Although his he turned 21 last April 1, Mitchell Robinson is no fool. The New York Knicks center made the wise decision to keep busy this summer, working on his game by first participating in the NBA Summer League and then joining the USA Basketball Select Team, which scrimmages with the National Team in preparation for the FIBA World Cup.
“I love the game,” Robinson told amNewYork. “If I have a chance to play, that’s what I’m going to do. I can play basketball all day.”
Robinson shined in the Summer League, averaging 13.8 points on a scorching-hot 85.3% from the field while pulling down 10.6 rebounds and blocking 3.4 shots in five games. More impressive than any of those stats was the instant chemistry Robinson had with the Knicks first-round draft choice and No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, RJ Barrett.
“From what I can see, we’re going to be just fine,” Robinson said of Barrett. “He shares the [ball] and he plays hard.”
The feeling is mutual.
“He’s easy to play with, so it’s a lot of fun,” Barrett told amNY last month in Las Vegas.
Although Robinson was cut from the Select Team — in addition to Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen — and will not move on to California for the next phase of prep for the World Cup, which begins Aug. 31 in China, the hope is the second-year big man gained invaluable knowledge from the elite coaching staff in Las Vegas. Those coaches include USA Basketball and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, a five-time NBA champion, and USA assistant and Villanova men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright, a two-time NCAA champion.
“I’m working on jump shots and getting ballhandling down, you know, a few post moves here and there, becoming a better basketball player,” said Robinson, who earned All-Rookie Second Team honors last season with the Knicks. “I want to learn as much as I can.”