For Joe Mihalich, who inherited a roster of four players when he took over at Hofstra as head coach, he knew he would need players who could help bring the program back to prominence. One of those players committed to Mihalich months before he moved from the MAAC and Niagara to the CAA and Hofstra in April.
Jamall Robinson committed to Mihalich after visiting Niagara last year. Robinson said he saw Mihalich in the stands at every AAU tournament he went to as well as at his high school games during his junior and senior years.
“He recruited me really hard,” Robinson said during the preseason on his relationship with Mihalich. “I felt like I owe him that much to at least come here and visit here when he switched.”
After receiving his release from Niagara once Mihalich took over at Hofstra, Robinson said Mihalich and the staff were the first people he talked to.
“There’s a lot of problems, that’s the reason I’m here,” Mihalich said. “When you have problems you look for solutions and Jamall Robinson is going to be somebody who is going to be part of the solution.”
The freshman has not disappointed so far this season, starting all 14 games and showing off his ability to score in many different ways. Mihalich said when he saw Robinson as a senior in high school at Paul VI in Virginia, he knew he saw a winner.
“He’s a winner, he’s a high character guy,” Mihalich said. “I did not believe he’d play this way, he strangely enough, didn’t have a great senior year. I’ve told him this too, he really deferred a little bit to some high quality underclassmen guys and accepted a role, and here he’s been asked not to do that and he has and he’s been terrific.”
“He’s doing a lot of things, I think he’s got a bright future and he’s a winner. I know that sometimes sounds like a cliche, but he is and, as I said, I believe he can be part of the solution here.”
Robinson has won Rookie of the Week awards in the CAA three times and averages 9.8 points per game for the Pride this season. Mihalich, Robinson and the Pride will be welcomed into CAA play on Wednesday night when they visit the University of Delaware.
Ryan Restivo covers the Hofstra, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and America East conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.