With an exciting ACC Tournament run in the rearview and a moment to catch our breath before NIT selections this Sunday, it is a great time to start looking ahead to next year’s team. Ky Bowman tweeted yesterday implying that he does not intend to test the NBA draft waters- good news for BC fans hoping to avoid the worst-case scenario of Bowman and Robinson both leaving the heights for the NBA. But Robinson’s draft stock is higher, and test the waters he will. Even with the rest of the team returning and a pair of highly regarded recruits coming in, it would be difficult to replace Robinson’s 20.8 PPG, .489 FG%, and .419 3FG% from this season. So, what are the chances the ACC POY runner-up sticks around? I think pretty good- for two main reasons.
Increasing Draft Stock
Robinson got some national attention and his draft stock has shot up since the beginning of the season. Still, most experts having him hovering around the mid- to late-second round. Could he move up with a stellar NIT performance? Theoretically, but most of the prospects above him will be featured in high-profile tournament play of some kind as well. Next year, this team could be in the national spotlight with a top-25 ranking and an NCAA Tournament run if everything goes right. Even if his numbers do not substantially improve on what he did this year, his national recognition should improve and give him a leg up in next year’s draft class (a class that may not be as deep at the top as this year’s). And with the continued development of returning players around him, his numbers could increase as ACC defenses find it harder to double him without paying for it. The differentials in salary and career outcome for NBA players drafted in the first and second round is substantial. Why not position himself for that boost?
Finishing What He Started
A degree, sure, but more than that. BC went 0-18 in conference play Robinson’s freshman year, and 2-16 last year. Building around him, the team has been able to put together a winning record, a run to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals, and a probable NIT bid in his third year. Jerome Robinson (and his teammates and coaching staff) have brought this program back from irrelevance to respectability. Why stop on the edge of greatness? ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament champions, a deep run in the NCAA Tournament… Bringing back a good team with playoff experience and strong freshman recruits, there is no reason this could not be a reality for Jerome Robinson and BC basketball next year.
As a fan invested in BC basketball, I am certainly biased. Still, I think Robinson has more to gain by waiting a year for the draft. Olivier Hanlan’s jump to the pros has not paid off, but Hanlan had little talent around him to entice him to stay in 2015. Robinson does, and next year sure could be fun.