Center David Robinson, who helped bring Naval Academy basketball into the big time as he led the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 25 years this season, has decided to remain a Midshipman for the rest of his college career.
Robinson, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, was among the national leaders in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots. Navy ended 26-6 after decisively upsetting Louisiana State in the first round of the NCAA tournament and losing narrowly to Maryland in the second round.
"After a great deal of thought and discussion with my parents, I've decided to remain here," Robinson said in a statement released through the school in Annapolis. "The Academy has been good for me and I want the chance to receive a degree from here."
Robinson's father, Ambrose, spent 20 years in the Navy as a sonar technician. His younger brother, Chuck, is a water boy for the Midshipmen.
There had been speculation that Robinson, a mathematics major with a 3.2 grade-point average, might transfer to a regular four-year college in hopes of an eventual career in professional basketball. His decision means he will be required to fulfill a five-year commitment to the Navy after graduating.
"Pro ball?" he said. "I guess I still have a hard time visualizing myself playing at that level, with all those great players."
Robinson averaged 23.6 points on 64 percent shooting, 11.6 rebounds and four blocked shots a game this season as Navy compiled the best record ever for a service academy. The Midshipmen have all five starters back next season.
"If I had transferred, I would have had to sit out a year and that didn't sound real attractive," said Robinson.
"This way, I can play with my friends and I'll be in a program that I'm comfortable with. I'm happy with my decision and am already looking forward to next season."
Coach Paul Evans, who also has been the subject of speculation since turning the Midshipmen around, was understandably pleased with Robinson's decision.
"We're very happy, it's great for our program," Evans said. "In reality, I thought all along that he was going to stay. In some ways, I think all the media attention may have blown the situation out of proportion."