Gophers basketball fans might be wondering what Liam Robbins brings to the team now that he's eligible to play this season.
He's more than just one of the nation's top shot blockers.
The 7-foot junior and Drake transfer wants to expand his game in Richard Pitino's system. Robbins shared his thoughts on his new team, trying to prepare for a possible season during the pandemic and more during a video conference call Wednesday after the NCAA approved his waiver.
Q: Can you describe your game to fans who didn't see you play at Drake last season?
A: I try to do it all. I pride myself on being a defensive player. I don’t necessarily need to score the ball, but I make sure my guy or whatever my [defensive] assignment is doesn’t. That’s kind of my focus. But Pitino just really wants me to expand my game, so I can just be kind of a cog in the offense. I can do whatever he needs me to do. I can move along the perimeter and shoot it a little bit. I can score in the post. Just being utilized in multiple ways is kind of his goal for me. I just want to win. That’s kind of my mentality. I’m going to play hard and give you my all.
Q: What have summer workouts been like without the entire team back during the pandemic?
A: As hard as it’s been to do, we all try to treat it business as usual. We show up and work hard. Nothing has changed. The coaching staff has mentioned to the team, if you’re not comfortable here we get it. But if you are comfortable we’re going to get workouts in and we’re treating it like we are going to have a season. Even though we don’t know when that’s going to be. That’s a good way to approach it, because it’s kept all of us hopeful and just locked in on getting better.
For most of the summer we’ve done two individual groups. The main guys I worked out with are my cousin [Hunt Conroy], Gabe Kalscheur, Eric Curry and Martice Mitchell. But over the past few weeks, I’ve been also working out with Isaiah Ihnen.
Q: How has it been getting to know your new teammates?
A: It’s good to get know all of them. They are great people and even better players. Just having them push me. I’m the only center on campus besides Sam [Freeman], so I’m doing a lot of guard workouts and stuff. So, it’s kind of a good experience for me, because I’m being pushed outside of my comfort zone. And I’m also getting pushed against some of the best players in the Big Ten. It’s just been a good experience.
Q: What type of expectations do you have for the Gophers this season?
A: I think it’s going to be a good year. Obviously, I haven’t played in the Big Ten, so I’m kind of not the guy to ask because I haven’t seen the competition. But everyone is excited about what this team can do. I’m just looking forward to being a part of that. We have high hopes.
Q: How would you feel about playing potentially in a bubble like the NBA players?
A: It’s kind of hard to know. My guess is the college bubble won’t be like the NBA bubble. Won’t have the water parks and all the activities. If it’s like the NBA bubble we’re all for it. I don’t know for me it’s not too big of a deal. Right now we can go out and do stuff. But to stay away from covid and social distancing you’re kind of like in a bubble already. We’re in the same apartment complex. So, I don’t think it would be a huge difference. I think it would just be tough knowing you’re stuck somewhere. But I just want to play. That’s where the rest of my team is at. We’ll do what we have to do to play.