Former Bulldog Orlando Robinson set for NBA debut


Wyatt Bible

Fresno State forward Orlando Robinson prepares to pass to a teammate against Nevada on Feb. 5, 2022 at The Save Mart Center. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

By Al Scott

Former Fresno State men’s basketball standout Orlando Robinson signed with Miami Heat on Sunday on a two-way contract. He was expected to make his debut in the NBA on Monday, Nov. 14, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, but he didn’t appear on the roster for the game against the suns.

The Heat are calling up Robinson from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team’s G-League affiliate, signing the rookie center to a two-way contract as the team looks to fortify its front court depth. 

Robinson was signed by Miami as an undrafted free agent (UDFA) back in June earlier this year. 

Robinson has averaged 20 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 54.1% from the field through four contests with the Skyforce.

The Heat waived guard Dru Smith in a corresponding move, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

While playing time will not be guaranteed, Robinson should have an opportunity to prove his worth to Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.

Beyond starter Bam Adebayo, Miami’s depth at the center position is murky at the moment. Dewayne Dedmon is currently playing through a plantar fasciitis injury in his left foot, Omer Yurtseven is expected to miss at least three months and possibly more due to a bone-spur fracture and 42-year-old Udonis Haslem is seldom used. 

The Heat also have 19-year-old forward Nikola Jovic. 

Robinson played in 90 games at Fresno State, averaging 15.7 points, eight rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.01 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game, while shooting 47.6% from the field and 32.2% from beyond the arc. 

This included a notable 2021-22 season in which Robinson was named to the First Team All-Mountain West as a junior.

Robinson became the second player in NCAA history with at least 700 points, 300 rebounds and 100 assists in a season, joining Frank Kaminsky, who did so with Wisconsin in 2014-15. 

When Robinson makes his debut, he will join Los Angeles Clippers star forward Paul George as the only former ‘Dogs currently active in the NBA, and the 32nd Bulldog to do so ever. 

His size and versatility should serve him well as a modern big man in today’s NBA.