February 19, 2010

Dawgs waiting on Robinson

Nothing against his former school at Tennessee State University, but when Gerald Robinson looked around, he felt he needed to make a change.

A transfer to Georgia was just what he had in mind.

"It was nothing to do with my former school," Robinson said Friday. "I didn't want to go to a big school out of high school and I wanted to stay close to home to close to my family. But when it came time to evaluate my future, basketball, academics and things, I realized it was time to move on."

Bulldog coach Mark Fox was all too happy to welcome the 6-foot-1 guard to town.

Nothing against Dustin Ware and Ricky McPhee but Robinson will give next year's Bulldog squad a dimension this year's team current does not possess - a guard with enough quickness to break down defenses, plus the ability to provide some much-needed scoring from the perimeter.

Check out Robinson's accolades his final season (2008-09) at Tennessee State.

• Started 29 of 30 games played, averaging a team-best 17.8 points per game.

• Went over the 1,000-point mark in the season finale, when he racked up 26 points in an OVC Tournament loss to Murray State.

• Led the Tigers in every major statistical category.

• Career scoring high of 36 came against Miles, a game in which he also had eight assists.

Robinson didn't take his transfer from Tennessee State lightly.

His father, Gerald Robinson Sr. was a graduate of Tennessee State and currently serves as the Tigers' tennis coach, directing both the men's and women's squads.

In fact, Robinson actually played tennis under his father before transferring to Georgia, where he's had to sit out the current season due to the NCAA's transfer rule.

"I thought at first that I'd really dread it," Robinson said. "But actually, it's been a plus because it's given me the opportunity to get better every day. Of course, there would be some times when I'd get down when we'd practice and me not able to play, but the plusses definitely outweigh all that."

Fox said there's no doubt the impact Robinson will make with next year's team.

"He was recruited to be a point guard but our guards are interchangeable. He'll play lots of places, but his ability to make plays," Fox said. "His level of quickness and athleticism is desperately needed on this team and he will make an immediate impact."

No doubt the Bulldogs could use the affable Robinson when Georgia (11-13, 3-8) hosts Alabama (14-11, 4-7) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum (SEC Network).

Even Fox wonders what the team's record might be right now had the transfer been able to play right away.

"We'd probably have four or five more wins with him this year. He has some characteristics as player that this team need," Fox said. "We're excited to have him. It's been a hard year for Gerald. Sitting out is hard because he knows he can help the team. Days before the games are hard on him because he knows he has to sit out and can't play."

And play he can.

According to McPhee, although Robinson is not be eligible to play this season, it hasn't kept him from pushing his teammates in practice.

"He helps us out with the scout team, getting us prepared for each team we play. I'm really impressed with what he brings," McPhee said. "I really think he'd give Devin Downey a run for his money for quickness."

Those who follow SEC basketball will realize that's very heady praise.

Downey, a senior guard with South Carolina, leads the SEC in scoring, but it's his ability to break down opposing defenses and run the floor for the Gamecocks which earns him the highest praise.

"I take that as a major compliment," Robinson said. "Downey's a great player. He's little in stature but knows how to get things done. I take that as a major compliment."

Fox smiled when told what McPhee had said.
"I don't know if I'd go that far, but Gerald is definitely quick and his play-making abilities will help our team," Fox said.

That's ultimately Robinson's biggest goal.

"I think I will add some athleticism to our backcourt," he said. "We're kind of small now, and I think by being a little bit quicker, I would help get guys to collapse and drop it off to the big men. I'm also going to try and bring some leadership to the point guard position and just make everybody else around me better. Hopefully, that will make us a more balanced team."

Alabama at Georgia

WHERE: Stegeman Coliseum

WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 11-13, 3-8; Alabama 14-11, 4-7

TV: SEC Network

RADIO: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, at Vanderbilt

NOTES: Georgia's next win will equal its 2009 victory total, as well as surpass its total number of SEC wins from '09. The biggest difference in this comparison is the difficulty in the re¬spective schedules. The 2009 slate was rated the 74th most difficult among 348 Division I schools. The current schedule is rated the 9th toughest in the country, the highest rating for a Georgia schedule since the 2001 & 2003 slates that were listed No. 1 nationally. … Saturday's game holds particular signifi¬cance for Georgia assistant Philip Pearson. The Montgomery, Ala., native spent 16 of the previous 20 years representing the Alabama program, either as a player or coach. He served as its interim head coach for the final 13 games of the 2009 season, winning six of those, including a first-round game at the SEC Tournament. Pearson's first win as the Bama coach was the last meeting between these two schools, a 75-70 decision on Jan. 31 in Tuscaloosa. … The entire Bulldog team, in fact, is a comparative juggernaut on offense during the SEC schedule. The Bulldogs' per-game scoring average through 11 SEC games (69.8 ppg) is actually 2.3 points higher than their overall average. That's a rarity indeed; not since 2001 has a Georgia team's final SEC-games aver¬age been higher than its final overall scoring average. Additionally, the Bulldogs lead the SEC in FG percentage, 3-point FG percentage and as¬sists during the conference schedule. Last Saturday against South Carolina, 15 of Georgia's 21 baskets were assisted (71%). The NCAA Staticians' Manual estimates that 50-60 percent of all field goals are assisted by a pass.

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