Academics might sideline UM recruit Robinson's senior year at DuVal full of struggle

April 10, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Seventeen years ago, Stacy Robinson Sr. scored 20 points in the Capital Classic high school all-star game, and it seemed a given that his son, who shares his name and his talent in basketball, would follow in his footsteps.

But because he was academically ineligible to play at Lanham's DuVal High this past winter, Stacy Robinson Jr. lost a chance to join his father in the game's history books.

PTC More importantly, Robinson, one of four celebrated recruits for next season's Maryland team, might have squandered a chance to join his friend, DeMatha point guard Duane Simpkins, on the Terrapins roster because he might not have either the grade-point average or Scholastic Aptitude Test score to be admitted.

"It's kind of hurt me, but it's not because of someone else. I have only myself to blame," Robinson said this week.

Robinson, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 640 on the SAT when he took the test in November, leaving him short of the minimum 700 needed under the NCAA's Proposition 48. He has taken the test again and should get the scores in two weeks.

If he failed to reach the minimum, he would not be admitted to Maryland, since the school will not accept athletes who don't meet Proposition 48 guidelines. Robinson said he would go to prep school to upgrade his standing for Maryland.

It would be easy to attribute Robinson's travails this year to the restlessness of a high school senior, if there weren't so much at stake.

Things have gone poorly for Robinson since that October afternoon when he announced that he would be signing a letter of intent to join Simpkins, who had announced a week earlier.

First, Robinson got into what he described as "an altercation" with his coach, Artie Walker, and left the team in the middle of the first game of the season in December.

Robinson apologized to Walker and the team and returned for the third game, in which he scored 27.

Robinson continued to demonstrate the talent that helped him lead DuVal to a state championship in his junior year, averaging 20 points for the 15 games he played, until he was dismissed from the team for failing an English class.

Since then, Robinson has been taking classes on Saturdays and enlisted Simpkins' English teacher at DeMatha as a tutor.

Of the four Maryland recruits who signed early letters of intent (Simpkins, 6-8 forward Exree Hipp of Harker Prep in Potomac and 6-9 forward Mario Lucas of Memphis, Tenn.), only Robinson has not met entrance standards.

But Maryland coach Gary Williams and athletic director Andy Geiger both said that if Robinson reaches the 700 mark and if his GPA is high enough, he would be admitted, though under a classification for students who don't meet general university entrance requirements.

"You want to see your guys do really well," Williams said. "I feel badly for him, but he knows what's involved."

Still unclear is whether Johnny Rhodes, last year's Washington-area Player of the Year, will join the Maryland team.

Rhodes, a 6-5 guard from Dunbar (D.C.) High School, was the Most Valuable Player for the Capital All-Stars in last year's Capital Classic. He orally committed to Maryland after last season, but did not reach 700 on his SAT.

According to a recent report in the Terrapin Times, a booster newspaper, Rhodes scored 670 the last time he took the SAT and was scheduled to have taken the test again last week.

As for Robinson, if words are an accurate measure of commitment, then he seems sincere about turning himself around.

"I always wanted to play in the Capital Classic. My father played in the game and this hurts a lot," said Robinson. "But I think this is the turning point of my career. I don't want the label of someone who won't work. I can do the work. I'm not going to give up."

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