NASHVILLE — One by one, Brown County senior Sasha Robinson had to hug a seemingly entire school-full of friends.
She had just done a ceremonial signing Wednesday of her letter-of-intent to play basketball in college for the Evansville Purple Aces, and the auditorium was packed with well-wishers. Perhaps that was testament to the fact that Robinson has more than great basketball skills.
Before Robinson could address the crowd, Brown County athletics director Brian Garmen, principal Matthew Stark and head basketball coach Mike Harmon all talked about what an exceptional person she has been away from the court, as well as her ability on it.
“It was strange,” Robinson said about having to listen to one person after the next say what a great citizen she has been. “I have just been myself. I treat others the way I would want to be treated.”
But even Purple Aces coach Oties Epps noted that, “She will make an immediate impact on our program both on and off the court.”
A 6-footer who probably will play either the power or small forward position, Robinson certainly will make the team better. She averaged 12.4 points and 9.3 rebounds last season and 11.5 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore for the Eagles.
“She is a BCS caliber athlete with length that will help us on both ends of the court,” Epps said. “She is a hard-nosed kid who has a knack for rebounding. She also has the versatility to play around or away from the basket.”
Robinson had orally committed to Evansville before her junior season.
“Last year, I felt a lot of pressure,” she said. “I felt I had to prove something.”
Some friends started to question whether she had made her decision too soon and perhaps could have received bigger opportunities.
“I like the whole atmosphere at Evansville,” she said. “It just felt right. The school is a very good school. I’m glad I am not going to a big school. It’s very homey here.”
Her parents, William “Bill” and Kim Robinson, have watched their daughter excel in sports most of her life. “It was always kind of in the back of our minds,” Kim Robinson said of her daughter earning an athletics scholarship. “I am so proud.”
Although basketball is Robinson’s top sport, she also has participated in volleyball and track all through high school.
“She never has gotten a day off from practice,” her mom said. “She’s given up a lot.”
“I’ve been playing basketball for ... it seems like my whole life,” Sasha Robinson said. “I have been playing AAU since I was 9. In fifth grade, I was on the sixth-grade all-star team. I’ve lived and breathed basketball. But I really enjoy it.
“I love it.”