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Five-star freshman Robinson granted release from Western Kentucky

Mississippi State Bulldogs v Arkansas Razobacks

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - JANUARY 7: Head Coach Rick Stansbury of the Mississippi State Bulldogs signals to his players during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on January 7, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 98-88. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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Mitchell Robinson’s college career promised to be an interesting one when the top-10 Class of 2017 recruit committed to Rick Stansbury and Western Kentucky last year. It’s already living up to that billing, but it won’t be with the Hilltoppers.

A day after suspending him for leaving campus, Western Kentucky granted Robinson his release to transfer, the school announced Tuesday evening.

“WKU freshman center Mitchell Robinson has been granted his release to transfer from the Hilltopper program,” Stansbury said in a statement. “After discussing Mitchell’s future with him Monday evening, we agreed that it would be best for both sides to allow him to move in a different direction. As I’ve said before, Mitchell is a great kid, and we wish him well going forward.”

The 6-foot-11 Robinson’s departure is obviously a massive blow to Western Kentucky in the second year under Stansbury. Still, it’s not exactly a surprising development given players of Robinson’s caliber almost never end up playing in a conference like the reconstituted CUSA. Getting Robinson, not to mention four-star guard Josh Anderson, to commit to WKU was a major coup for Stansbury in Bowling Green, but his departure underscores the volatility that’s likely to accompany trying to recruit at that level at a program like Western Kentucky.

It’s going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. And no matter what, questions will follow about how, just exactly, it’s getting done.

Robinson’s path now will be interesting to follow. If he wants to play college basketball, he’ll likely have to sit out this season as a transfer at another school. As a top-10 prospect, however, Robinson would likely have a number of enticing professional opportunities in overseas leagues should he wish to pursue them. He’ll certainly have no shortage of interest from college programs looking to use a late scholarship on one of the country’s best players.