Ole Miss basketball shocked everyone by making the NCAA tournament in Kermit Davis’ first year after being picked last in the Southeastern Conference in the preseason. And now, a year after being hammered on the interior due to lack of size, the Rebels are beginning to beef up their front line on the recruiting trail.
Three-star Shon Robinson, a power forward out of Gilbert, Ariz., is the first lengthy domino to fall for Kermit now that he has verbally committed to Ole Miss. He chose the Rebels over Gonzaga, Michigan, and other offers from just about everyone. The 2020 prospect is originally from Chicago but moved to The Copper State his freshman year to enroll at EDUPRIZE High School.
The newest Rebel commit talked with Rebel Grove’s Neal McCready about his commitment and why he chose to sip that mf tea.
“They’re different,” Robinson said, referring to the Rebels. “That’s it. They’re different — in every way.”
His offer sheet is nuts, including notable ones from Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Marquette, Nevada, Southern Cal, Syracuse, Texas Tech, UNLV, Wisconsin, and Xavier among others.
McCready also spoke with Robinson’s high school coach, Phil Lowe, who also relocated to Arizona from the Windy City.
Lowe told McCready that the Rebels have been recruiting Robinson “from Day One...(Ole Miss assistant coach) Levi Watkins has done a great job of recruiting him.”
The No. 33 power forward in the country had a phenomenal junior season for the Eagles, helping them to a 26-2 record after transferring from Gilbert Higley last summer. Shon was a key cog in helping secure the school’s first state title ever, averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks per game.
How does he fit in?
Sometimes in recruiting, the offer sheet is all you need to look at. And after one look at Shon’s, you know to ignore the three-star ranking (although, I don’t think that will last). At 6’10, and 210-pounds, Robinson is an elite prospect to have at the four position. The junior from Arizona just bangs on people, plain and simple.
The length is aplenty and the athleticism is there even more. He can get out and run the floor and is more than comfortable playing above the rim.
I mean, he really likes it.
And as much potential as he has with his 6’10 frame and ability to get out in transition and finish, he still has plenty of room to grow and add some bulk to battle inside for rebounds and on the block with his back to the basket. And on the defensive end, his wingspan and vertical will be something that will be coveted whether in Kermit’s 1-3-1 zone, man-to-man defense in the half court, or crashing the defensive boards.
Lowe also told McCready what kind of player he thinks the Rebels are getting in Robinson.
“Shon is a kid with a great personality and a great smile,” Lowe said, “He’s a real people person. On the court, he’s 6-foot-11, 205-pounds, and what makes him unique from guys his size is he can really shoot the ball. He’s athletic as well. What makes him intriguing is how agile he is, He can guard from the 1 to the 5.”
Lowe said there are some natural comparisons to Brandon Ingram and Kevin Durant, but he said Robinson “hasn’t come into his own yet”.
“When he came out here two years ago, he was a blank sheet of paper. He has a very high IQ and he can pass the ball as well. He’s made tremendous strides. You haven’t seen the best of him. He just turned 17 in November.”
This commitment is huge for 2020 in tons of ways. It is a big-time get for a program in the SEC that isn’t exactly known for going two time zones West in Pac-12 territory to snag an electric play maker with that kind of offer sheet. It’s also key since big man Dominik Olejniczak and forwards Brian Halums and Zach Naylor have entered the transfer portal and the Rebels are looking to add more frontline players now more than ever.
You can’t say enough about the job that Davis and Watkins have done in their short time in Oxford. Watkins, a former Arizona State assistant has been the primary recruiter for Robinson for a few years now and he was THE key for this recruitment and commitment.
This could potentially be the beginning of a big spring for the Ole Miss basketball program.