In the pre-season leading up to what we thought was going to be another fun year of Carolina Basketball, one of the known commodities was Brandon Robinson. One of the bigger question marks was also Brandon Robinson. The senior played 11 minutes his junior season, and shot 49% from the field, and 46% from behind the three point line. But how would this translate from role player to starter? Would he be a liability on the defensive end as an undersized wing, in a conference full of talented perimeter players? A lot like this team as a whole, we found out a lot about Brandon Robinson, the man and the player in the 2019-20 season:
The season didn’t get off to the best of starts for Robinson, who suffered an ankle injury in a pre-season scrimmage, just before the season opener. He made his season debut in the Bahamas against Alabama, scoring 12 points, while looking like the perimeter piece the team missed in his absence. 2 days later, he scored 13 points in what was a big time win over Oregon, in a battle of top 10 squads. Upon the return from Paradise Island, Carolina lost 4 straight, and Robinson only scored in double figures once. The offensive woes Roy Williams had warned us about, were starting to become a reality. In the final 2 games of the non-conference season, Robinson scored double digits both times, and it was no coincidence the team won both. As they were about to start up ACC play, Robinson was confident in his game, and the team was starting to find itself in the absence of Cole Anthony.
To start the new year, Carolina had 3 straight conference games at home. All were winnable games, and a chance to position itself to be a contender whenever Anthony returned from injury. Instead they lost all 3 in frustrating fashion. One of the losses was to Clemson, who won for the first time ever in Chapel Hill. The loss overshadowed Robinson’s career game. Robinson scored a career best 27 points, on 9-17 shooting. Robinson even played a week later at Pittsburgh despite being involved in a minor car accident. The accident did force him to miss a road game at Virginia Tech, as Carolina was in the midst of losing 5 straight. At 8-10 and the season looking lost, Carolina ended a 5 game losing streak in a blowout win over Miami. Robinson set a new career high, this time scoring 29 points, on 11-16 shooting, including 6-10 from 3. Less than 48 hours he scored 11 points in a road win over NC State. While his production was huge, it was his refusal to not be on the court that inspired his teammates. He left the game numerous times, with a variety of injuries, But Robinson wouldn’t be denied the ability to be on the floor one last time for a win in PNC Arena.
Carolina would go on to lose their next 7 games, but Robinson was only available to play in three games, as the injury bug eventually caught up to him. On his senior night he scored 18 points to lead his team to a third straight win, connecting on 5 triples. In his final game in Cameron, Robinson scored 11 points in the regular season finale loss. The team would have to win 5 games in 5 days to make the NCAA Tournament, at the ACC Tournament. They routed Virginia Tech, where Robinson scored 17 points. Unfortunately the next night wasn’t as fun, as Syracuse ended their season 81-53, and Robinson scored 4 points in his final game as a Tar Heel.
37% 3 Point FG
114.9 Offensive Rating
105.4 Defensive Rating
It was a tough year for the team, and at times for Robinson individually. Nonetheless the senior displayed a level of perseverance we can all respect, and like Roy Williams told him back at the 2017 Final Four, the once undersized guard did turn himself into a big time basketball player.