James Robinson Looks To Avenge Hoop Summit Loss
Named to the Washington Post All-Met and All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference first teams after averaging 11.2 points 8.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game as a senior in 2011-12, James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.) is one of the nation's elite 18-and-under athletes competing this week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for one of 12 roster spots on the 2012 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team.
The last time Robinson suited up for USA Basketball, the outcome was not what he had hoped for. On April 7, Robinson was one of 10 U.S. team members that lost 84-75 to the World Select Team in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit, and he was joined on that team by fellow training camp participant Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas).
"It was very dissappointing," Robinson admitted about the hoop summit loss. "I felt like as a team we worked really hard in practice and come game time we just didn't execute the game plan like Coach [Kevin] Boyle and Coach [Mike] Jones told us to. Going into this event, I'm definitely prepared to work evern harder than we did last time and to work for some different results."
This week's training camp is a very different event from the Nike Hoop Summit, which pits the nation's best high school seniors against a team of top players from around the world age 19-years-old or younger in a one-game showdown, and Robinson and Sulaimon are the only players in camp with prior USA Basketball experience.
"For Rasheed and I, having some previous experience coming here now, we see some familiar faces in the USA staff. We didn't play with the FIBA basketball last time, and that's one adjustment we are going to have to get used to. Other than that, just having a feel for USA Basketball does give us a little bit of an advantage."
Though the USA lost the game, Robinson said he learned from the experience.
"I remember everybody really working hard to play for each other and to represent the country to the best of our ability. Obviously, we didn't get the job done but this week we are definitely going to prepare for something different.
"The international rules are definitely different. We had to adjust, especially in the first couple of minutes of the game, and we did that pretty well I thought. We even had a chance to win it down the stretch, but we came up short."
One of Robinson's high school teammates also is participating in the USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team training camp. Jerami Grant (Bowie, Md.), a 6-7 forward, played alongside Robinson at DeMatha Catholic, and the pair prepared for training camp together.
"We pretty much worked out every day -- ball handling, shooting, conditioning -- all preparing for this event," Robinson said of getting ready for training camp. "You get a chance to measure your ablities up against the best players in the country, and then hopefully, if you make the team, the best players in the (FIBA Americas zone)."
Eleven of the training camp's 23 players will miss the cut for the 2012 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team, and finalists for the team are expected to be announced after this evening's practice (June 7). The roster will be selected by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee, which is on hand to watch the first three days of training camp.
"I'm going to try and be a leader on the court and work as hard as I can on both ends of the court and make sure I'm playing hard defense and hustling," Robinson said. "Hopefully I'll impress the committee."
Those that do impress the committee will earn the opportunity to travel to Sao Sabastiao do Paraiso, Brazil, to compete for USA Basketball in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20. The top four finishing teams there qualify their nation for a spot in next summer's 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.
"It would be testament to my hard work," Robinson said of making the team. "I feel like I work really hard. If I had the opportunity to represent my country for a second time, it would really mean a lot to me."