Junior Robinson fits the profile of breakout NCAA Tournament star perfectly.
The Mount St. Mary’s diminutive guard is the shortest player in the NCAA Tournament, standing just 5-foot-5. He’s out to prove he’s also one of the best.
Robinson led the Mountaineers to victory Tuesday in the First Four against New Orleans, canning the go-ahead jumper with 1:29 left in a 67-66 win. He finished with a team-high 23 points in playing all 40 minutes – a performance that had him trending on Twitter. In the Mount’s four postseason games this year, the junior is averaging 21.3 points per game.
“I don't think he's one of the shortest guys – I think he's one of the best guards,” Mount coach Jamion Christian said. “Junior has a tremendous heart, has a tremendous passion for winning, tremendous passion for his teammates. His spontaneity allows him the chance to make big plays and he's done that for us not just this year but in years past.
“What the country needs to know about him is … he's going to try to attack every moment out there. They are really going to really enjoy watching him play.”
Robinson’s performance Tuesday caught the attention of Muggsy Bogues – who is probably the, no pun intended, measuring stick for short players having success in a big man’s game.
“That's the first I heard it, so thanks for telling me,” Robinson said Wednesday. “It’s a great feeling to be recognized just because I'm short and doing things that nobody thought I could do.
“I've embraced it. It's kind of like a chip on my shoulder to prove people wrong that height really doesn't matter. It's about the heart that you have and the passion that you played the game with. I mean, each game, I'm going to probably be the shortest player on the court. Actually, I'm going to be the shortest player on the court. I just come out and play my hardest and play with the heart that I have for the love of the game and for the love of my brothers.”