INDIANAPOLIS — Cuonzo Martin has every right to feel old when his Tennessee team tips off against Michigan in Friday's Sweet 16 matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Sure, Martin might only be 42 years old and still tilts toward the younger side for a major college basketball coach. But he has to feel a bit long in the tooth when he looks at the Wolverines game film and sees Glenn Robinson III posing as one of the Volunteers' biggest challenges in the Midwest Regional semifinal.
Robinson may be 6-foot-6 today, but Martin knew him when he weighed only three pounds. Martin was college teammates with Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson at Purdue in the early '90s. Robinson III was born premature in January 1994, two months before Robinson and Martin led the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight.
"I'm happy for [Glenn Robinson III] and it will be fun playing against him," Martin said on Thursday. "Of course, we'd like to get the win, but I'm happy to see where he's come, how far he's come as a basketball player. He's a great kid."
Martin said the elder Robinson was a "great player, probably the greatest I've played with or against." He holds a similarly high opinion of Robinson III and tried to recruit him out of Lake Central High School in Indiana. He says he looks at the son on the court and is reminded of the father.
Robinson's mother Shantelle Clay was a Purdue freshman when she gave birth and was also friends with Martin in West Lafayette. Robinson and Martin haven't run into each other in Indianapolis yet, but the Michigan sophomore says he plans on making it a point to shake Martin's hand before the game.
"He's a great family friend. I know my mom and grandma are close with him and his family," Robinson III said. "Great guy, and it's just funny how things work out."
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