Nat Robinson refers to Washington's new and exciting freshman basketball players as "Mr. Stewart" and "Mr. McDaniels," which is his way of showing respect and admiration for the talents of these teenagers.
The former Huskies sensation was possibly college basketball's most entertaining player 15 years ago--a 5-foot-9 guy fearlessly dunking over opposing big men--but he likes their flair and approach to the game.
"They've got a good core of coaches and a good foundation over there in Husky land," Robinson said. "I'm excited for them and what they have in store. We're just a couple of plays away from being a big-time program."
Always an energy guy, Robinson says coach Mike Hopkins does a good job of instilling effort and desire in his players. Of course, he easily relates to UW assistant coaches Will Conroy and Cameron Dollar, who were his point guard and one of his coaches when he played in Montlake.
Robinson thinks this Huskies team is close to moving up a notch. It won't take much.
"It's not like we need extra players, we just need a couple of extra plays and I think we'll be straight," he summed up.
Robinson was the player everyone came to see during his final collegiate season in 2004-05 because he brought something different to the game. With his 43-inch vertical leap, he played way above the rim.
He sees something similar in how people respond to 6-foot-9 freshman forward Isaiah Stewart, who is relentless in his effort and determination. Nate offers a surprising comparison, yet one based on sheer desire rather than athleticism.
"He's such a beast and it's not like he's seven feet--he's a real animal," Robinson said of Stewart. "He. reminds me a lot of Jon Brockman. He brings that toughness, that tenacity, that effort is there. Everything else is going to be a bonus that he brings to the table.
"I just love the way he plays. There's no quit in him. Whenever you've got a person who plays with that, with that Husky dog in you, it's hard to compare."