In only two seasons on the basketball court, Glenn Robinson dominated the competition like no other athlete in Purdue history.
Nicknamed "Big Dog," Robinson came to Purdue from Gary, Ind., where he was accustomed to dominating on the basketball court. During his four years at Gary Roosevelt High School, Robinson guided his team to a 73-7 record. In his senior season, he was named Indiana Mr. Basketball and led his team to the state championship. As a senior, he averaged 25.6 points, 14.6 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game. He set a school record with 1,710 points in his career with the Panthers.
After sitting out his freshman season, Robinson exploded onto the college basketball scene as a sophomore. In his first season, Robinson led the Big Ten in scoring with 25.5 points per game. He recorded 13 double-doubles and was named second-team All-America. He scored in double figures in 27 of 28 games and averaged 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 2.0 steals per outing.
Robinson returned with a fiery determination for his junior campaign. The Boilermakers traveled to Europe in the summer of 1993. While overseas, he led the Boilermakers in scoring, averaging 28.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
The Boilermakers began the 1993-94 campaign on a mission. The Old Gold and Black began the season by winning the Great Alaska Shootout, and Robinson was named MVP. That tournament set the tone as Robinson and the Boilermakers won all 12 of their non-conference games. In the Big Ten opener at Northwestern, Robinson knocked down a 10-foot baseline jumper with eight seconds remaining to give the Boilermakers a one-point win. The Boilermakers 14-0 start to the season is the best in school history.
"Glenn is a man playing among boys out there," says Lefty Driesell, who coached James Madison, when Purdue defeated the Dukes 98-74 in 1994. "He plays at another level and is totally dominant."
Coaches and media agreed that Robinson was a special player.
Robinson led the Boilermakers throughout the Big Ten season. On March 6, 1994, the Boilermakers visited Ann Arbor, Mich., to face the Wolverines, who had a half-game lead in the conference race. The Boilermakers trailed by one with six seconds remaining when Robinson hit a running jumper at the buzzer to stun the crowd at Crisler Arena and give the Boilermakers a 95-94 victory and a half-game lead to win the Big Ten race.
In a regular season-ending win over Illinois in Mackey Arena, Robinson scored a career-high 49 points, and Purdue clinched its 19th Big Ten championship with a 14-4 conference record.
The Boilermakers earned the third spot in the AP Poll and a No. 1 seed in the 1994 NCAA Tournament. Robinson led the Boilermakers to the Sweet 16 of the tournament and a matchup with Kansas in Knoxville, Tenn. Robinson scored 44 points and collected seven rebounds against the Jayhawks, leading Purdue to an 83-78 win and a trip to the Elite Eight.
In just two years, Robinson had accomplished nearly everything a single player could achieve in college basketball. He was named the 1994 consensus national player of the year and earned First Team All-America honors. Robinson was the Big Ten's player of the year and led the country in scoring with 30.3 points per game. Perhaps the most prized award of the year came when Robinson was named the recipient of the John Wooden Award, given to the country's top player and named after 1932 Purdue graduate John Wooden. Robinson was the first Purdue player to earn the honor since Wooden himself had been named national player of the year in 1932.
"Glenn was the easiest player to coach that ever played for me," said coach Gene Keady. "He enjoyed practices and loved to compete. He was a dream to have as a player."
In the summer of 1994, Robinson was selected as the No. 1 pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA draft. Robinson played for the Bucks for eight seasons. Twice an All-Star, Robinson averaged more than 20 points and six rebounds a game. Never forgetting his early years, Robinson donated 50 tickets to youth groups from Milwaukee and Gary during each Bucks home game.
In the 2004, Robinson was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. During the 2004-05 season, he landed in San Antonio, where he came off the bench to help the Spurs win their third NBA title.