As part of his rehabilitation from his left ankle surgery, Glenn Robinson III made his season debut with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants today, tallying 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting in 27 minutes of action.
“It’s great to have Glenn with us to get some game live minutes,” head coach Steve Gansy told Mad Ants sideline reporter John Nolan at halftime. “You could tell he got a little tired early on, but I really like his pace right now. I think he got his legs under him a little towards the end of the second half.”
After misfiring on six of his first seven field goal attempts, the reigning Slam Dunk Champion scored seven points over the final 2:38 minutes of the half, including a confidence-boosting pull-up two out of isolation to beat the shot clock.
Other than his mini-hot streak, here were the three biggest takeaways from his return to play:
He didn’t hesitate to attack:
Robinson III got his first basket on a layup in transition which required him to plant his left foot.
It wasn’t particularly artful, but his willingness to attack the basket and finish through contact was an encouraging sign with regard to the mental aspect of him trusting his ankle again.
He struggled to get into a rhythm with his jumper:
Outside of the three shots he made to close the half, Robinson III’s jump shot understandably showed some signs of rust. Some of his early attempts barely grazed the front of the rim, whereas another look that came on a nifty baseline out of bounds play, specifically designed to free him up from corner after running off a staggered double screen, sailed several feet long of the basket.
With the Pacers shooting below 35 percent from three during the month of January, regaining an above 40 percent shooter off the catch in exchange for nothing at the trade deadline would certainly be timely.
Just don’t expect him to pick up where he left off until he’s had the opportunity to find his conditioning and timing.
He might have some new tricks:
Before suffering a severe ankle sprain, Glenn Robinson III spent the summer preparing himself to be ready to put the ball on the floor and create separation whenever opponents crowd him behind the three-point line.
Early in the third quarter against the Wisconsin Herd, he came and got the ball from Jarrod Uthoff on a hand-off and didn’t hesitate to look for his own shot by using long strides to attack his man one-one-one before finishing in the middle of the lane with a soft fadeaway jump shot.
“To be on the perimeter you have to be a playmaker,” Kevin Pritchard told reporters of Robinson III on media day. “He’s got to make the right plays. He’s athletic, obviously. But, he’s got to use that athleticism all the time and he’s got to be determined every single game.”
“He’s got to impose his will because sometimes you can be too nice of guy. Glenn is just kind of a nice guy, but I think he’s really determined to show he can exist in this league.”
Maybe, during his time spent off of the court, Glenn Robinson III decided he is done being the nice guy.