This season for the University of Dayton men’s basketball team, two of the new players that fans might not be quite familiar with yet, were actually very familiar with each other before even stepping foot on campus.
Freshmen big men Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott arrived at UD after being teammates at Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio, for the past four years.
The first two commits in head coach Archie Miller’s 2012 recruiting class, both were originally committed to other schools, Robinson at West Virginia and Scott to Cincinnati, before ultimately committing to the Flyers.
Not only were both Robinson and Scott a one-two punch on their high-school team, they were also a one-two punch in the recruiting rankings, rated as the fifth and sixth best players in Ohio respectively by ESPN.com, as well as the 52nd and 53rd best power forwards in the country.
According to an interview conducted with recruitsnationwide.com before coming Dayton, Scott said he thinks having himself and Robinson on the court for the Flyers will greatly benefit the team.
“It helps me know him a lot more on and off the court,” Scott said. “We are the best 1-2 punch in Ohio and to take that to college can only be a good thing.”
The dynamic duo is also used to winning, as they were a stunning 98-6 in their high school careers, winning a state championship in 2009 with current Boston Celtic and former Ohio State University stand out Jared Sullinger. They were also members of the 2011 Amateur Athletic Union national champion 17U All-Ohio Red Team.
Robinson said he believes playing for Northland, as well as learning from Sullinger, has prepared him well for the college game.
“Playing behind Jared Sullinger for a couple years was a good experience to help me grow as a player,” Robinson said. “We endured a lot of success that just gave me a winning attitude on and off the court.”
Last season for UD, the frontcourt began the season with a lack of depth, and the problem was multiplied after current redshirt senior center Josh Benson went down mid-season with a knee injury.
Now this season, the frontcourt seems to be the strongest part of this Flyers team, thanks in large part to the additions of Scott and Robinson. The duo has already gained much attention after just two exhibition games.
“I’m most pleased right now with our inside guys,” Miller said. “In particular, our two young kids have been given an opportunity to get a lot of reps and I think they’ve cashed in on them. They show signs of that if they can continue to develop, we can have one of the better frontcourts that maybe I’ve been around in a long time, if we can stay healthy.”
In particular, Robinson has been garnering the praise of his teammates, including senior guard Kevin Dillard.
“He’s another big body for us,” Dillard said. “He’s a great finisher down low and a great rebounder. If he keeps working and keeps improving, he can be a big part of our success.”
Robinson has also drawn praise from his head coach.
“You know he has a unique game, he’s a very crafty player,” Miller said. “He’s got quick feet, he’s got great hands and he’s got great footwork. He’s unorthodox for a lot of people around the basket because I don’t think a lot of people understand how long he is and how big he is. He’s going to be a terrific player.”
Not only has Robinson been looked at as potentially the best freshman on the team this year, he also sees himself as the best freshman in all of the Atlantic 10. He said that one of his goals to is to be A-10 Rookie of the Year.
As for Scott, he said his goals while at UD are a little less ambitious, as he said he hopes “to help my team the best I can and become the best college player that I can become and learn while doing it.”