UF’s Devin Robinson to test NBA waters

Mike White has a solid roster returning in 2016-2017, but the Gators will be much better if Devin Robinson returns and they can add an impact player like Canyon Barry.

Mike White has a solid roster returning in 2016-2017, but the Gators will be much better if Devin Robinson returns and they can add an impact player like Canyon Barry.

Published on Wednesday, 4/6/16, at 12:08 p.m. Eastern.

Florida forward Devin Robinson announced Tuesday on his instagram account that he’ll enter the NBA Draft, but he won’t sign with an agent so could return to Gainesville.

Robinson was a five-star recruit by Billy Donovan in the 2014 class. However, he had a disappointing freshman campaign, only to show some improvements as a sophomore.

To be clear, though, he’s nowhere near ready to compete for serious playing time at the NBA level. Robinson is a 6-9 forward but doesn’t even tip the scales at 200 pounds yet.

His wiry frame will get tossed around in the lane at the next level, at least until he adds a great deal of muscle. During this past season, Robinson started 18 games, averaging 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. His shooting was vastly improved from his freshman year, as he made 45.8 percent from the field, 34.0 percent from downtown and 75.6 percent from the free-throw line.

If he performs well in individual workouts, I guess there’s a chance he could get consideration late in the second round. ESPNInsider Chad Ford currently has him ranked as the 97th-best prospect in his Top 100 for the 2016 NBA Draft.

NBADraft.net currently has Robinson as just barely getting taken in the 2017 Draft (at No. 57 late in the second round).

“We certainly would like to see Devin come back,” UF head coach Mike White told OnlyGators.com. “If it’s his time and [leaving] is in his best interest, then we’ll fully support him. But personally, I’d like to continue coaching him. I think he’s got such a high ceiling, and I thought he made a very big jump this year. I think he could make an equally as big – if not bigger – jump next year.”

Robinson has until May 25 to decide whether or not to stay in the Draft or return to school.

Dorian Finney-Smith and Alex Murphy were the only seniors on White’s first UF team, one that beat North Florida and Ohio St. on the road before dropping an 82-77 decision at George Washington in the NIT quarterfinals. GW went on to win the NIT at MSG in NYC the next week.

Finney-Smith is projected as a late second-round pick in the upcoming draft. Murphy, a transfer from Duke, only played in one game this past year due to injuries. He’s currently petitioning the NCAA for a waver to play in a sixth season.

The only other defection from the Florida roster is DeVon Walker, who has decided to transfer.

College of Charleston graduate transfer Canyon Barry is considering the Gators, along with Miami, California, Kansas, Louisville. Northwestern and Ole Miss. He will be immediately eligible. Barry, yet another son of NBA great Rick Barry, averaged 19.7 points per game for the Cougars in the first 13 games of this past year before being sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury.

In other UF news, it will take on Duke at Madison Square Garden next year at the Jimmy V Classic, according to a report from CBS Sports’s Jon Rothstein.

The Blue Devils haven’t faced the Gators since losing to them as a the East Region’s No. 1 seed in the Sweet 16 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The Gators would beat Doug Gottlieb and Oklahoma St. two days later to advance to their second Final Four in school history. They beat Ed Cota, Julius Peppers and Co. in the semifinals before going down against Michigan St. and the Flintstones in the finals.

According to multiple sources, Mike Krzyzewski has refused to play Florida in Gainesville for well over a decade. When Donovan brought in the recruiting class that included Teddy Dupay, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, he wanted that freshman group to play in a hostile environment in December, so the young Gators played at Duke in Cameron Indoor in December of 1998.

Donovan agreed to just a one-game contract. Coach K only wanted to return the trip to the Sunshine State if the schools would play in Tampa, Orlando or Miami. As it turned out, they met the very next year and the Gators avenged the blowout loss in Durham, one that was prompted by Haslem’s foul trouble after he dominated Elton Brand in the early going.

With the O-Dome currently undergoing a remodel for more than $60 million, it isn’t expected to be ready until Florida starts SEC play in January. Therefore, UF’s non-conference “home” games are going to be a mixed bag of contests played in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Fla.

Depending on what happens with Robinson, Murphy and Barry, UF’s top six players for next year will include Kasey Hill, Kevaughn Allen, Chris Chiozza, John Egbunu, Kevarrius Hayes and Justin Leon. Keith Stone, a four-star recruit in the 2015 class, redshirted this year. There are a pair of incoming recruits arriving, including 6-3 four-star guard Eric Hester.

In other SEC news, Vanderbilt hired Valpo’s Bryce Drew as its next head coach. We love the hire for the Commodores, who are awaiting word from Damian Jones on his intentions for next year. Wade Baldwin has already declared for the Draft and is expected to stay in and be a late first-round pick. As for Ga. Tech, Jeff Capel is no longer under consideration and it lost out on Drew to Vandy. Where the Yellow Jackets will turn next remains unclear.

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