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Pacers Summer Hoops Clinic featuring Glenn Robinson III

Lake Central alum Glenn Robinson III talks with children last year during the Pacers Summer Hoops Clinic at Lake Central High School.

The scary thing about being a professional athlete is there is almost always someone, somewhere, better than you and eager to take your job.

Winning is everything. Nothing is guaranteed, no matter how impressive your stat line is.

Youth is the mortar that builds dynasties.

The Indiana Pacers had a memorable season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference Central Division at 48-34 and overachieving after the departure of All-Star Paul George.

Lake Central grad Glenn Robinson III, the Pacers' 6-foot-7 shooting guard, has reason to be concerned, however.

The fourth-year pro missed the first 58 games after injuring his left ankle in training camp and needing surgery. He was basically forgotten during the first-round playoff series with Cleveland.

Robinson wasn't in coach Nate McMillan's set rotation for the postseason.

With the NBA draft June 21 and the Pacers scheduled to pick 23rd and 50th, their front office already is mixing mortar and building for the future.

But does GR3, who is an unrestricted free agent, figure in their plans?

His annual free summer camp at Lake Central has not yet been announced, according to a source, because he's waiting to see which uniform he may be wearing in 2018-19.

Robinson did not return text messages or voice messages seeking comment.

However, he was interviewed for a season wrapup on Pacers.com weeks ago.

"I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason," Robinson said in a video on the team website. "I had a great summer coming into the season and, unfortunately, the injury occurred. There's nothing I could do about it besides get better and get back 100 percent. That was my mindset, my focus, the whole time."

Robinson appeared in 23 games, averaging 4.1 points and shooting 41.2 percent from deep.

His season debut was Feb. 23 against Atlanta.

"This season, you know, it wasn't everything that I planned it to be, as far as personally, but who can complain when we're winning," Robinson said on Pacers.com. "We made it to Game 7 against LeBron (James) and the Cavs and I think we were the better team."

Five of the seven games in that tight series were decided by a total of 16 points as several Pacers stepped up while GR3 played spectator.

"With the right group of guys and the right culture, I think the sky's the limit for this team," he said on Pacers.com.

Emerging superstar Victor Oladipo was unstoppable most nights and with 14 of the 17 players on last season's roster under 30, Indiana could become a possible contender in the East by adding another key piece or two.

"Victor dedicated himself to the game all summer," Robinson said on Pacers.com. "He wasn't going out, wasn't partying, just focusing on getting better and that's one of the things I want to do this summer — just grind as hard as I can and come back a greater player.

"It seems to be rubbing off in the locker room. Everyone's mentality is to come back better so we can win Game 7."

With championships being bought in professional sports, there could be some new faces next season.

According to Spotrac, the contracts of the following prominent Pacers are scheduled to expire after 2018-19: Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported Young is considering declining his $13.7 million option for next season and testing free agency.

If Young were to leave, the Pacers' options on their roster are limited. Neither Myles Turner nor Domantas Sabonis has shown the ability to consistently play power forward, and TJ Leaf is still a ways from being a potential starter in the NBA.

Could that open a door for, let's say, Butler's Tyler Wideman, another L.C. grad? The 6-8, 240-pound center averaged 9.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and shot 67 percent last season.

"They pretty much know that I can defend and rebound, just showing them the offensive game that I have," Wideman told Pacers.com after a June 11 pre-draft workout. "I mean, but still doing the little things that got me where I am today."

GR3, meanwhile, is caught in a numbers game: The Pacers have six guards on their roster.

GR3 is a great fit for any team when healthy and consistent. He's got it all: high character, work ethic and athleticism.

But it's the Pacers who'll decide his future this offseason.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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