All U.P. Boys: Robinette, Vincent defy their doubeters

MARQUETTE – Travis Vincent and Brandon Robinette have always had to prove their doubters wrong. A 6-foot-2 forward, trying to play play the role of a big? Yeah right. And Robinette, a lanky 6-5 forward who can’t play physical in the paint, the whispers said.

Today, both are vindicated, being named to the All-Class Dream Team, having been named there by a panel of 24 sportscasters and writers at the 64th Annual UPSSA Boys Basketball Meeting.

Two seasons ago, Vincent went from being a relative unknown to opening a lot of eyes around the U.P. This year, he proved, he can overcome injury as well. A mid-season high ankle sprain didn’t keep the Jets’ Associated Press Class D All-State selection out long and he returned to form quicker than perhaps anyone, except him, expected.

Vincent, one of four Jets on the All-U.P. Team and one of three Jets with at least 800 career points, averaged 16.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.4 steals and two blocks per game this season. He shot 58 percent from the field. He was particularly a beast on the glass, pulling down 5.5 offensive boards per game, generating second-chance opportunities for his teammates and getting a lot of points of putbacks. He had seven in-game dunks this season and displayed stunning length and wingspan which helped him to a healthy dose of deflections per game.

“Travis is one of those kids that we get a lot out of,” said head coach Adam Mercier earlier this month. “He has natural ability and is very athletic. He’s one of the best rebounders that we’ve ever had, and has put a lot of hard work into his game over the last four years.

“Last year, he was an unknown. This year, people knew about him and keyed in on him and he still averaged the same stats.”

Robinette stands out on the Eskymos. He has height that sets him apart, but this season, his play broke a lot of stereotypes about players his size. The knock on Robinette was always that he was tall but he wasn’t big. So the work began in the offseason. He hit the gym relentlessly, bulked up a bit and the hard work showed.

Displaying the ability of a big post player, but also the quickness and versatility of a guard at times, Robinette compiled a season in which he averaged 17.9 points and 9.1 rebounds. He also added 22 deflections, 20 blocks, 29 steals and 35 assists.

Robinette, the Great Northern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, scored a career-high 34 points on the road against Negaunee this season and showed that a 6-5 forward can also handle the ball responsibly, drive inside and create his own shot, and shoot well from the free throw line.

He helped lead the Eskymos to their best regular season in decades, one that ended with a district championship.

Also being selected to the Dream Team was Joey Duncan of Cedarville, Tyler Jandron of Negaunee and Adam Mackey of Ironwood.

Mackey, a relative unknown to much of the Upper Peninsula, put together quite a career at Ironwood and went out with a bang this season, having led the Red Devils to the Class C regional title game. Mackey wraps up his career with 1,654 points. He will attend Gogebic Community College where his father coaches, after turning down an offer from Michigan Tech.

Duncan was named the Class D Player of the Year and also saved his best for last, putting up 34 points in an eye-popping effort during the Class D state quarterfinal against North Central. Duncan averaged 21 points with three steals, assists and rebounds per game, and shot 56 percent from the field. He was an Associated Press Class D All-State selection as well.

Jandron, perhaps the best player to ever don the blue and gold of Negaunee wrapped up his career with a second consecutive trip to the Final Four at the Breslin Center. He averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and three steals and shot a blistering 86 percent from the free throw line. Jandron was an Associated Press Class C All-State selection and is appearing on the Dream Team for the third straight year.