Prior to the 2021-22 season, if you had told me that Liam Robbins would be the third player report card I’d be writing (assuming, as is always the case, I kept up the practice of doing them in reverse order of minutes played), I wouldn’t have believed you.
(AoG commentariat: Yeah, we wouldn’t have believed them either, because we wouldn’t have believed that you would actually complete three player report cards.)
Touche. But, the idea that Robbins, a guy who’d averaged 11.7 ppg and 6.6 rpg the year before at Minnesota, would end up playing 276 minutes all season seemed legitimately insane. And then Robbins’ foot got in the way.
Robbins missed the first 20 games of the season with Jerry Stackhouse pretty noncommittal the entire way about his status going forward. And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, he was going through layup lines at Rupp Arena and playing 13 minutes in his Vanderbilt debut.
And then he didn’t play again against LSU in the following game, but he played the final 14 games of the season, earning 10 starts. He never played more than 26 minutes in a game, and he only scored in double figures four times — but his impact was still felt, particularly on the defensive end. He averaged two blocks per game in spite of averaging 18.4 minutes in the games he played in, and his 10.8% block percentage would have ranked 22nd nationally had he played enough minutes to qualify, and second in the SEC behind only Auburn’s Walker Kessler.
Ironically, the injury might have been a blessing in disguise, as all indications now are that Robbins will return for another year — though it would have been better if he’d been fully healthy for a year when Scotty Pippen Jr. was on the team. But Vanderbilt does have a potential game-changing shot blocker and stretch four on the roster next year.