Mohigans have look of champs, Robinson says

G/F believes Morgantown will improve in speed, athleticism


    Marlan Robinson got a first-hand look this past March at what it takes to win a state basketball championship.
    The Morgantown High guard/forward was there in the Charleston Civic Center when Patrick Patterson and Huntington ran over the Mohigans in an 84-39 state semifinal victory. The Highlanders went on to win the state title.
    Four months later, Robinson and the Mohigans are preparing for another run. While next season’s MHS team will be loaded with some fresh faces, Robinson said the Mohigans will be flat-out loaded.
    “You look at the better teams in this state and they have the same thing in common — speed and athleticism,” Robinson said from WVU’s team camp. “That’s what Beckley and Huntington have. I think that’s one area where we’re going to be better this year.”
    The speed and athleticism come from the trio of Derek Long, Elliot Law and J.T. Lewis — all products of a junior varsity team that went 19-1 this past season. There is some size as well with Cameron Taylor, also moving up from the JV team.
    Throw in experienced guards John Hatfield and Jeff Lindsay and you get an idea of what Robinson is talking about.
    “We can do a lot more with our man-to-man defense,” Robinson said. “J.T. and Derek are so quick and Elliot can do a little bit of everything. The young guys have been a great bunch to work with. I think we should be able to get out and run a little more this year. I think the big key for us this year will be our depth. I think we could go about 10-deep.”
    Evidence of future success came Friday, when the Mohigans beat Union Hill, N.J., 55-47, for the WVU camp team championship, at the WVU Rec Center.
    If it’s to continue, Robinson will have to bring it all together. Every team needs the go-to player, somebody willing to step up his game another level while making those around him better.
    Robinson has become aware of this. “I’ve tried to take a leadership role as much as I can,” he said. “I try not to get too hard on myself, because I don’t want the younger guys to see stuff like that.”
    Robinson, who is 6-foot-5 and averaged 13.3 points this past season, says he could see himself playing Division I basketball after his senior year. Eastern Michigan and Virginia Tech have shown some interest so far, but after leading the Mohigans to the title in the WVU camp, more interest may be on the way.
    Robinson’s AAU team, the East Coast Eagles, out of Roanoke, Va., will also be playing against top competition later this summer, in Indianapolis and Las Vegas.
    “I really think I can be a Division I player,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t be out here working hard if I didn’t think that. There’s things I need to work on. I really have to become stronger and faster. I need to work on jumping.
    “I’m not down on myself right now, I know there’s still a lot of time left. There’s the entire summer and the season coming up. I think more schools will show some interest after the summer.”
Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post Morgantown High’s Marlan Robinson splits three defenders -- Jedd Gyorko (left), Matt Lemine and Ryan Michael -- for a layup in a game against University High this past season.