UAA hoops gain Division I transfer

Marcus Robinson only has one season to leave his mark at the University of Alaska Anchorage but the Division I transfer is going to turn some heads at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. Robinson, who played at Florida International last season, is a jet-quick guard that will please fans and coaches alike.

At 6-0, Robinson may not be tall by basketball standards but UAA head coach Rusty Osborne expects big things from his new senior guard.

‘He has a scorer”s mentality,’ Osborne said. ‘He”s a very good shooter, hard to stay in front of and can drive to the basket.’

Robinson comes to UAA with a decorated past, particularly in the scoring column. As a prep star, Robinson dropped in 24.6 points a game for Mesa High School, which was good enough to lead the state of Arizona. During his sophomore year at South Mountain (Ariz.) Community College, he was a third team JUCO All-American and averaged 25.6 points a game, which was third among all junior college players in the country.

At FIU, Robinson scored only 10.1 points a game but those numbers are a bit of an aberration. The Golden Panthers averaged only 56 points per game and played what Osborne calls a slowed-down, deliberate offense–one not suited to Robinson”s game. Still, he led the team in minutes played, free throws and three-pointers made, while finishing third on the team in scoring.

One area Robinson will aid the Seawolves is at the charity stripe. Not since former UAA star Ed Kirk darted past opposing guards has the coaching staff had a guard capable of getting to the rim and most importantly the free throw line. Robinson has proven throughout his career to be a threat going to the rack and drawing contact. He shot 218 free throws for the Cougars as a sophomore. In perspective, the UAA guard with the most free throws attempted last year was Aaron Lawrence with 98.

With all the past success, Osborne sees nothing different for Robinson in the Green and Gold but doesn”t want to put too many expectations on his new guard.

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‘He has enough talent he could be our leading scorer,’ Osborne said. ‘But he could be just as effective scoring in double figures.’

Robinson doesn”t have a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup. He will have to fight it out like every one else in the two months before the season opens. Osborne anticipates rotating Robinson in the point guard and shooting guard positions.

Robinson left FIU after the firing of former Golden Panther coach Donnie Marsh. He wanted a chance to play on a competitive team and FIU”s 5-22 record last season, which put them near the bottom of DI, didn”t bode well for a successful senior year. On the other hand, UAA finished fourth in the GNAC with a 20-10 record and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1997. The increase in competitiveness makes the drop from DI to DII a little easier to swallow.

‘He”s dropping down in label but not in competition,’ Osborne said. ‘Just because he is DI talent doesn”t mean he is better than the guys we have. We feel our program is better than the bottom hundred or 150 in DI.’

The late addition of Robinson is not the end to a revamped Seawolf squad. Robinson is the latest of five new recruits added this off-season and Osborne will announce several more this week once paperwork makes it official.

With two years in junior college and one at FIU, Robinson only has one year of eligibility left. If he transferred to another DI school he would have had to redshirt for a year before becoming eligible to compete. But D2 rules allow DI transfers like Robinson the chance to play right away.

That factored into his decision to become a Seawolf. Robinson and the UAA coaching staff were familiar with each other because assistant coach Shane Rinner pursued the guard last off season. At the time, Robinson was out of UAA”s league, turning down offers from DI schools such as Dayton and Boise State before deciding on Florida International.

Now, Robinson has only one year to show what he”s got but Osborne thinks he”ll fit in just fine.

‘You can read between the lines,’ Osborne said. ‘We bring in a guy for one year, we expect a lot.’