Basketball – Monmouth’s Robinson Honing Skills in the JSBL
Written by Joe Esquivel-Murphy
The Jersey Shore Basketball League has always been a place where college players can improve their game over the summer. The JSBL features former and current college players with a good number of the former college guys playing professionally.
Monmouth senior point guard Justin Robinson is looking to improve on his game this summer after a junior season in which he won the 2015-16 MAAC Player of the Year. Robinson was third in the MAAC in scoring with 19.3 points per game, but struggled in the MAAC Tournament final with only 14 points on 2-for-9 shooting. In the tournament final, he was unable to get his shots to fall, which was at least part of the reason Monmouth fell to Iona, 79-76. The loss to their Conference rival left the Hawks on the NCAA Tournament bubble and they wound up missing the tournament despite setting a school record for wins with 28 and winning the regular season MAAC title with a conference record of 18-2.
The first half of Robinson’s Jersey Shore Basketball League on Wednesday was shaky, as he missed five of his six three-point attempts. On top of the frustrating individual start, Robinson’s Seaview Jeep squad trailed T&T Coast by 11 points at the half. He clearly shook off his poor first-half performance as he went on to score 28 second half points – part of a 43-point performance and a 10-point win for Seaview.
Robinson believes the key to his second half scoring outburst is due to him attacking the basket more instead of settling for bad shots early in transition.
“Once I started going to the basket and getting my teammates involved, my shots started to fall,” Robinson said.
The Monmouth guard’s ability to break the defense down off the bounce proved crucial for Seaview, as T&T Coast was unable to keep the 5-foot-8 point guard out of the paint. Robinson showed improved passing during his debut as he dished out numerous assists to open cutters and shooters.
The Seaview player that benefitted the most from Robinson’s point play was former UMBC big man Andrew Feeley. The Scotch Plains native and current pro in Venezuela gave Robinson the opportunity for easy assists with his constant movement around the basket. Robinson said the connection he has with Feeley makes it easier for him to run the offense.
“(It) definitely makes it a little easier, just because he makes me see things in different way,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s ability to overcome a bad start to a game bodes well for Monmouth after the Hawks were unable to gain a bid to the NCAA Tournament in the wake of the point guard’s poor performance in the MAAC title game. His ability to break down the defense and score has always been there, but improved passing vision could lead to Robinson being this year’s Kay Felder, the 5-foot-9 point guard from Oakland University who finished third in the nation in scoring and led the country in assists. Felder was selected No. 54 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in last week's NBA Draft.