Hoop Side with Glenn Robinson III
By Grady Byrnes
Recently, I got the opportunity to interview a great player in Glenn Robinson III. The 6’6” 200 pound Junior Guard/Forward is already committed to University of Michigan. When I first got the chance to talk to him I had to ask what his personal goals this season. I really wanted to see where his head was at. Sometimes players will give a “I don’t care as long as I’m All-Conference,” well, maybe not THAT blunt, but you get a sense of where I am going. Glenn responded to me, “I want to be a leader for my team, to help us win and be successful.” And that is a great team-mate type of answer. On the court, Glenn follows through with that answer as well. Some may say he touches the ball more than anyone, and he does; it gives his team a better opportunity to win when that happens. Equipped with a 36” vertical leap, and a jump shot ready for top tier Division 1 school programs, it makes it easy to figure out why Robinson is Lake Central High School’s “Top Dog”.
Speaking of dogs, I promised myself that I would not harp on this, but Glenn’s father is none other than Gary Lew Wallace, Purdue, and NBA Great; Glenn Robinson. They are both astounding players and physical athletes, but that is about where the comparisons end. I asked Robinson what area of his game was the most underrated attribute of his game was and he replied, “My whole game, because people always compare me to my dad; we are two different players.” This statement, to me, seems to show a sense of where “Tre” (as he is known) gets his determination from. Instead of everyone wondering how it is to live in his father’s shadow, it needs to be understood that they are two different players. They don’t even play the same position. It’s kind of like what Marcus Jordan (Michael Jordan’s son) has gone through. Marcus plays PG, and while he can score, is known for his overall offensive savvy (passing). The one major thing they have in common, other than their love of the game, is their love of winning. I asked Glenn what his expectations/goals were for this season and he didn’t disappoint yet again. “I want to go as far as we can go; be one of the best teams around even though we are young.” I love this quote because it is confident, lofty, and reasonable. Any time you have a leader like Robinson on the floor, you have a chance to win. He is a real game changer.
One big deal was Tre’s recruitment. Everyone knew he was going to go in the Big Ten (as his father played at Purdue), and Purdue was where most had him pegged to go. He ended up selecting Michigan because it was a, “Great fit, close to home, loved it, great place to be and play.” And Robinson doesn’t let all of the attention from basketball get in the way, he still carries a 3.0 GPA, which is astounding considering all of the work he puts in both during, and after the season. He also picked Michigan because their play style is similar to that of Lake Central’s, where he is currently flourishing.
Robinson has experienced a meteoric rise as of late. His eighth grade year he hadn’t had a dunk yet (he didn’t have his first dunk until after his freshman season), his freshman year he hadn’t played varsity yet, and then BAM! He has verbally committed to a Big 10 school in the summer between his sophomore and junior year. I asked what he attributed going from JV to averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds at the varsity level the next season to. He said that this rise is the result of working hard day in and day out, no matter what people may say, negative people only motivate him to become better. He says for anyone who wants to play D1 basketball that you should, “work hard at all times; it will pay off. Stay focused and don’t let anyone or anything stop you from fulfilling your dreams.” That sounds a little bit like a Michael Jordan kind of quote. Perhaps it’s the desire to be a champion that makes MJ Glenn’s favorite player. I thought that was kind of ironic, too. Surprisingly, his dad being a 2 time All-Star in the NBA did not automatically make him Tre’s favorite player, but his dad and mom are two people who Glenn considers to be his role-models.
Being a D1 commit currently isn’t enough for Glenn, he says he wants to work on his range, attacking the rim, and being more aggressive at times. An already astounding player with more range, and who is more aggressive? Wow. Glenn’s potential is limitless; the only thing that would restrict his growth is himself, and I personally don’t think he would let himself fail; he works too hard for that.
Glenn Robinson III is currently averaging 20 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, while shooting 51% from the field thus far in his Junior season and I hope he continues to grow and I wish him and his team good luck for the rest of the season.
Hoopside with Joe Crisman
By Grady Byrnes
This week, I had a chance to interview Munster’s senior 6’4”, 215 pound wingman, Joe Crisman. Joe has been called a “prolific scorer” by the Times of Northwest Indiana for his dynamic and successful squad last year. He is also the number 16 recruit in the state on our Top Prospects page. He put up 15 points, four rebounds, two steals, and five assists a game as a junior. He has already committed to Loyola because in the few times he visited, he feels like he really “clicked” with the guys on the team. Playing at Loyola (which is located in Chicago) really gives him the opportunity to represent his hometown and school, as it is less than an hour away. When I asked where he thinks he will fit-in in their program he said he will be playing at the guard spot, “and really have an opportunity to play early and show what I can do.” I love his level of confidence heading into a Division 1 program. That is the type of confidence that embodies basketball. As I interview more and more players that are Division 1 prospects, one thing is becoming apparent. They all have a certain level of confidence about themselves, and their respective games. There is no doubt in my mind that Joe will get on the court and show Loyola fans what he can do, especially from a fundamental end. When I asked Joe how he learned so much about fundamentals he says that his dad always emphasized fundamentals of the game, “Pretty much every day of the week my dad and I would go to the gym and spend hours shooting and dribbling.” This shows that there are certain things basketball players are blessed with, but there is also always a lot of work involved into becoming a Division 1 player.
