ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For Glenn Robinson III, the numbers tell only part of the story.
The Michigan sophomore forward is averaging 12.2 points a game and shooting just 28.1 percent from three-point range after deciding, along with teammate Mitch McGary, to spurn the NBA last spring and creating maddeningly high expectations at Michigan this season.
He scored only four points and was hurt against Charlotte. He had eight against Duke. And 12 against Iowa State.
Michigan lost all three of those games.
But there’s something else going on, the way Robinson explains it.
“I don’t know if you can tell or not,” Robinson said Friday, “but I’m having more fun with this group of guys than I have on any other team. We all get along off the court and that kind of translates on the court.”
Their close bond isn’t just about having fun. It’s also been about support.
“I just keep encouraging him,” senior forward Jordan Morgan says. “Sometimes guys can get in situations where they’re putting pressure on themselves. I just remind him how much guys care for him and how much he means to this team.”
Here’s how Robinson described things during a group interview Friday at the Crisler Center:
• He’s becoming more of a leader. “It was time. I’ve seen in practice where guys weren’t looking down, but didn’t show as much energy as we need to. … I wasn’t bringing as much energy. I just realized I need to wake up.”
• It hurt losing set-up man Trey Burke. “Trey was a great point guard. He found me a lot in transition, halfcourt, and also Tim (Hardaway Jr.). They both had great basketball minds and a great feel for the game. I definitely miss that. But we have another young team and that will take a little bit of time.”
• Things will get better soon for Michigan. “Yep. We can’t change the schedule back but I definitely think we’ll get better every day and we have been getting better every day. The transition to the next game is definitely important for us.”
• Playing Arizona is an opportunity to show what’s changing. “Definitely. I think it’s time for us to turn things around. It’s not like we’ve had a terrible season but we have to continue to get better every day.”