UK Men's Basketball

‘This is where I want to be’: Top recruit Mitchell Robinson is back at Western Kentucky

Mitchell Robinson played in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago in the spring.
Mitchell Robinson played in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago in the spring. AP

Five-star basketball recruit Mitchell Robinson has returned to Western Kentucky and is enrolled in classes for the fall semester, the university confirmed Monday afternoon.

Robinson — a 7-footer from Louisiana — was the first McDonald’s All-American to ever sign with the Hilltoppers, and he was the centerpiece of the program’s nationally ranked recruiting class of 2017 before abruptly leaving campus earlier this summer, after less than a month in Bowling Green.

WKU Coach Rick Stansbury announced then that Robinson had been suspended indefinitely from team activities — after the player left campus — and the Hilltoppers later granted Robinson a release from his national letter of intent.

Robinson took campus visits to Kansas, Louisiana State and New Orleans as he contemplated a transfer, but — since he participated in team activities at Western Kentucky before his departure — it was unlikely that he would’ve been granted an NCAA waiver to play this season for any team other than the Hilltoppers.

There was also talk that Robinson might sit out the 2017-18 season altogether and train for next year’s NBA Draft, where he is projected as a possible first-round lottery pick. Instead, he left Louisiana for Western Kentucky on Sunday night and apparently will re-join the team for his freshman season.

“I’ve said it many times — Mitchell is a good kid who can benefit greatly from the structure and accountability provided to him here,” Stansbury said Monday. “As I stated previously, there are requirements for his return that will be handled internally.”

Robinson averaged 25.7 points, 12.6 rebounds. and 6 blocked shots per game as a high school senior. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 6 overall player and top center in the class of 2017.

“I’ve learned from some decisions I’ve made in my life,” Robinson said Monday. “I accept all responsibility for my actions and look forward to gaining back the respect of all of my coaches, teammates and fans. This is where I want to be, and I want to help the Hilltoppers compete for a championship.”

Western Kentucky’s recruiting class also includes Top 100 prospect Josh Anderson, as well as Kentucky high school standouts Jake Ohmer and Taveion Hollingsworth, the state’s Mr. Basketball winner. Three-star guard Chris Duarte rounds out the five-player class.

In the same statement Monday, the Hilltoppers announced that junior college shooting guard Jordan Brangers did not meet NCAA transfer requirements and is no longer on the team. Brangers was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 junior-college player in the recruiting class of 2017.