BLOOMINGTON — You've likely heard about Stanford Robinson, Indiana basketball's mystery man. He's a heralded freshman guard from Maryland who, based on the buzz, is poised to make instant impact.
Tonight against Hillsdale College, expect to see him. The bruised knee that sidelined him from the exhibition against the University of Southern Indiana is healed.
That knee felt good enough in the recent Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage for Robinson to score 20 points in 20 minutes. He's practiced well leading up to the Hillsdale exhibition, coach Tom Crean said.
“I think he learned a little bit about the difference between being hurt and injured," Crean said. "When you're injured, that's a whole other situation. When you're hurt, sometimes you've just got to be able to deal with it and play through it. I think he's learned a little bit about that.”
There's plenty for the 6-foot-4 Robinson to learn after arriving as one of the nation's top incoming shooting guards. He averaged 10 points last season for Findlay (Nev.) Prep and 13.5 points as a high school junior in Virginia. IU will need scoring from him, as well as defense and overall awareness.
Crean said the injury-caused layoff cost Robinson some conditioning, but not his feel for the game.
“He can get to the basket and get to the foul line,” Crean said.
One area that must improve is communication, especially on defense.
“He's still too quiet,” Crean said. “He's still too much locked in his man rather than being locked into help defense. He still doesn't know all the offensive things that we're doing. But he's been a quick learner.
“He's come back playing like he's not favoring anything. He's trying to play with strong, reckless abandon, which is important.”
Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell has another tip on what's important — a lesson learned during last season's Big Ten title run.
“Every possession matters,” he said. “I can remember two games (Michigan and Michigan State) when we were down with under a minute and came back and won. Now when I play I don't take any possession for granted.”
Robinson isn't the only freshman to have been banged up early. Troy Williams missed practice time with a hand injury. Center Luke Fischer was out with a left shoulder injury.
All three should see action tonight in the Hoosiers' final exhibition before opening the season Friday against Chicago State.
Hillsdale College won't have much rest. It lost at Toledo 85-84 in overtime Sunday. Forward Tim Dezelski led the Chargers with 29 points, making 8 of 9 three-pointers. Hillsdale was 14-for-30 from three-point range.
Overall, Hillsdale is a solid NCAA Division II program from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
It returns four key contributors from a 17-10 team. It's led by Dezelski, who averaged 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds last year. Guard Brandon Pritzl averaged 11.3 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range.
Hillsdale also has former Warsaw standout Lucas Grose, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward. He averaged 1.6 points last year.
Hillsdale lost 69-60 to Valparaiso in an exhibition last week. Forward Kyle Cooper had 22 points and 13 rebounds. Dezelski had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Coach John Tharp has a six-year record of 107-60.
Against USI, guard Yogi Ferrell made six three-pointers and scored 20 points. Freshman Troy Williams had a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Another freshman, Noah Vonleh, had nine points and 12 rebounds.