Georgia helped by Tennessean

Georgia helped by Tennessean

TSU transfer Robinson part of Bulldogs' rise

January 28th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports

Junior guard Gerald Robinson is doing his part to prove Georgia's basketball team is more than the two-man show of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, not that he ever shared that opinion.

"Everyone thinks it's a one-two punch, but I feel like we have a great team," Robinson said this week. "As everybody focuses on them, we can relieve the pressure, which makes us a more balanced team and makes things easier for everyone."

With a 14-5 record, the Bulldogs already have matched last season's 14-17 team in the victory column. Thompkins (17.6 ppg) and Leslie (15.0) are again leading Georgia in scoring, but the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Robinson is a stout third with 13.7 points per game on 50-percent shooting (98-of-196).

More importantly, the transfer from Tennessee State is distributing the ball to the tune of 4.2 assists a game, which ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. Fellow guard Dustin Ware ranks fifth in assists with 3.8 a game, and Georgia leads the SEC in that category with 15.5 per contest.

"Gerald Robinson has really made an impact on our team," Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. "His ability to score and shoot the ball has been welcomed, and I think his play-making for other people and his speed and quickness has really helped us. He's been a terrific defender, so he's made an immediate impact in a lot of areas."

Said Florida coach Billy Donovan: "I would liken this to when Jim Harrick was there and when Jarvis Hayes transferred in. I think that is what Robinson has done for their team."

Robinson averaged 29 points a game as a senior at Martin Luther King High in Nashville and signed with Tennessee State. He averaged 15.2 points as a TSU freshman, which was second on the team, and then led the Tigers with 17.8 points per game as a sophomore.

When he left TSU after the 2008-09 season, he not only found a new destination in Georgia but a program with a first-year coach.

"The main thing about Georgia for me was the coaching staff," Robinson said. "I was coming into a unique situation having to sit out a year, but I was not having to take a chance on the coaching staff not being there because it was new. I did a lot of research on the coaching staff, so it was a situation I really liked.

"I also think I benefited physically and mentally from last year. It was an advantage for me to just sit back and learn everything."

The Bulldogs have made obvious strides in Fox's second season, opening league play with a 77-70 win over Kentucky and briefly cracking the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2003. Yet they are 3-3 in the conference following Tuesday night's 104-91 home loss to Florida in double overtime and are in danger of slipping under .500 with a Saturday trip to Lexington.

Robinson got in early foul trouble against the Gators, which resulted in his one subpar showing in six SEC games.

"It's gone the way we expected," he said. "We've had a couple of tough losses that we wish we could get back, but that's the game of basketball. There are a lot of ups and downs. We knew there were a lot of talented teams in our division, and we're just happy to be mentioned with them."