UK Men's Basketball

Stansbury says star basketball recruit Mitchell Robinson is ‘suspended indefinitely’

Rick Stansbury is entering his second season as head coach at Western Kentucky.
Rick Stansbury is entering his second season as head coach at Western Kentucky. AP

Western Kentucky basketball coach Rick Stansbury publicly commented on the absence of star recruit Mitchell Robinson for the first time Monday, saying in a statement that the 7-footer has been suspended from team activities.

“WKU freshman center Mitchell Robinson is suspended indefinitely from the program for a violation of team rules,” Stansbury said. “Mitchell is a good kid, but the team will always be more important than one individual player. He needs to understand the value of structure and accountability in his life, and his return will be dependent upon requirements that will be handled internally.

“My focus is on our team, and I’m excited about this group as we prepare for next week’s trip to Costa Rica.”

The Hilltoppers are getting ready to leave the country for an exhibition schedule in Costa Rica, and Robinson — a top-10 recruit in the class of 2017 — left WKU’s campus last week less than a month after he arrived in Bowling Green.

Robinson’s absence was first reported Friday, and it’s not clear if he intends to return to the school for his freshman season. He signed with the Hilltoppers last fall and would need a release of his national letter of intent to play college basketball elsewhere this season. Since he participated in team activities during his short stay at WKU, he would also likely need a waiver from the NCAA to play at another school this season.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported Monday that Robinson does not want to play for Western Kentucky, and he would be OK transferring and sitting out this season.

Robinson averaged 25.7 points., 12.6 rebounds. and 6 blocked shots per game as a high school senior this past season. He was named to the McDonald’s All-American team and was the Hilltoppers’ highest-rated signee in the modern recruiting era.