CHICAGO — The next two weeks could be one of the most important stretches in Jaxson Robinson’s life and at the very least, the decisions made over the course of the next 13 days will alter his future.

“Right now, I’m focused on this (the combine). Obviously I entered the portal, and that was to weigh my options. I think it was something that needed to be done to make sure I put myself in the best position whether I’m in the NBA or not this year.”

—  BYU guard Jaxson Robinson

The big choices are clear; remain in the NBA draft pool and hope for his name to be called on June 26 or 27, or withdraw from the draft by May 29 to maintain his final year of collegiate eligibility.

The latter path would mean making some extra choices — Robinson could return to BYU under new head coach Kevin Young, he could leave to follow former head coach Mark Pope to Kentucky, or he could keep the recruiting window wide open.

There isn’t anyone that believes any schools other than Kentucky and BYU have a shot at landing Robinson, but there does seem to be a consensus about what will happen if he chooses to return to the college ranks.

Multiple sources close to the situation told the Deseret News that if Robinson decides to withdraw from the draft, they fully expect him to be playing for Kentucky next season.

The first indication of that being a possibility was when Robinson entered the transfer portal shortly after Young was hired to replace Pope. Despite Young’s NBA connections and success at the professional level, sources have said that Robinson is unlikely to consider returning to BYU when playing for Pope is an available option.

This week, at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Robinson told the Deseret News that he wanted to take in all the information and feedback from the combine, as well as predraft workouts, and make sure he makes the most informed decision possible, once that time comes. He said he’s had workouts with a couple of teams, though declined to say which teams he’d worked out with or interviewed with.

“Right now, I’m focused on this (the combine),” Robinson said. “Obviously I entered the portal, and that was to weigh my options. I think it was something that needed to be done to make sure I put myself in the best position whether I’m in the NBA or not this year.”

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Both Pope and Young made appearances at the NBA combine this week, and although Robinson and Young have spoken a bit since Young was named BYU head coach last month, Robinson said he’s been in regular contact with Pope.

That’s not a surprise, considering how close Robinson and Pope grew during Robinson’s two years at BYU. The 21-year-old has called Pope a mentor and noted this week that Pope and former BYU assistant Cody Fueger (who left BYU to join Pope’s staff in Lexington) are the ones responsible for preparing him for the predraft process.

“It helped a lot,” he said. “Being here at the combine, some of the plays that we ran today actually, I’ve just known from being at BYU. Coach Pope and coach Fueger taught us those plays and it was all similar to what we ran. It really helps knowing that I have some knowledge coming from college and transitioning into the NBA.”

Though Robinson played well during the scrimmages at the combine, many scouts and executives seem to think that Robinson could benefit from one more collegiate year.

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“It’s not that he had a poor showing here at the combine,” one scout said. “He just doesn’t seem quite ready for the next step.”

In January, Robinson was projected to be an early second-round pick, and as the year progressed there were some that believed Robinson’s Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year campaign could have him sneaking into the bottom of the first round of the NBA draft.

But even more recently, as other players’ draft stock has risen, Robinson has been supplanted in draft rankings. This week, a number of sources said they thought he’d be a late second-round pick or that he could end up going undrafted. ESPN’s most recent “best available” draft list had Robinson ranked No. 52. The 2024 NBA draft will have a total of 58 selections.

None of this is going to make the decision for Robinson any easier. In a draft that many consider to be weak at the top and bottom, it could be easier for Robinson to squeeze in and get drafted, even if it was in the late second round.

Next year’s draft class is expected to be more competitive and the competition could mean that Robinson might fare worse. That being said, if Robinson continues to grow and improve with another collegiate year, it could boost his draft stock, earning him an even higher spot in a more competitive draft.

“It’s better to stand out in a crowd than it is to get lost in a crowd,” a Western Conference executive said. “It feels like he’d be lost in the crowd this year. But if he works really hard, he could stand out next year.”

BYU coach Mark Pope speaks with Jaxson Robinson during game against Baylor, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Provo, Utah. On Thursday, news broke that the BYU coach is taking the head coach job at Kentucky.
BYU coach Mark Pope speaks with Jaxson Robinson during game against Baylor, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Provo, Utah. On Thursday, news broke that the BYU coach is taking the head coach job at Kentucky. | Rick Bowmer, Associated Press