, 240, Minneapolis, MN De LaSalle), an AAU teammate of point guard Tyus Jones (6-1, 175, Apple Valley, MN), Duke’s top target along with center Jahlil Okafor (6-11, 270, Chicago, IL Whitney Young).

Florida is also in the mix for small forward Justise Winslow (6-6, 210, Houston, TX St. John’s), who will announce his decision on November 30. Duke is thought to be the leader with Florida and Arizona close behind.

At this point, Florida’s 2014-15 scholarship roster should look like this: Eli Carter (6-2, 200, SR); Damontre Harris (6-10, 228, RSR); Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8, 214, RJR); Michael Frazier (6-4, 200, JR); Dillon Graham (6-4, 186, JR); DeVon Walker (6-6, 195, JR); Kasey Hill (6-1, 181, SO); Chris Walker (6-10, 210, SO); Chris Chiozza (5-11, 160, FR); Brandone Francis (6-5, 205, FR); Devin Robinson (6-8, 190, FR).

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.