The Big Ten isn’t a one-and-done conference quite yet.
Hours after Michigan State announced that Gary Harris would return for his sophomore season, Michigan’s Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III did the same thing at a Crisler Center press conference Thursday.
“I’ve decided to continue my career at Michigan,” McGary said, and Robinson echoed him moments later.
“After doing all of the research and gathering information, I have decided to return for my sophomore season,” Robinson said.
The decision is a relief for Michigan fans, especially after both Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. had announced earlier this week that they were leaving for the NBA. With highly touted point guard Derrick Walton entering school this fall, and a strong sophomore class including McGary, Robinson, Nik Stauskas, Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert, the Wolverines will enter the 2013-14 season as a strong contender for the Big Ten championship.
Michigan coach John Beilein, who supported Burke and Hardaway’s decisions to go pro, was happy to see his two freshmen returning to school.
“It was important we gave Glenn and Mitch, and their families, as much time as they needed to make the best and most informed decision they could with all the information they gathered,” Beilein said. “We are excited to see them coming back. Both are a joy to coach, and their enthusiasm, work ethic and passion for Michigan is second to none. They improved throughout the season and have only scratched the surface of their potential as players and leaders.”
Going into the NCAA tournament, Robinson was already being talked about as a potential lottery pick but McGary was a backup who had barely registered on NBA radars. Six games later, it was McGary who was a household name, having averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in Michigan’s improbable run to the national championship game.
By the time Michigan lost the title game to Louisville, both were being listed in mock drafts as top-15 picks, leaving the Wolverines facing the possibility of losing four starters to the draft.
Robinson, though, feels he has a lot more to learn before he’s ready to follow his father’s footsteps to the NBA.
“I don’t think I’ve shown what I can do on a basketball court,” he said. “I’m going to work hard over the summer and shock some people.”
McGary and Robinson, who played AAU ball together in Indiana before coming to Michigan, were widely expected to make a joint decision, and during this week, that’s what happened.
“We are like brothers,” McGary said. “We wanted to come back together.”
A year ago, Burke also decided to return for his sophomore season, saying that he wanted a chance at playing for a national title. This time, it was two of his teammates who made the same call.
“I couldn’t leave these guys and the coaching staff,” Robinson said. “We want to make another run at the national championship.”