Understanding how 4-star Arkansas guard Jaxson Robinson found his way to BYU

Jaxson Robinson is the newest recruit to commit to play for BYU basketball, announcing his commitment yesterday, as reported on Twitter:

Robinson is a 6-foot-6 185-pound wing that is one of the highest rated high school recruits in BYU history. But his path from Ada, Oklahoma to Provo, Utah has been anything but conventional.

Let’s rewind just a few years to the pandemic shortened 2019-20 basketball season.

At that time junior Robinson was leading his Ada high team to one of their best seasons in recent history.  He averaged 15.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and Ada qualified for the Class 4A State Tournament.

As they prepared for their first-round matchup in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association shut down basketball in Oklahoma.  The COVID shutdown prematurely ended Ada’s playoff run, and the future of Oklahoma basketball was uncertain.

So, Robinson did something that no one saw coming—he decided to forgo his senior season.  While he was rated one of the top 40 basketball players in the country for the Class of 2021, he reclassified for the Class of 2020, finishing up high school by taking his last two classes online over the summer of 2020.

He was rated a high 4-stars by 247Sports (0.9770) and had scholarship offers from some of the best basketball programs in the country.  Ultimately, he chose Texas A&M, headlining their no. 20 rated recruiting class of 2020.

Despite being the youngest player on the floor for every game of the COVID ravaged 2020-21 season, Robinson saw action in 14 of Texas A&M’s 18 games, with four starts.   He averaged 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.

But Texas A&M had a rough year as many of their games were cancelled due to COVID and there were several extended absences from practices as well.

Robinson decided he wanted a fresh start and entered the transfer portal.

He already had a great relationship with Arkansas, a school he visited three times for unofficial visits when he was in high school, and the school he likely would have signed with had he not decided to graduate early.  Arkansas was coming off an elite 8 finish and Robinson picked them over Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio State, and others.

Despite being the youngest player on the team, Robinson had four starts in 16 games for the Razorbacks who ended the season beating no. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen before losing to Duke in the Elite 8.

With all their success over the last two seasons, Arkansas was able to secure the no. 2 recruiting class in the nation for the Class of 2022, signing three 5-star and three 4-star recruits.

In addition to those six incoming freshmen, Arkansas also signed five transfer students who are immediately eligible, securing the no. 5 transfer class for 2022.  That means there are 11 new players in the top overall recruiting class in the country—all looking for minutes at Arkansas this coming season.  The Razorbacks will lose one and possibly two of their starters to the NBA draft, but there would still be a shortage of scholarships with all the incoming talent.

There simply wasn’t enough room for Robinson.

In steps BYU.  The Cougars are losing their share of talent, with star point guard Alex Barcello graduating and talented big man Caleb Lohner transferring to Baylor.

Robinson is hoping for a waiver so he can play immediately for the Cougars.  With so many of Arkansas incoming transfers coming after the May 1 deadline (thereby squeezing Robinson out) there should be a good chance he is granted the waiver due to extenuating circumstance.

If Robinson is allowed to play in 2022 look for him to make a huge impact on the court.  He brings leadership and experience–with 30 games played (and eight starts) at two of the top programs in the country.

Robinson is still young and has time to grow and develop at BYU–he is only 19 and will be the second youngest player on BYU’s squad in 2022.  With time and development Robinson could become a great player for BYU and a leader they build around for the next several seasons.  This is a big-time get for Brigham Young and a great opportunity for Robinson.

About Tyler Christensen 650 Articles
Tyler Christensen is a teacher, sports writer, speaker, writer, ultra-marathon runner, and family man. He is the founder of BYU Insider, D1 Recruiting, Virtual School Assembly, and The Journal on Best Teaching Practices. When he's not writing or speaking, he's chilling at home in southern Utah with his amazing wife and four children.

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