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LaVine And Robinson III Bring More Than Athleticism

Dane Mizutani
Web Editorial Assistant

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Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III grew up more than 2,000 miles apart — LaVine on the West Coast and Robinson in the Midwest.  That distance remained the same in college as LaVine took his talents to UCLA and Robinson signed with Michigan.

They had never played together, or really even been in the same vicinity of one another, until a pre-Draft workout with the Chicago Bulls earlier this month.

Still, the two newest members of the Wolves are very familiar with the skills the other brings to the court. And the admiration for what each can bring to the team is mutual.

“I watched Glenn when I was a senior in high school,” said LaVine, who is one year younger than Robinson. “When [SportsCenter] Top 10 would come on I’d see him jumping out of the gym dunking on someone and I thought, ‘OK. This guy might even jump a little higher than me.’”

That’s impressive in considering LaVine’s jaw-dropping 46-inch vertical during a pre-Draft workout this spring.

Robinson might not actually jump higher than LaVine but he said he’s very aware of his new teammate’s athletic prowess.

“I knew Zach just from watching a lot of college basketball,” Robinson said. “He’s a great player — very athletic, I think everybody knows that.”

That type of athleticism from both players is exactly what Flip Saunders was looking for in the 2014 NBA Draft. Saunders said the NBA game has started to place a bigger emphasis on athleticism and said he knew that was something the Wolves needed to improve on heading into next season.

Saunders seems to have found that in LaVine and Robinson.

“They add a lot of excitement to our team,” Saunders said. “They’re going to become fan favorites. They’re our two highest-jumping guys right now — I do know that. We want to take that athleticism and turn them into basketball players … and with our team they’ll have good success. 

Saunders made it known, however, that LaVine and Robinson bring much more than athleticism to the roster.

LaVine showed some ability from behind the arc at UCLA and could also serve as an additional ball handler on the team next season. Robinson is an athletic wing player, for sure, but also flashed his talents as an all-around player while playing for the Wolverines.

“Those are the things that attracted us to both players,” Newton said, “and we feel like the sky’s the limit for them.”

LaVine and Robinson still have a lot of room to grow, but both seemed focused on growing together. They met formally, as teammates, at Target Center on Friday and seemed to already have a sense of chemistry off the court.

“He’s about to be my right-hand man this year,” LaVine said.

Robinson evoked similar feelings of the relationship off the court, and said the two are more than ready to develop their skills on the court.

“We both have all the pieces and all the potential in the world,” he said. “I definitely think we’ll take full advantage of this opportunity to play for the Timberwolves.”

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