Whether as the head coach at Mississippi State or an assistant at Texas A&M, Rick Stansbury has shown he can attract elite prospects to high-major programs.
Now the new Western Kentucky coach is proving he can also do it at a less prestigious destination.
Stansbury on Wednesday received a commitment from center Mitchell Robinson, Rivals.com’s No. 11 prospect in the 2017 class and one of high school basketball’s top shot blockers and rebounders. Robinson’s Dallas-based AAU team confirmed the commitment on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
Congrats to @kodakmitch23 on his decision to play at Western Kentucky. ???????????????????? player that is hands down the best rim protector in America.
— NikeProSkills (@NikeProSkills) June 29, 2016
How does a five-star big man commit to an out-of-state program that fired its coach this past spring after losing 16 games and finishing below .500 in Conference USA? His loyalty to Stansbury apparently outweighed offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and others.
It was Stansbury who was the lead recruiter when Robinson initially committed to Texas A&M last October. It was Stansbury’s departure that led Robinson to reopen his recruitment this past April. It was Stansbury who urged Robinson to consider Western Kentucky and further greased the wheels by hiring his godfather, former North Carolina guard Shammond Williams, as an assistant coach.
What Western Kentucky is getting in Robinson is potentially its most significant recruiting coup in years, if not decades. The Louisiana native has blossomed into a consensus top 20 prospect this spring by showcasing improvement on offense and going from good to great as a rebounder and rim protector.
The key for Stansbury will be figuring out a way to surround Robinson with enough perimeter talent for Western Kentucky to take advantage of his presence. The Hilltoppers reportedly are also pursuing coveted Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman and top 100 Class of 2017 wing Galen Alexander.
The commitment from Robinson can only make Western Kentucky more attractive to other prospects.
Soon, perhaps Kentucky and Louisville won’t be the only Bluegrass State programs viewed as potential destinations for top talent.
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