DePaul got its second verbal commit in the 2013 class this past weekend, as South Plains College forward Forrest Robinson pledged to the Blue Demons upon the completion of his official visit. Robinson chose DePaul over Bradley, Mississippi State, St. Louis and Tennessee Tech.
The 6 foot 10, 230 pound big man got to South Plains by way of North Texas, where he played last year for head coach Johnny Jones. Robinson played in 16 games, and averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. He was limited by a foot injury that caused him to miss games.
At the end of the season Jones bolted for LSU, and Robinson decided to transfer. Despite overtures from other programs, Robinson decided he didn't want to transfer to another school and sit out a year, that he "needed to play." He went the juco route, and when South Plains came calling, Robinson said it was the perfect fit: the reigning NJCAA champions coming off an undefeated season.
DePaul became involved with Robinson after seeing him play at the Mullen/Mitchell JC Jamboree in Dallas, TX on October 5-6. Within a couple of days of the Jamboree, DePaul contacted Robinson, expressing interest in the forward. "I heard from assistant coach (Billy) Garrett," Robinson said. "He said they had interest, they wanted to see me practice. They kept in contact, came to practice. I started building a relationship with coach Garrett."
DePaul had Robinson in on an official visit this past weekend, which sealed the deal for the Blue Demons. It turned out to be the first and only visit for Robinson. It was Robinson's first time in Chicago, and he really enjoyed the Lincoln Park campus.
Most importantly, Robinson got quality time with the DePaul coaching staff. "I got to build a relationship with Coach Purnell," Robinson said. "He's just a great guy, great coach, good person. I got a good feel for him and the coaching staff."
Robinson will provide DePaul with a different type of big man, one that thrives shooting the ball from the perimeter. South Plains assistant coach Hank Plona provided insight on Robinson. "His skill level is very, very high for a guy his size," Plona said. "Obviously what he does best is shoot the ball. He can shoot the ball out to a couple feet beyond the three point line very well, which is obviously unique for a guy who is 6'10."
It's rare to see a 6'10" power forward consistently hit shots from the perimeter, but it's something Robinson excels at. And he's been doing it since he was younger. "It kinda started when I was younger, I wasn't always tall so I had to play guard positions," Robinson said. "Started shooting the ball from a very young age, and just fell in love with shooting. I developed a shot in middle school and through high school, I got known as a shooter."
DePaul's current frontcourt players consist of traditional big men, who do their damage in the paint. Robinson feels he'll complement them well with his style of play. "I'll bring another element of spacing on the floor," Robinson said. "In transition, I'm just a big mismatch problem. They won't know where I'll be at. Maybe I'll be on the block, or maybe I'll be out spotting up. I think I bring a whole other dimension to the forward position. More than just a traditional back to the basket type guy, like bringing people out, kind of mismatch problems when they switch on screens."
To be successful at DePaul next season, Plona feels Robinson needs to continue working on his athleticism. "Quickness, explosiveness," Plona said. "Speed of the game is about as quick as it gets up at that level. When DePaul came down here, I think there concern was speed and I think he kind of obviously proved he can do what they're looking for."
Robinson agrees, and he also sees rebounding and consistency as other parts of his game that he needs to improve upon. "Rebounding the ball, my conditioning and just being active on the court," Robinson said. "I have a tendency to just kinda be there sometimes, if I'm not scoring the ball I have a tendency to just be out there. I just gotta work on being more involved, strength, defense and rebounding mainly."
DePaul has a very talented offense this year, which should be even more formidable by the time Robinson sets foot on campus next year. His ability to shoot the ball from deep should give DePaul even more weapons on offense, and flexibility considering Robinson's size. If he continues to improve his rebounding, he'll make a case to earn quality minutes right away for the Blue Demons next year.