Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Guard Well Ahead of His Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Guard Well Ahead of His Time

Article excerpt

The talk began early in the college basketball season, back when Pitt was beating teams such as North Florida and Bethune-Cookman beyond recognition. Freshman James Robinson is going to be the best point guard in Pitt history, longtime observers of the program predicted. I immediately thought of Brandin Knight's No. 20 jersey hanging in the rafters at Petersen Events Center. How could it be? How could anyone say Robinson is going to be a better player?

I'm not thinking it's so crazy now.

Nor is the great Knight insulted.

Knight has a front-row seat to watch Robinson as a Pitt assistant coach under Jamie Dixon.

"I hope he is the best because that means we'll be winning a lot of games," Knight said.

That was in December. Robinson already had established himself as the man to run the Pitt offense, starting the first game against Mount St. Mary's. "He won the respect of his teammates early on with his work ethic and his unselfishness," Dixon said Tuesday. "He's really a team guy. He's really smart. He can really defend. He's probably the biggest point guard we've had, but he guards well for his size and handles the ball for his size."

Unselfish?

Handles the ball well?

Robinson's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3:2 is the best in the Big East Conference.

The shot was the last thing to come for Robinson. He made a 3- point shot Jan. 28 against Louisville, then missed all eight of his 3-point attempts in the next seven games. The drought ended Sunday afternoon when he made a 3 late in regulation to tie Villanova, then hit another in overtime to give Pitt a 69-64 lead. He also made two crucial free throws late in Pitt's 73-64 win.

"Every shot I take, I think it's going in," Robinson said. "If the shot is there, I'm going to take it. My teammates have trusted me all year. They trust me enough to pass me the ball in big situations."

A clever tweeter noted late in the Villanova game that Robinson had enough ice in his veins to be Ted Williams.

I love that.

That's a good thing for Pitt as it prepares to play some serious March basketball. They say you need great guards to be successful in the NCAA tournament. Pitt is comfortable with fifth-year senior Tray Woodall, who has a ton of experience and has made the team his team. …

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