WKU grants Mitchell Robinson release to transfer

Chalmette High School Senior Mitchell Robinson (23) attempts to score a basket in a game against Ballard High School on Sat. Feb. 11, 2017 at Bowling Green High School. The 7 foot 5-star recruit signed to WKU on Nov. 15, 2016. 

Evan Heichelbech

Mitchell Robinson’s time at WKU is over before it ever really started. WKU announced in a statement late Tuesday evening that the five-star recruit has been released from his athletic scholarship at WKU and may transfer to another school.

The nation’s 10th ranked recruit in the class of 2017 will not play for the Hilltoppers.

“After discussing Mitchell’s future with him Monday evening, we agreed that it would be best for both sides to allow him to move in a different direction,” Head Coach Rick Stansbury said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, Mitchell is a great kid, and we wish him well going forward.”

After enrolling at WKU two weeks ago and participating in practices and organized team events that count toward the 2017-2018 season, Robinson cannot play anywhere else on the collegiate level this season without getting an NCAA waiver.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported last week that Robinson would be “OK” to transfer and sit out a year to play elsewhere next season.

Robinson could also try to play professionally overseas this year if he chooses to.

Not playing anywhere is an option as well. Robinson would be eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft next summer if he enters his name. Players become eligible for the NBA Draft after they are one year removed from graduating high school.

Robinson, the highest-rated recruit in WKU basketball history and a McDonald’s All-American, originally verbally committed to WKU in the summer of 2016. He signed his national letter of intent to play at WKU on Nov. 15, 2016. At that time, the NLI locked Robinson into his commitment to play at WKU for the 2017-2018 season.

The news comes one day after Robinson was suspended indefinitely from the program for a violation of team rules.

“Mitchell is a good kid, but the team will always be more important than one individual player,” Stansbury said in a statement on Monday. “He needs to understand the value of structure and accountability in his life, and his return will be dependent upon requirements that will be handled internally. My focus is on our team, and I’m excited about this group as we prepare for next week’s trip to Costa Rica.”

The Herald first reported last Friday that Robinson was no longer on WKU’s campus after being in Bowling Green for the past two weeks working out during WKU’s summer session. 

His dorm room and locker were completely cleared out. 

Until Tuesday, there was no known contact between Robinson and WKU. Robinson posted a social media post to his Snapchat account around 7 p.m. CT Tuesday with the caption “done deal”.

Last month it was announced WKU assistant coach Shammond Williams would not be returning to Stansbury’s staff this fall. Williams is Robinson’s godfather and was major factor in Robinson’s decision to attend WKU.