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Potential lottery pick Mitchell Robinson leaves college, to spend year training for NBA draft

2017 McDonald's All American Game

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 29: Mitchell Robinson #22 of the boys east team dunks the ball during the 2017 McDonalds’s All American Game on March 29, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The West Team won 109-107. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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Mitchell Robinson enrolled at Western Kentucky, left Western Kentucky, visited other schools re-enrolled at Western Kentucky and is now again leaving Western Kentucky – all before his freshman season even started.

Mitchell Robinson, via Evan Daniels of Scout:

“I’ve decided to leave Western Kentucky and just focus on next year’s NBA Draft,” Robinson said. “I want to thank Western Kentucky, the coaching staff, the fans and my teammates, but I decided to pursue a professional career.”
“The lifetime goal of mine is to play in the NBA and I feel like forgoing my year of college and going straight to work on a day to day basis will help prepare me, so I can focus just on basketball and maturing,” Robinson added.

Robinson projects as a mid-first-rounder, though I suspect this decision will hurt his stock. The athletic 7-footer has excellent physical skills, but he must improve his feel for the game. That’s less likely to happen while training in private. That Robinson can’t seem to figure out his plan is also a red flag.

There’ll be a lot of attention on his pre-draft workouts and interviews, as those will play an outsized role in his evaluations.

Hamidou Diallo nearly became a first-rounder this year as a none-and-done player, but he withdrew from the draft to return to Kentucky. He also at least practiced with Kentucky last season.

Robinson is charting a very different path.