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Florida’s Devin Robinson will declare for 2017 NBA Draft, per report

Florida’s talented forward could still return to Gainesville.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Florida vs Virginia Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators forward Devin Robinson will declare for the NBA Draft for the second consecutive year, per Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun.

But, once again, he’ll leave open the possibility of returning to Gainesville.

Dooley writes that Robinson will not hire an agent, which leaves open the possibility of him removing his name from the draft pool and returning to Florida for his senior season. To do that, Robinson will have to withdraw by May 24 — a week after the draft lottery, and about a month after the early-entry deadline of April 22.

Talk of Robinson’s likely declaration has floated for months, with most sources thinking that he was unlikely to return to the program for his senior season. And leaving would not be a bad call: Robinson is seen as a likely second-round pick, with the most recent DraftExpress mock draft slotting him in at No. 34 to the Orlando Magic. At 22, he’s already seen as old for a college junior — and at 23, he would be an even “older” senior, should he return.

Getting into the NBA ranks now, before decision-makers pass on him for being a prospect with only one contract’s worth of team control before his prime years, might increase Robinson’s chances of sticking in the league on a long-term basis.

On the other hand, Robinson remains far from a finished product, despite a stellar performance in Florida’s sub-regional games in Orlando, in which he averaged 19 points and nine rebounds in two blowout wins. The spindly forward has improved as a rebounder and shooter, but his shot is not as accurate as it could be, despite a feathery touch to his jumper and a nearly-unblockable release, and he struggles mightily to create for himself, with problems with his dribble often reducing him to a shooter despite his possession of more than enough athleticism to drive and finish at the rim.

And this is a draft class loaded with options for tweener forwards who have this or that trait or skill to recommend them over Robinson, hence his second-round projection. Next year’s draft is not so well-stocked, and Robinson could improve his stock with an impressive senior season at Florida.

Of course, that’s a risk, and Robinson has already lost out on a chance to go pro, having sustained a foot injury during the pre-draft process in 2016 that led to him withdrawing from the NBA Draft and staying in Gainesville to rehabilitate after having surgery.

And while Robinson would not be guaranteed an NBA roster spot as a second-rounder, nor a professional career should he forgo his senior year, he’s likely to make money playing professional basketball for some or most of his 20s — and the sooner he starts doing so, the more he can make.