Projected first-round pick Mitchell Robinson withdraws from NBA Combine

Mitchell Robinson, a projected first-round pick in the 2018 NBA draft, withdrew from the NBA combine Wednesday without any immediate explanation given, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Who is Mitchell Robinson?

Robinson is a former five-star recruit who committed to Western Kentucky out of high school. But shortly after he enrolled for the summer, he left the program and contemplated transferring, though that likely would have forced him to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. In late August he decided to not play college basketball whatsoever and instead began focusing on preparing for the NBA.

Robinson remains very much an unknown prospect. His decision to commit to Western Kentucky over a host of more traditional powerhouses that had offered him was a surprising one. That he never actually played for the Hilltoppers makes him all the more difficult to evaluate.

Mitchell’s talent — or at least the talent he showed at Chalmette High School — is undeniable. A 7’1,” 225-pound big man, Mitchell runs the floor effortlessly, jumps out the gym, blocks and rebounds everything near him and shows signs of a polished offensive game in his high school highlights.

He averaged 20.9 points, 13.6 rebounds and 8.1 blocks in his senior season. The combination of skills he put on display led him to a McDonald’s All-American selection, and he scored 14 points on seven-for-nine shooting in the game.

How does this impact Robinson’s draft status?

The short answer is: It’s hard to say.

As Givony tweeted, one can’t read too much into what Robinson’s withdrawal means at this point. If he received a guarantee from a team that he would get drafted, that may have altered his plans. However, given Robinson’s past, it’s hard to know exactly what’s behind the absence, and the announcement came on the opening day of the combine, which is quite late.

Still, unless something shocking or extremely concerning about his character comes out of this absence, he will be a first-round pick and perhaps a lottery pick. While Robinson needs to get stronger to compete at the next level, he has the size and skill set that NBA teams are looking for in their big men.

What’s next for Robinson?

While dozens of Robinson’s draft classmates are at the combine in Chicago, Robinson will wait until draft night — June 21 — to hear his name called. How long he has to wait is to be determined, but his withdrawal from the combine will certainly be a talking point when his name is read.

Mitchell Robinson withdrew from the NBA Combine on Wednesday. (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP)
Mitchell Robinson withdrew from the NBA Combine on Wednesday. (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP)

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