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Jaxson Robinson Opens Up on Relationship with Mark Pope

Nick Roushby:Nick Roush05/15/24


One of the final remaining vacancies on Mark Pope’s first Kentucky basketball roster could be filled by one of the first players mentioned to potentially follow him to Lexington.

Jaxson Robinson is spending his week competing against other prospective pros at the NBA Combine. His old BYU coach, Mark Pope, made the trip to Chicago to watch him in a scrimmage. Once the action concluded, Robinson shared a few interesting comments in a conversation with the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts.

“Just him showing up alone — that says a lot. He didn’t have to do that,” Robinson said. “I mean, he’s at Kentucky now. He coached me at BYU. But, technically, he isn’t my coach anymore. As of right now, at least.

“Our relationship is super close. I talk to him a lot. He tries to help me out when he can. So I’m making sure that I appreciate him for everything that he’s done for me, especially leading up to this point. He helped me get here. I couldn’t thank anybody else but Coach Pope.”

As of right now?!??!?!? Does that mean Robinson can’t wait to join Pope in Lexington? Read into that as much as you’d like.

ESPN ranks Robinson as the No. 55 player in the NBA Draft, which would put him in the bottom of the second round. In addition to submitting his name for draft consideration, he also entered his name into the transfer portal. He has two weeks to decide if he will pursue professional opportunities or return to the collegiate ranks.

Robinson has relied on Pope as a resource throughout this process. He admitted that he’s considering a move to Kentucky, but said that Pope doesn’t press the issue too much.

“I know he tries to draw a line, because he knows that I have a lot going on right now. But you know that he’s going to try and throw a pitch every now and then.”

A 6-foot-7 swingman from Oklahoma, he began his career at Texas A&M and spent one season at Arkansas before teaming up with Pope at BYU. Last year Robinson was named Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 14.2 points per game on 35.4% shooting from 3-point range. Robinson credits Pope for putting him in a position to make this life-changing decision.

“Giving me the opportunity to explore my game and figure out who I am as a player. That’s all him. Like I said, I don’t know who else I could thank but him,” Robinson told the Herald-Leader.

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