Men's Basketball Sports

The total package: freshman guard looking to make immediate impact

Kelvin Sampson WEB 2

Freshman point guard Galen Robinson, Jr., center, is looking to make an immediate impact for the Cougars, hoping to contest for the starting spot in his debut season. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

When men’s basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson recruited point guard Galen Robinson Jr., he didn’t do so with intentions for the freshman to ride the bench.

Robinson has no plans to be there either.

Coming out of his senior year, where he received the Guy V. Lewis Award as Houston’s top high school player,  Robinson plans to serve as a leader to take the Cougars to winning heights.

“I feel like coach Sampson recruited me due to my leadership ability and my focus to get things done,” Robinson said. “I believe leadership is one of my best qualities, because I like to be able to run stuff.”

Robinson said he welcomes the competition of trying to dethrone the incumbent starter, and he also enjoys it.

“It only makes me better,” Robinson said. “I feel like I’m built for it, so it should be fun.”

LeRon Barnes, one of the team captains from the 2014-2015 season, said Robinson has moments where he does sit back and learn, but he’s no pushover.

“Ronnie (Johnson) and Galen are really competitive,” said Barnes. “He (Galen) doesn’t just sit back and let Ronnie run him over. They go at it every now and then.

Although he admits he initially did not have plans to attend UH, Robinson feels that joining the Cougars was the best decision for him. He feels as though he has improved in the short time that he has been here thanks to Sampson.

“When coach Sampson got hired, I don’t know what happened,” Robinson said. “It was like magic…He has helped me since I’ve been here. I’m noticing my growth—with my jump shot and my decision-making. The way I think has evolved.”

Sampson said he’s always expected great things from the freshman guard.

“When we were recruiting Galen, I said ‘that kid’s going to be a captain one day’,” Sampson said. “He’s going to be a leader in this program because he has great intangibles, and he really fits the way we want to play.”

Sampson said Robinson really understands the point guard position.

“There are a lot of guys who want to play fast, but they’re not sure how,” Sampson said. “Galen is one of those point guards that can play at multiple speeds.”

Although a freshman, Robinson wants Cougar fans to know that he has every intention to bring success to UH, along with a bit of flash.

“I like winning, and I really believe I can help this team win,” Robinson said. “I like the pick-n-roll. On the pick, I’ll throw an alley, dunk it and get the crowd excited.”

On the team’s trip to China this past August, Robinson said he found playing in a foreign country beneficial, as it prepared him even more to play at the collegiate level.

“That was some basketball like I never played,” Robinson said. “The pace was fast and I like playing fast so it was fun, but they played dirty. If you can play through that and all that adversity…then you can play through anything.”

Although he had displayed a bit of inexperience during their games, Sampson said Robinson is the type of player who’s going to keep working to improve.

“He understands areas that he needs to work on,” Sampson said. “It’s just a matter of him adjusting to the speed of play, the physicality of college basketball versus high school.”

Robinson is ready to begin his first year on the court and isn’t looking to blend in.

“I want to be first-team all-everything,” Robinson said. “First team for the freshman—that’s one of my goals and, you know, go to the NCAA Tournament and get a couple of wins. That’s the bigger goal.”

Sampson said he plans to let the freshman duke it out with other the other guards in practice every day.

“You always talk about freshman and their decision-making and how they compete and such, but Galen’s got the entire package of a point guard,” Sampson said. “We’re really excited about his future.”

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