At times early in his freshman year, Robinson was convinced that he was destined to be Tim Hardaway Jr.'s understudy at small forward, leaving any guaranteed playing time in question.
But Wolverines coach John Beilein was more interested in getting his best five on the floor rather limiting players to their natural positions. Beilein believed Robinson fit into that group, even if that meant moving him to a power forward, where he would have to adjust to defending bigger opponents while still using his athleticism to fuel Michigan's offense.
Robinson was eager to contribute in any way. Thirty-nine starts, 11 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and an appearance in the NCAA title game later, Robinson's contributions grew to a level he could never have imagined -- all while taking an unselfish approach to his new role.
"Last year, I was definitely more of that, 'Do-whatever-the-team-needs' type guy," Robinson said. "Whether it was the one getting rebounds or knocking down open shots -- anything the team needed -- I had to do."
This season, after electing to return for his sophomore year after briefly considering leaving for the NBA, Robinson faces more change.
With Hardaway and reigning consensus National Player of the Year Trey Burke departed for the NBA, Robinson finds himself in a different role. He's slated to return to his natural small forward position, but the 6-foot-6 sophomore will also be asked to carry more of the leadership role along with fellow sophomore Mitch McGary.
McGary, who rose to national prominence after putting his talents on full display during the NCAA Tournament, is the vocal leader. Robinson, meanwhile, is more comfortable with being more of the example, allowing his work on the floor to speak for itself.
The expectations for his production also will change. Burke and Hardaway accounted for more than 33 points per game. Still with plenty of talent around him, Robinson understands the need to ratchet his game up a level while still not feeling the pressure to do it all.
Beilein envisions Robinson playing more of a primary role in the offense this season after honing his game over a summer at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.
"He wants to be (in that position)," Beilein said. "He and Mitch both would like to embrace that part.
"Those sophomores are going to have to step up very early. (Robinson) did that a little bit at the end of last year and that's a great sign for the future."
Robinson, who gained nine pounds in the offseason, won't put a timetable on how long his Michigan career will last. For now, he's intent on keeping the Wolverines among the nation's elite and helping them take the next step after the 82-76 loss to Louisville in the national championship game in April.
"That's a tough loss come off of, but I think we've been in a great mindset of trying to forget about it as much as possible," Robinson said. "But at the same time, it's still in the back of our minds to go out and compete so we can get back there."
1. Doug McDermott 6-7 Sr. Creighton
Well, look who is back for a senior season.
One of the reasons the losses of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. aren't quite so stinging.
3. P.J. Hairston 6-5 Jr. North Carolina
Didn't have the offseason he and Roy would have preferred.
Only non-McDonald's AA in UCLA recruiting class proved the best.
5. Sam Dekker 6-7 So. Wisconsin
Will be considered an all-timer for Badgers.
6. C.J. Fair 6-8 Sr. Syracuse
Could prove to be the program's first All-ACC selection.
Marcus Smart got him out of spotlight, made him a better player.
The name, and game, are very familiar to Big Ten followers.
9. T.J. Warren 6-8 So. North Carolina State
Will have a monstrous season – in a good way.
10. Rodney Hood 6-8 So. Duke
Mississippi State transfer provides a versatile scoring threat.
11. Luke Hancock 6-6 Sr. Louisville
Raise your hand if you were surprised that he was the FF's MOP.
12. Omar Calhoun 6-5 So. Connecticut
Sure -- feel free to call him a SG, as well, if you're so inclined.
13. Torrey Craig 6-8 Sr. USC-Upstate
By now he should no longer be deemed a "sleeper", right?
As ferociously as he attacks, could be labeled a PF, too.
15. LaQuinton Ross 6-7 Jr. Ohio State
If tourney performance was a hint, he's about to blossom.
16. Bryce Dejean-Jones 6-5 Jr. UNLV
Departures mean he's now the best scorer on the campus.
17. Damyean Dotson 6-5 So. Oregon
He was among the best of the "unheralded" freshmen nationally.
18. Anthony Drmic 6-6 Jr. Boise State
Next of the Aussies to become a U.S. college standout.
Among the most versatile players in the Big 12 and beyond.
20. Treveon Graham 6-5 Jr. VCU
Had two marvelous seasons while still a teenager.
21. Roosevelt Jones 6-5 Jr. Butler
How about that floater he hit to beat Gonzaga?
The Cyclones pick up a quality scorer by way of Marshall.
23. Travis McKie 6-7 Jr. Wake Forest
He'd be a good ACC player regardless of what roster he was on.
24. Will Sheehey 6-7 Sr. Indiana
Role should expand considerably in final year in Bloomington.
25. Dezmine Wells 6-5 Jr. Maryland
With Alex Len gone, will get a boatload of double-doubles.