Joe likes to play basketball to relax too, it’s not always a constant grind to get better, sometimes its just playing around with friends. I asked him how his game differs from a high-school game compared to playing a pick-up game with his friends. In high school games he plays a wing/shooting guard and everything is faster, and more formal. It is difficult to keep your fundamentals in tact at such a fast pace, which is why I am even more impressed with Joe’s capabilities. In a pick-up game, Joe plays point guard, it gives him the ability to feel more in control in that situation, which is good, because he may be expected to handle the ball a little bit more when he heads off to Loyola.
The recruiting process for Joe was, competitive, to say the least, as at least 11 schools were vying each other for his talents. The schools that recruited him were Valparaiso, Yale, Dartmouth, IPFW, Western Michigan, Ball State, Wright State, Eastern Illinois, the Citadel, Eastern Kentucky, and Loyola. Wait, I know Loyola is a very good school from an academic standpoint, but did I catch Yale in there? Yes, as a matter of fact Joe gets it done in the classroom as well. His 3.95 GPA is testament to that. So even though he spends countless hours in the gym, books are always a priority when it comes to playing hoops at the next level, especially for the future Finance and Sports Management major.
“My ability to jump and rebound,” are Joe’s two most underrated or least known attributes, and when he said that his two older brothers were his role models; that he would always go to their practices and try to play with them and “the older guys”, I inferred that some of his leaping ability came out of necessity to compete adequately against his older opponents.
For my final question for Joe, I asked what the best advice he could give a kid (from roughly age 9-16) that wants to play basketball at the collegiate level and he told me, “If you really want to play college basketball that only he or she can make it happen. Sacrifice time in the gym close to everyday and it'll happen.” Make no mistake about it, Joe follows this answer himself, dedicating a large amount of his time to playing the great game of basketball, as well as his education. I wish Joe and Munster the best of luck in the upcoming season.
Hoopside with DeJuan "Rico" Marrero
By Grady Byrnes
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview one of the top prospects in Indiana, and number four on our Top Prospects page. A solid 1-5 man, who averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 3.5 steals a game as a sophomore last season for the state champions Thea Bowman, DeJuan “Rico” Marrero. At first I asked the 2012 recruit what he needs to work on the most, he told me, “One of my things that I am working on to get better is my perimeter game, because in college I will be playing the 2 or 3.” Now this tells me two things that speak volumes about Rico as a player. 1) He is aware that even though he may be a “Post-perimeter” type for his high school squad, he is well aware that his size limits him at the next level to play the four or five. It isn’t going out too far on a limb to say that his athleticism may allow him to play a little bit of Power Forward, especially if he is in a “run ‘n gun” offense, as Rico can get up the court in a hurry. 2) He isn’t content with being an astounding high school player. He wants to be absolutely tremendous at the collegiate level as well. I then asked him how he felt about this upcoming high school season, and what his goals were, he responded, “My goal for this year to win state again, and if we don’t it will be a major upset.” This is a powerful sentence, but don’t get it confused for cockiness. The difference between being cocky and confident in his case is the fact that he puts in countless hours of work in the gym, along with his other teammates, and anything less than winning the Class A IHSAA State Championship again will be a considered a “major upset” to him. It is that need to win and be better than his opponent that makes Marrero a beast on the court. He can play any position fairly well, and he expects to see time on the floor at each spot this year for powerhouse Bowman. All positions for the most heavily favored team in the state? He can simply play basketball.
Marrero will certainly be able to take his game to the next level, and he has offers from just about everywhere. So I asked him if he would end up joining recent commits, and friends, Glenn Robinson III or Branden Dawson at their respective schools, or if he will end up playing for one of their rivals. And while his answer was no where near definitive, stating that his recruitment is still, “wide open,” he hinted toward that he may be playing for someone in the Big Ten other than Michigan or Michigan State when its all said and done.
“Rico” is more than a nickname to Marrero. When he was younger he played on a team where there were two kids that looked alike; one of them was DeJuan, and seeing as DeJuan is Puerto Rican, he was dubbed “Rico” and the name stuck. He got the opportunity to live up to that name as this summer he got to play with the Puerto Rican 18U National team at the 2010 FIBA Americas Tournament. “Its a different atmosphere over there,” is what Rico said in regards to the tournament, but when asked if he had the opportunity to play for Puerto Rico or USA he said that he would play for USA. Being on the team with the likes of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James would be cool, especially considering that Carmelo is the player that Marrero most likens his game to.
DeJuan is a very hard working kid who was blessed with athleticism; his first dunk was in gym class of the seventh grade. He has impeccable genes, which makes it easy to see why his mother is who he admires most. She is supportive of DeJuan and his love of basketball. He was a tremendous kid to get the chance to interview and I wish him and his Bowman Eagles the best of luck in the upcoming season.
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