For anyone entering a new environment, first impressions are critical.
In the case of Oakland Mills senior Will Robinson Jr., the impression he’s made on his teammates and Howard County through the first month of the boys basketball season has been even better than expected.
The 6-foot-4 combo guard who transferred in from St. Frances has burst out of the gates with a county-best scoring average of 23.8 points per game and helped the Scorpions to a 7-2 overall record. He’s also pulling down 7.4 rebounds and generating 2.0 steals a game.
While finding his place among his teammates was priority No. 1 coming into the year, Robinson is turning his attention to helping the Scorpions prepare to get through the regional final. Oakland Mills has lost in the regional final four of the past five seasons.
Being new to the school, how familiar are you with the recent history of the Oakland Mills program?
I’ve talked to a bunch of people, so I know a good bit. I talk to Greg (Whittington). He comes up to school during practice every now and then and he obviously was a big part of it when he was in high school here. I also have talked to some of the other guys who went off to college … they all told me the history and everything. But really, I try not to think about it too much. You can’t be putting too much pressure on it. It’s still basketball and you win and you lose. But, definitely, being a senior, I’m not trying to lose that (game) this year.
How has the process been adjusting to the team?
It’s definitely taken time to get everyone jelling. Everyone just expects you to be playing great right away and when you got new parts and stuff like that, it’s not always right away. But it’s definitely coming together.
You guys lost those back-to-back games against Long Reach and Calvert Hall before picking up two big wins (over Dulaney and McDonogh) at your Holiday Tournament. Do you think the team needed those losses to be able to move forward?
I know a lot of people say you have to lose so you know how it feels or whatever. But, for me, there is pride involved. Going undefeated is the hype. I’m not ever trying to lose. But I guess now that we lost, and that’s out of the way, we can just focus. And I guess, if that’s what it took for us to be the best team we can be, then I’m fine with that.
Overall, you personally are posting huge numbers after averaging just around 8 points a game last year at St. Frances. Did you see this kind of offensive year coming?
Playing as a freshman on varsity when I was at Coppin Academy, I was averaging right around 20 points a game. Then at Digital Harbor my sophomore year it was basically the same thing. But last year at St. Frances, I don’t think people realized, but I had a strain in my achilles most of the year, so I knew I wasn’t going to be the best player I could be. Toward the end of the season I started getting those double-doubles as I got better. Then this summer I came back toward 100 percent again, so I knew I was ready to go.
Even though you were hurt, were you able to still take positive things away from the year at St. Frances?
Traveling and playing against some of those real good prep schools, seeing those top level players, that was big. And just getting to be on a team with a lot of great players, I think that forced me to become a more rounded player. Last year, my number wasn’t always called, so I improved those other things other than just scoring.
Four high schools in four years I’m sure has to be tough. What’s the hardest thing about that?
I think just adjusting to each school and the way they do things. Every team is different. Once I’m able to get out and bond with the team, though, it all seems to come together on the court. The nice thing coming to Oakland Mills was that I had already played AAU with Mamadou (Ndiaye) and I knew he was a great person. I think with some of the other guys there were a few of those looks like ‘who is this guy,’ at first, but once they saw what I could do and who I am it was all good.
A lot of people put you up there as one of the best dunkers in the state. When did you get your first in-game dunk?
My first dunk in a game was eighth grade, out in Catonsville with AAU. I was playing with Team Future. I had gotten a pass from someone on the fast break and I went up with one (hand). That was probably the most pumped I’ve been.
Do you play any other sports aside from basketball?
I mean, I’m pretty good at most sports, but I never did any other sports serious or anything. I actually did cross country at Coppin (Academy) as a freshman. At first, it was just to get in shape. I was a little chubby coming into high school. But it also ended up helping my explosion a bit, so that was nice.
I know you don’t participate in any social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — why is that?
I’m kind of like laid back and never really got into it all. Social media looks fun, but I see people and I can’t understand how they scroll through pictures and stuff for hours at a time. Some people are like “how can you not?” but others know me and know how I am. My father or my friends will sometimes send me stuff or show me stuff on there, but I don’t check on my own.
Aside from winning, any personal goals you have for the rest of the season?
Player of the Year. That’s definitely another goal of mine. To me, being able to do a lot of different things — scoring, rebounding, defense, blocks, assists, all of that stuff — that’s what a Player of the Year is. It’s not just scoring 30 points a game, so that’s why I’m working and focusing so much on all the other stuff. I want to help my team every way I can.