Nate Robinson Will Remain at Washington
June 17, 2004
SEATTLE - Sophomore Nate Robinson announced during a press conference Thursday that he has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft list and will remain at the University of Washington.
The 5-foot-9 guard sent a letter to the NBA Office on April 7, declaring himself eligible for the June 24 draft. He did not sign with an agent, leaving his option open to remain in school. Robinson attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago from June 8-10 where he was evaluated by NBA scouts and general managers from whom he received feedback.
He mailed another letter to NBA headquarters on Thursday indicating his intent to renounce his draft eligibility. Early entry candidates had until 2 p.m. Pacific Time on June 17 to officially withdraw from the draft.
'As of today I decided to come back to school for another year and pretty much just take flight,' Robinson announced before explaining his goals for next season. 'To take Husky basketball back to where it needs to be, back up to a winning program like we did last year, but even better. Getting the Pac-10 championship and going to the big dance again to try and win it all.'
At the pre-draft camp, Robinson had a 22-point performance on the first day. It was the highest single-game output by any of the 59 participants during the three-day playing sessions.
Along with numerous discussions with family, Robinson credited a conversation with Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's as influential in his decision to remain in college. Nelson attended the pre-draft camp in 2003, but withdrew from the draft and received national player of the year accolades in 2004.
'I talked to Jameer Nelson when I was at the NBA camp in Chicago and we sat down and talked for like an hour and a half. I just asked him everything about what he did last year, How he made his decision. He said if he was me he would go back and do it all over again,' Robinson explained. 'By talking to me and telling me that, he kind of gave me confidence in knowing what I wanted to do. Him being the player of the year and being 5-11, a short guy guaranteed first round now kind of influenced me into coming back to school.'
Robinson earned first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference acclaim in 2004, leading UW and ranking 13th among Pac-10 players with 13.2 points per game. He led the team and was among the conference leaders in steals (53), 3-point percentage (35.4%) and free throw accuracy (85.3%).
'Having kind of gone through the process, I wouldn't say I'm surprised,' Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said of Robinson's announcement. 'Pleased that he has made a decision he's comfortable with, I'd probably say I feel that way. Nate had so many different people pulling at him, talking about this thing. But one of the most impressive things to me was in spite of all of it, he went to class. We just got his grades and he did a good job in the classroom.'
Romar received a great deal of information from NBA personnel regarding Robinson's experience with the pre-draft process.
'I don't know how many NBA people, whether it be general managers or scouts, who we spoke to over this process who were just amazed at the type of player Nate is,' Romar recalled. 'And they also almost to a man mentioned his personality and what a great kid he appeared to be. You lose all sense of reality when you watch him play and you're kind of focused on what is he going to do next. Because he just captivates crowds. And he captivated the NBA people to where they had to tip their hats to him and say, 'this kid has an NBA future.''
With the return of Robinson for his junior year, the Huskies have their entire starting lineup back from last season's Pac-10 runner-up and NCAA Tournament qualifier. The top seven scorers return for Washington, which registered a 19-12 record in 2004 and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.
The 12-6 conference record and second-place Pac-10 finish were the Huskies' best performances since 1986. The campaign was highlighted by a 75-62 upset of top-ranked and previously undefeated Stanford on March 6 in Seattle and a sweep of three games over highly ranked Arizona. UW's stellar season ended with a 102-100 loss to UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a game in which Robinson led all scorers with 27 points.
Robinson amassed a career-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and five steals during the Huskies' 96-83 home win over No. 9 Arizona on Jan. 29. That effort helped him receive the Feb. 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week award.
In his first season, he was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team after leading the Huskies with a 13.0-point scoring average. Robinson joined the basketball team after competing as a freshman in 2002 on the Husky football team. He played in all 13 football games, including the Sun Bowl, and started the final six at cornerback.
A 2002 graduate of Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, Robinson was the state basketball player of the year. He led the Vikings to a 28-1 record en route to the 2002 state championship and a No. 7 national ranking from USA Today. Robinson averaged 17.9 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as a prep senior.