Also, America's Test Kitchen Live, Mr. Fuji T-shirt, and soggy fields
What’s next for Tyree Robinson? That’s the question more than a few local high school hoops followers have been asking.
According to both Leo Papile, the founder of the Boston Amateur Athletic Club (BABC), and Durfee coach Jameson Guimond, Mr. Robinson is a much sought-after talent for Division 1 junior college hoops programs. There are no Division 1 JUCOs in New England. Some of the hotbeds for top JUCOs are Texas, Kansas and Florida. These are the schools that routinely send big-time talent to Division 1 college programs.
Robinson played for BABC, one of the nation’s top amateur basketball programs.
Due largely to the NCAA’s much-improved academic regulations and requirements, JUCOs, Papile said, have in the last 10 to 15 years become far more serious about taking proper care of student-athletes on the academic plane, with supports in place for those with learning disabilities. Robinson has learning disabilities and is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Major JUCOs recruit for basketball like big-time universities do, offering full scholarships. Robinson figures to land one. “They are all aware of him,” Papile said.
Former Wareham High star Darien Fernandez is a product of the BABC. He played at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is headed for Division 1 Jacksonville University. Chris Herren played for the BABC.
Guimond provided a list of major JUCOs who have shown “high interest” in Robinson: Hill, Howard, and Odessa in Texas, Sheridan (Wyoming), Vincennes (Indiana), Northwest Florida. Sheridan is already on Robinson’s the list for an official visit, Guimond said, with others likely to follow.
“Tyree played AAU ball at such a high level for so long, he understands what this high-level basketball is all about,” Guimond said.
Papile sees the high-flying Robinson (listed at a 6-foot-4) as a “undersized power forward,” one who will expand and hone his game greatly in JUCO to the point where he could land in NCAA Division 1, probably not at one of the biggest name schools, but perhaps, at a Missouri Valley Conference or a Mountain West Conference school.
Papile said he expects in a few years down the line to see Robinson playing on ESPN.
“There’s no question he could perform at that level,” Papile said. “He’s such a good team defender. He has very good instincts for team defense. He’s really a smart basketball player, a very clever thinker on the basketball court. And he’s such an awesome competitor.”
Former Durfee coach Skip Karam has often said that as good as former Hilltopper Ernie Fleming was in high school, it was amazing how much he improved at Gardner-Webb Junior College, where Fleming played with and befriended NBA Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore. Gilmore and Fleming both moved on to Jacksonville.
Papile said he loves Robinson’s Fall River toughness and can envision Robinson adding a medium-range jumper to his rim-attacking arsenal.
As we might expect, Robinson’s two-year numbers at Durfee are staggering. In 40 games, he scored 952 points, an average of 23.8 points per game. This year he averaged 25.7 points, 14 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and 2 steals while shooting 65 percent from the field.
Academically, Guimond said, Robinson “tries his best. He’s getting his grades. He’s on target to graduate.”
• As mentioned in co-worker/boss Mike Thomas’ columns, due to all this snow, some or many area baseball and softball fields may be unplayable for scheduled early-season games. Who knows, the trouble may carry into scheduled midseason. Durfee and Bishop Connolly are notoriously soggy. If local alternative sites are sought, this camp remains a big fan of North Park, just a great place to watch a baseball game from the elevated third-base side. Some argue it is too small for high school. That shortcoming can be negated by using wooden bats. Bishop Connolly played there a few years ago, with no trouble. That was not so long after Razor Ramon basically told me to get my life in order.
• There are baseball games scheduled for this month, including Durfee at Coyle-Cassidy on the 31st.
• My most-missed local baseball rivalry: Durfee and Barnstable. Some great games and wild endings.
• Attention, WWE. Here is a free merchandising tip. Design a Mr. Fuji T-shirt. There would be a head-and-shoulders picture of Fuji in his tux and bowler. He would have that trademark untrustworthy smile. And on the shirt would be the phrase, “The Devious One.”
Wrestling fans from the ’70s and ’80s (myself included) would jump all over this one.
• Happy 69th birthday, Micky Dolenz. Happy 38th to Heinz Ward. And Alan Hale Jr. (Skipper) would have been 95 today.
• The chicken wings at Providence Coal Fired Pizza lived up to the pre-meal hype. And the show that followed at the Vets, "America's Test Kitchen Live", exceeded expectations. I feared it might be boring after reading some reviews, but Kimball and Co. came through, even without Bridget.
If bored, email Greg Sullivan at email@example.com. In Twitter Village, he resides @GregSullivanHN.