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5-star freshman Mitchell Robinson will skip college to prepare for 2018 NBA draft

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Western Kentucky has officially lost its star big man recruit after months of speculation.

High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Portraits Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The incredibly strange recruiting saga between Western Kentucky and five-star center Mitchell Robinson had one more twist before finally reaching its conclusion. Robinson has announced he will again forgo his commitment to the Hilltoppers to start training for the NBA draft, effective immediately. He told his decision to Scout on Sunday night.

Robinson has been in and out of Western Kentucky since graduating high school earlier this summer. The decision to not play college basketball this season caps one of the most bizarre recruiting stories in recent memory.

Robinson originally committed to Texas A&M early in his high school career because of his relationship with assistant Rick Stansbury. When Stansbury was hired as the head coach of Western Kentucky, Robinson quickly flipped his commitment to the Hilltoppers. Suddenly a Conference USA program had a legitimate McDonald’s All-American and five-star recruit who ranked No. 11 in the class of 2017 according to ESPN.

Robinson’s commitment to Western Kentucky started to waver once he graduated high school in New Orleans. He left campus in late July before the Hilltoppers’ trip to Costa Rica and informed Stansbury he was having second thoughts about attending Western Kentucky. Robinson then took visits to Kansas and University of New Orleans before ultimately recommitting to Western Kentucky and enrolling in school once again.

Robinson’s decision to leave the program comes three weeks after he announced he was returning to it.

Where could Mitchell Robinson get drafted?

Robinson is an athletic 7’ center with a 7’4 wingspan. He’s quick off the floor and would have been a feared shot blocker in Conference USA. He also has an unrefined offensive game. The team that takes him will be hoping he can develop into a Clint Capela-type of rim protector at the next level.

It’s possible that Robinson will do very well at the draft combine because of his quickness and leaping ability. Still, in a 2018 draft class that looks deep and talented through the lottery, it feels like the safest bet is Robinson being taken in the 20s of the first round.