April 11, 2005
SEATTLE -- University of Washington junior Nate Robinson, the leading scorer on the men's basketball team, announced during a press conference Monday that he will forego his senior year and make himself available for the 2005 NBA Draft.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound guard was a third-team Associated Press All-American in 2005 and received first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors each of the last two seasons. He ranked sixth in scoring among Pac-10 players with a 16.4-point average and his 4.5 assists per game ranked fourth.
Robinson will send a letter to the NBA Office to declare his availability for the June 28 draft. Because he is entering the draft pool for a second time, his final year of college eligibility will be forfeited. Last season Robinson applied for the draft and attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago from June 8-10. Despite excelling at the camp, he withdrew from 2004 Draft consideration on June 17. Robinson had a 22-point performance on the first day of the Chicago camp that was the highest single-game output by any of the 59 participants during the three-day playing sessions.
"Since we played the Sweet 16 I gave deep thought, deep down in my heart, to make the right decision and that is to skip my senior year and enter the NBA Draft," Robinson announced to a large gathering of media, family and teammates in the Founder's Club at Bank of America Arena. "It has been a dream for me since I was a young boy, playing basketball and imitating guys like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. I finally I get to fulfill my dreams and play in the NBA."
Robinson concludes his career listed 18th among Washington career scorers with 1,283 points. He ranks third among all-time Huskies with 140 career steals, fourth with 127 career 3-pointers and sixth in career assists with 295. Robinson distributed 159 assists in 2005, the third-highest single-season total ever for a UW player.
He averaged 13.2 points in 2004 after tallying 13.0 points-per-game his first season that was capped by his selection to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team. Robinson is the first player in 15 years to lead the Huskies in scoring during three straight seasons.
A 2002 graduate of Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, Robinson was the Washington state basketball player of the year. He led the Vikings to a 28-1 record en route to the 2002 state championship and a No. 7 national ranking from USA Today. Robinson averaged 17.9 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as a prep senior.
"We are obviously going to miss Nate. He kept us all on the edge of our seats, me included," exclaimed third-year Coach Lorenzo Romar who directed the Huskies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances following four consecutive losing seasons. "I think a very good compliment to someone is that when they leave someplace, they left it in a better condition than when they first got there. That is what Nate has helped do. This program had fallen on hard times and he played a big part in helping to get this program to where it is recognized nationally."
Robinson is the second Washington basketball player to leave school early and declare for the draft, joining Mark Sanford who was selected during the second round in 1997.
Along with Robinson, the Huskies lose senior starters Will Conroy and Tre Simmons and senior reserves Hakeem Rollins and Alex Johnson from their 2005 team that had a 29-6 record and advanced to the Sweet 16. Washington tied the 67-year-old school record for wins in a season, won its first Pac-10 Tournament championship and received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.
Nate Robinson led UW in scoring during each of the last three seasons.