With North Carolina losing Justin Jackson and Nate Britt, the Tar Heels will need someone to step up along the perimeter this coming season. Kenny Williams had surgery earlier this month on his right knee, but is expected to be ready for fall workouts in October.
One of the players Roy Williams will be looking to this coming season is Brandon Robinson, who played sparingly last season as a freshman. With Jackson, Britt, Williams, Theo Pinson, and Joel Berry taking most of the minutes along the perimeter, Robinson only averaged 7.6 minutes a game in 2016-17.
Pinson is a neat fit to assume Jackson’s position and minutes at the three. Berry is returning at point guard. Williams and Robinson, along with Seventh Woods and incoming freshman Andrew Platek, are options for UNC at the two guard. For Robinson to take on a larger role in 2017-18, however, he has to improve his offensive production.
As a freshman, Robinson shot just 34.4 percent (22-of-64) from the floor, and just 23.3 percent (7-for-30) from 3-point range. Averaging less than two field goal attempts per game, and less than one 3-pointer per game, didn’t allow Robinson to get into a groove his first collegiate season. But he’ll have ample opportunity to shoot more and score more as a sophomore.
Robinson proved much less effective defensively than classmate and fellow guard Seventh Woods. Though Woods played just 28 more minutes than Robinson as a freshman, Woods had more than twice as many steals as Robinson (21 to 9). Woods also had 17 more defensive rebounds than Robinson.
On the other hand, Robinson was more effective offensively than Woods. Robinson had a two-to-one assists-to-turnovers ratio (28 assists to 14 turnovers) — a statistic that could improve his chances of additional playing time. Though he’s not considered a primary passing option, Robinson is a smart player who doesn’t make a lot of bad decisions.
Woods, on the other hand, had problems all season with turnovers, committing three times as many – 42- as Robinson, despite playing more. Woods also had shooting percentages that were considerably lower than Robinson.
While it may be a stretch to pencil Robinson in as a projected starter for the 2017-18 Tar Heels, he will have ample chances to increase his production. It’s imperative, however, that Robinson improve his perimeter shooting and defense in order to maximize his opportunity.