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This whole Mitchell Robinson thing sucks.

For everyone.

High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Portraits Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I’m bummed about Mitchell Robinson.

I’m bummed about so many things about Mitchell Robinson.

First and foremost, I’m bummed about what a ridiculous mess this whole thing has metastasized in to. I understand why a player might not want to play college basketball for a year. You don’t want to have to go to school for a year while not getting paid your fair market share? Shoot, me neither. Go to Europe, or China, or Australia, and go get your money. But unless something changes (and knowing this story, that’s a real possibility), Mitchell Robinson won’t even be playing competitive basketball this year.

Instead he’ll be “preparing for the draft,” in whatever amorphous form that ends up taking. Strictly from a business decision, this is a mistake. If he recognized earlier that college wasn’t for him, or he had better advice, Robinson could have found a good professional situation that would have gotten him paid while improving his skills. It’s hard to imagine his current path isn’t a real strike against his NBA draft stock.

Selfishly, I’m incredibly bummed that we don’t get to see Mitchell Robinson in college basketball this year.

I know that Conference USA has a lot of cool stories and a lot of good players that will be worth tracking this season. We’re going to be talking about a lot of them on this website! But, come on, no one is Mitchell Robinson.

When was the last time a freshman tabbed as a one-and-done lottery pick played in a conference like Conference USA? Imagine Malik Monk or Dennis Smith lining up for UAB and how ridiculously fun that would be. Neither of them matched Robinson’s 247 composite ranking. If the hype is real, Mitchell Robinson was going to be an NBA role player matching up against mid-major (and not especially good mid-major) frontcourts.

It would have been electric.

What would have been a reasonable goal for his production? 23 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks a night? Is that not even high enough? Western Kentucky would probably still not have been the favorites in the league thanks to Middle Tennessee, but they would have been RIDICULOUS.

Mid-major basketball doesn’t have a lot of true “League Pass” teams, as in teams that are not playoff teams but are still super fun. Western Kentucky would have had that space largely to themselves, except for kinky teams like Marshall and The Citadel. There would have absolutely been days where the national spotlight was turned on a marquee ACC matchup and Mitchell Robinson would have gotten loose for 44 points and 21 rebounds. That would have been so much dang fun.

I really hope this works out for Robinson. Truly I do. I think it could have been great for him at Western Kentucky. He had a chance to play on a team built around him for a year. He, feasibly, could have focused on rounding out his game in a major way. He could have gotten away with doing things beyond his comfort zone against lesser competition. Obviously there’s a lot of other stuff that goes into a college decision than basketball, but man, the basketball would have been good.

Maybe he could have opened the door for one-and-dones to look beyond the power conferences. Between Robinson and Wendell Carter, mid-majors not named Gonzaga had very real chances to snag legitimate NBA players. What a world that would be, where leagues across the nation could have NBA talent wreaking havoc. Instead, Harvard is living life without Carter and Western Kentucky is scrambling to figure out what the hell their team is going to look like.

It’s a bummer.