“Not really overthinking it or thinking I need to be this other person, just kinda being true to myself and being who I am I think is the biggest thing.”
Spoken like a true Boston College Eagle, Jerome Robinson describes how he keeps himself in check after being selected 13th overall in the first round at the NBA Draft this past summer. The Gavel had the privilege of speaking on the phone with Robinson last week, learning more about his transition from BC to the LA Clippers and his adjustment thus far.
Robinson recounted his experience at the draft as “just pure excitement,” followed by focusing on not tripping while walking up the stairs to the stage. Despite any anxiety, Robinson explained that being surrounded by his family and friends, as well as a variety of significant basketball figures, made it a truly great moment.
“[I was] able to talk to people, get their knowledge on different things, and just kind of soak it all in,” said Robinson. “It’s awesome in the moment, you know. You try not to be too star-struck because this is where you are now and you have to roll with it.”
When asked about some analysts’ uncertainty regarding his selection as 13th overall, Robinson humbly said he was not surprised. He went on to explain that BC does not receive a great deal of television coverage, so reporters may not have paid as much attention to his growth over his three years in Boston.
“Any other player would’ve been picked in my position,” said Robinson in regards to his play. “I think it was more [that the analysts] needed to do their own research. They’ll find you.”
Nonetheless, the lack of faith surrounding his selection at number thirteen doesn’t faze Robinson; his enthusiasm about moving out west and adjusting to the NBA are enough to keep his spirits lighthearted.
As Robinson transitions to the other side of the country, he has found no problem adapting to the warmer weather—a feature that Boston lacks most of the school year, especially during the basketball season. This isn't to say Robinson didn’t love Boston, but he noted that it’s hard not to admire the consistent beautiful weather and clear skies in Los Angeles.
Having only been to the West Coast once before, Robinson has appreciated his time there, exploring the opportunities his new city has to offer.
Robinson’s move to the NBA—the reason that he has had the chance to enjoy LA weather—has been accompanied by a variety of experiences and emotions throughout his first few months with the Clippers.
“It’s been a cool transition,” said Robinson. “You learn on the fly. You just have to be open to everything, ask questions when you don’t know what’s going on, and kind of literally figure it out as you go.”
Robinson was drafted along with former University of Kentucky standout Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so the two have been able to work through their new journey together as the fresh faces on the team. Luckily for the pair, the veterans on the squad have been a great help as they learn the ropes of playing in the NBA, explaining that their common ground as basketball players gives them a strong starting point to work off of.
“We’re all going through it at the same time, and it’s just been a fun time,” said Robinson of himself and the other rookies. “These vets, they give rookies all the time and they just take you under their wings. You talk to them and you learn from them and just have fun with it.”
Playing in the NBA Summer League gave Robinson the chance to begin working out his game, and he impressed in his three appearances. He averaged 24 minutes per game, putting up 13.7 points per contest on 44% shooting from the field.
When asked how he felt about his performance, Robinson expressed that although he thought it was “mediocre,” the experience was still worthwhile and gave him a sense of what playing in the pros will be like.
“I was kind of throwing it out a little too much and just kind of letting the game play instead of trying to take over at times,” said Robinson. “But it’s a new experience. I could’ve let loose a little more I feel like, but I thought I had a great time there, being able to try to fit in and just play.”
The Summer League gave Robinson some elements of his game to work on as he heads into training camp and the regular season, most notably that of just sticking with his own game. He emphasized the importance of staying confident and comfortable on the court, which he noted will come as he continues to work with the team and further discover his role.
Despite Robinson's slight displeasure with his Summer League play, Nike certainly saw something to be admired in the young star. Robinson recently signed a shoe deal with the company in September—an incredible stepping stone for the rookie.
Although he couldn’t spill many details about the contract, Robinson shared that it is a three-year deal with the opportunity for incentives as he performs better, giving him even more motivation to improve his game.
In addition to looking forward to the season in general, Robinson especially cannot wait to come back to Boston when the Clippers play the Celtics on February 9.
“I think that’s going to be awesome,” said Robinson. “…having our friends come to the game and being back in the city where I was playing for three years is going to be dope.”
While the trip back out to Boston isn’t until February, the much-anticipated event will certainly not be the first contact Robinson has with his fellow Eagles. He constantly keeps in touch with the guys and even stayed with some of them when he was visiting the Heights a few weekends ago.
Robinson added that he’s looking forward to watching the team progress this season, encouraging them to play hard in every environment that they experience. With Robinson’s absence and a number of big away games lined up including Duke, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse, the Eagles will definitely need to heed their former star's advice.
“I know those guys know how to do it,” said Robinson of his former team. “They call me all the time just talking about practice and playing and stuff like that, but I definitely think they’re ready to take that next step.”
Robinson and the Clippers open their regular season on October 17 at home against the Denver Nuggets. The Gavel eagerly anticipates watching Robinson this upcoming season and wishes him the best of luck as he continues to prepare for this next journey in his life.
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