Not to throw any shade at my admittedly limited knowledge of the Indiana State Sycamores basketball program, but you cannot convince me there’s been anyone cooler than Sycamores big man Robbie Avila since Larry Bird’s heyday.
Avila is an absolute unit. The kind of quirky appearance, goofy play style and bottom-line production that’s the stuff of NCAA Tournament legends.
You tell me if Robbie Avila isn’t about to be a household name after seeing this whole phenomenon/paragon of animals.
Oh, but it’s not just a fashion statement. For as conspicuous as those goggles are, and that pasty, doughy frame is, Avila is letting his game do the talking, too. He just hung a line of 24 points, 11 boards, four assists, two blocks and a steal on a spunky Drake squad.
Not to mention, the 6-foot-10 sophomore canned the go-ahead 3-pointer to help the Sycamores improve to 20-3 overall and 11-1 atop the Missouri Valley Conference.
You’re gonna want to be ahead of the curve on this one. In case you didn’t know, Duke is playing against North Carolina on this fine Saturday, yet all. I can think about that’s college-hoops related is Robbie Avila. That’s star power and brand equity you can’t buy.
Beyond the self-evident aesthetically-pleasing appearance he rocks, and his on-court prowess, Avila has that special sauce to him. Think about it. Somebody who’s self-confident enough to show out in goggles and not even bother with maximizing his conditioning isn’t going to be intimidated by anything. Millions of Americans watching the NCAA tourney? Pssh. He could care less.
This young man will give precisely zero f*cks under the bright lights of the Big Dance. Just get him there, give us a massive upset in the Round of 64 at the very least, and make Indiana State and Larry Bird proud.
Comparisons to Nikola Jokic are inevitable. We might even see a “Baby Joker” movement swell up. I’d be here for all of it.
Avila’s high school teammate, Jayson Kent, spoke recently about his best pal’s skill set and called him the best player in the conference, as reported by the Tribune-Star‘s Hunter Tickel:
“That boy is the G.O.A.T…I’m not gonna lie, I’ve played with Robbie since high school [and] just seeing him develop from what he was in high school to now is just like — he’s probably the best big in the Valley, in my opinion. […]
He can pass, he can shoot, he can dribble. Not a lot of bigs can do what he [does]. It’s a blessing to be able to play with him again and have these guys around him to make everybody better. We all make each other better. He is the key to that.”
The Sycamores get an auto bid into the NCAA Tournament if they win the MVC conference tourney. I’m almost 100% certain Avila will help them get the job done. Winning the regular-season MVC title will go a long way on their bracketology resume as well.
Eight games remain, with Indiana State two full games clear of Drake and Bradley. Prayers up that trend in the standings continues. I can’t imagine my March Madness without Robbie Avila anymore.
Please watch Robbie Avila. Game is a thing to behold for @indianastate hoops