Bulls' Robinson has Seattle reunion vs. Wolves
October 19, 2012, 11:19 pm
On one hand, Timberwolves point guard Will Conroy, a journeyman hoping to make Minnesota’s roster, isn’t at those Berto Center practices, so he doesn’t know the wrath of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
On the other hand, he’s known Nate Robinson since their pre-teen days and played alongside him at the University of Washington.
“I think Nate’s smart enough to figure it out. One thing I know about Nate is Nate’s going to be Nate. That’s the reason why he’s in the position he’s in, being successful in the NBA. Sometimes they say what your strength is also your weakness,” Conroy told CSNChicago.com, referencing, in part, his fellow Seattle native’s off-the-backboard alley-oop in the Bulls’ win Tuesday over Milwaukee.
“He’s smart enough to adapt to where he knows, ‘Okay, I need to get on the floor. I’m not going to do that,’ and when you’re successful at a high rate, coaches are going to allow it. I think the play was completed and Jimmy Butler finished it with a dunk, right? So it didn’t look bad on ‘SportsCenter.’”
Conroy has known Robinson since the diminutive freak athlete was making a name in the sport that he was awarded a scholarship to college for... football.
“He played for the rival team of my little league football team, so I’ve kind of known Nate since we were in middle school,” Conroy said of Robinson, who was a freshman starter at defensive back for Washington before giving up the sport to play basketball on a full-time basis, and whose father, Jacques, was an NFL player.
“Just like Darren Sproles. He’s the same kind of talent. Nate, he’s one of those guys, when he gets the ball in his hands, it’s so hard to [bring him down]. Watching him play football, he scored like six or seven touchdowns in a high school game. He was one of those guys, when the ball gets in his hands, he’s going to make something special happen.”
When Conroy and Robinson played together at Washington, Conroy was the Huskies’ point guard and Timberwolves starting shooting guard Brandon Roy, also shared some of the ballhandling duties. Robinson was mostly deployed as a scorer, something he’s known as in the NBA, but Conroy, a traditional playmaker who’s excelled in the D-League but has yet to find a permanent NBA home, thinks his former teammate has made a lot of progress.
“He’s made great adjustments. He’s matured so much at the point-guard position. I thought it started a lot when he went to Boston and kind of continued on when he was in Golden State, and I watched him play when he played us in Minnesota [last week],” he observed. “He’s really starting to understand the position, and pick and choose when to get his, and look for other guys continuously. I’ve thought, so far, he’s done a great job in transitioning to being a true point guard.”
Friday was a bit of Seattle and Washington reunion, as Robinson and Conroy guarded each other for a stretch, with Roy also on the court.
“All Seattle people are a close-knit group. We all worked out in the summertime together and we all root for each other,” said Conroy. “When we see each other doing well, it just gives Seattle a bright spot.”
Tags: Tom Thibodeau
, Darren Sproles
, Washington Huskies
, Minnesota Timberwolves
, Chicago Bulls
, Nate Robinson
, brandon roy
, Jimmy Butler
, Will Conroy
, Jacques Robinson