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Monday December 5th

Brandon Robinson's 29 points in Williams' 880th win epitomizes North Carolina basketball

<p>UNC senior guard Brandon Robison (4) attempts a three-point shot during a game against Miami in the Smith Center on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. UNC defeated Miami 94-71.</p>
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UNC senior guard Brandon Robison (4) attempts a three-point shot during a game against Miami in the Smith Center on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. UNC defeated Miami 94-71.

In his own words, the last two weeks have been "tough" for UNC's Brandon Robinson.

The senior scored 27 points, a career high at the time, against Clemson on Jan. 11, but his team fell in a dramatic overtime loss that snapped UNC's home winning streak against the Tigers.

“Just coming off my first career-high game against Clemson," Robinson said. "I didn’t really care about it because we lost the game. People might think I’m crazy, but I could go out there and score two points and if we win the game, I’m gonna be happy.”

Less than 24 hours later, he was involved in a two-car crash that he says he's still dealing with some discomfort from. He shot 3-10 from the field in the Tar Heels' loss to Pittsburgh, and sat out of the following game against Virginia Tech to fully recover from the accident.

But in his return to the floor against Miami on Saturday, Robinson scored a new career-high 29 points to secure win No. 880 for head coach Roy Williams and put the finishing touches on a career that has come to resemble everything people consider UNC basketball to be.

“For him to just come out and perform," Armando Bacot said. "After just practicing — and he was limited in practice — to put on a show like that, I feel like it speaks a lot to his character and shows that he’s a tough kid.”

Robinson is the antithesis to the one-and-done era that has taken college basketball by storm, averaging less than nine minutes per game in his first two seasons with the team. Looking back at this season, though, it's not difficult to see the mark that Williams has left on Robinson's basketball career, helping the guard put on the aforementioned shows in multiple games throughout this season.

The senior said that a great game in his later high school years in front of Williams — who Robinson said was really in the gym to recruit Jaylen Brown — led to the UNC head coach taking a chance on him.

Once he arrived in Chapel Hill, it was clear that Robinson needed to develop before he could trust him to see significant playing time. Robinson spent his first three seasons at UNC growing as a player and learning from guys like Joel Berry II, Theo Pinson and Cameron Johnson.

Now, after years of practice and hard work, Robinson has emerged as a leader in his final season with the Tar Heels.

“I’m happy for B-Rob to get back out there," Williams said. "And, needless to say, we need his shooting ability, we need his leadership.”

In a way, it's almost poetic that Robinson's development into one of North Carolina's most significant contributors this year led to him notching 29 points in a 94-71 blowout win that propelled Williams ahead of Dean Smith on UNC's all-time wins list.

Robinson said his performance, comprised of 11-16 shooting from the field and 6-10 from behind the arc, was one of his hottest outings since his AAU days, showcasing how much Williams is able to draw out of his players if he's given the time to mold them.

“He is our best shooter, statistically," Williams said. "... And I think he missed his first two (shots), so to do that afterwards was good for him.”

As a senior, Robinson is finally tapping into his potential as a sharpshooter and leader for North Carolina. And despite the mentor roles that all those former Tar Heels took on for him over the years, he certainly knows who is most responsible for his improvements.

“It’s definitely great to be a part of history," Robinson said. "For me to be able to have a chance to play here is just something that I’ll always thank (Williams) for."

In his final season with the team, everything is finally paying off for the Douglasville, Ga., native.

“It’s so cool when good things happen to good people," Andrew Platek said. "And he has 100 percent deserved everything he’s worked for. It’s so awesome to see him light the gym up every day like we know he can.”

@McMastersJ

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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