Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winthrop's Robinson makes mark on D

Winthrop junior Mantoris Robinson had a breakout season as a sophomore, but it didn't draw a lot of notice.

While the Eagles were winning their fourth straight Big South Conference championship, others took the starring roles, scoring more points and grabbing more rebounds. Robinson, who played prep basketball at Charlotte's Butler High before finishing up at Fork Union Military, averaged 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds. But the 6-foot-5 forward built his reputation with his defense. He wound up starting 25 of 34 games, leading the team with 29 blocked shots and regularly guarding the opponent's best offensive player.

As the new season prepares for launch, Winthrop coach Randy Peele sums Robinson up this way:

"I think a lot of our leadership will come from Mantoris. I think ultimately, he is one of the best defenders in the country."

At Butler, Robinson was an all-state performer as a senior, averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. While his scoring and leadership should increase in keeping with his new status as one of the most experienced Eagles, expect him to continue playing that remarkable "D."

The next time you watch the Eagles, keep an eye on Robinson. You'll likely see him do a lot of the little things that make a good team even better.

--Stan Olson