Today's vocabulary lesson comes from Stanford Robinson. He's a 6-4 guard and a member of Indiana's highly regarded incoming freshman basketball class.
Lesson No. 1: What does feathery mean?
“It's like the greatest type of good,” Robinson says with a light-up-a-court smile.
Robinson calls things “feathery.” Making a play, is one. Wearing a piece of nice-looking clothing, is another.
No, it doesn't refer to light weight or having the texture of a feature.
“My swag is feathery” Robinson says with another smile. “My head band is always feathery. Something like that.”
At this moment, Robinson wears a wide, white head band. He also has a mustache and a tuft of chin hair that could generously be called a goatee. Those, too, it would seem, are feathery.
As for what does “swag” mean, well, in this case, it means Robinson's style or appearance, the swagger that often is the difference between wanting to be good, and being it.
Anyway, Robinson projects to make major backcourt impact next season for Indiana. At least, he'd better given IU has a need there.
Jordan Hulls has finished his college eligibility, Victor Oladipo has left for NBA opportunity and Remy Abell will transfer against his mother's wishes. Maurice Creek will transfer to seek more playing time.
Yogi Ferrell has the point guard spot. Will Sheehey likely will slide to the shooting guard role. Because that's not nearly enough guards for a major basketball program, Robinson figures to help fill the void. So does fellow incoming freshman Troy Williams.
Williams is the more spectacular player, a versatile guy who can play multiple positions while filling up a stat book. Robinson is more a facilitator. He can score, pass, defend and do the little things. He's a shooting guard with a point guard touch. He's rated as the nation's No. 16 shooting guard, and the No. 56 player overall, by Rivals.com.
In last week's Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville, where defense was mostly a myth, Robinson had six points, four rebounds, four assists, three turnovers and a steal in 20 minutes. Yes, those aren't Kobe numbers, but this wasn't the time or place for that.
“There were so many guards on the team, so we all had to share the shine this time,” he says.
Robinson is fine with sharing. Some might call it deferring, others doing the little things that need to be done.
“Just being a leader and helping the team anyway I can,” he says. “Doing things like Troy does -- rebound, wherever help is needed, he gives that. That's what I need to work on as well.”
Robinson understands the Indiana opportunity, which is why he's putting in extra time on his ballhandling, among other things. Yes, he's pumped about wearing the candy striped pants and all things Hoosiers, but ask him what he most looks forward to about going to IU and he mentions his Findley Prep teammate Gavin Schilling.
“Playing against Michigan State because (Schilling) is going there,” he says. “That's what I'm looking forward to.”
As for the chance to get major early playing time, Robinson says the key for all the incoming freshmen is to get stronger.
“We need to get in the weight room. The Big Ten is a very physical league. I think skill-wise we're ready, but we need to get in the weight room and get in the gym.”
They'll get plenty of opportunity to do that in a program that has become known for its players' 24/7 commitment.
This six-player recruiting class, rated a top-10 group by every major recruiting service, has a little bit of everything with Robinson, Williams, forward Noah Vonleh (the highest rated player at No. 8), center Luke Fischer and Indianapolis forwards Devin Davis and Collin Hartman.
“We've been talking about getting to Indiana all spring,” Robinson says. “We text each other about it. We can't wait. It's finally coming.
“It was fun building team chemistry (at the Derby Festival Classic). Before it was like, who are these guys I'm about to hoop with? Now, I know them. We're getting used to each other and everybody's styles.”
Coach Tom Crean's job is to blend those styles into an effective team. Robinson likes the potential.
“Troy can draw the (point guard) through the (center). We have Noah who can do the same thing, so that's double trouble.
“Watching these guys play has got me excited for the season.”
In other words, it's feathery.