“Fly boy” admits he’s a little more nervous than usual.
Jerome Robinson, the University of New Mexico men’s basketball assistant coach, isn’t just heading back to his old college stomping grounds Saturday as the Lobos (3-1) play his alma mater Bradley Braves (6-2) in Peoria, Ill.
Robinson is being inducted to the university’s athletics Hall of Fame for his four-year basketball career that culminated in a stellar 2000-01 senior season and included being named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 16.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
And that season he had another little known stat. He was the star player on the Bradley team a future Lobo by the name of Danny Granger, then a high school senior in New Orleans, decided he wanted to be a part of, too.
“He had a great career at Bradley and went overseas and had a great career there, too,” Granger told the Journal in a podcast interview earlier this year of his memories of Robinson at Bradley. “… They called him ‘fly boy.’ Off of one foot, he could jump to the moon. It was amazing.”
Robinson, meanwhile, doesn’t remember his college career being quite the Hall of Fame level.
“I was caught off guard,” he said of the October phone call when he learned about the induction. “I didn’t think I did enough throughout my time there to get in.”
But he did. And, plenty who saw him play that senior season agree, pointing to memories like his school-record eight 3-pointer game against Wichita State on Feb. 10, 2001, or the 31 points at USC on Nov. 18, 2000, or that MVC Defensive Player of the Year and CollegeInsider.com national All-Defense Team honor that season.
As far as Saturday’s game goes, Robinson had to hand off the scouting duties as there will be some understandable distractions. His wife and three children as well as plenty of extended family and former teammates will be on hand for Robinson, who also has to give a speech at a lunchtime ceremony and be present for tribute during the game.
“I handed off the scout to Mase (Lobos assistant Brandon Mason) because, originally I thought I could handle it,” Robinson said. “Then I started thinking about all the things that will be going on. … It was a lot, so I had to hand it off. But I’m excited about all of it.
“And I really want to win this game.”