One of the best
GJ's Robinson shows he's one of state's top players
One of the most glowing reviews of Grand Junction High School basketball standout Broderick Robinson comes from a perspective outside the hoops realm.
Robinson, a senior guard who likely will be the Southwestern League player of the year for the second time, didn’t start his high school athletic career on the hardwood. He started on the gridiron.
In 2010, Robinson excelled as a wide receiver on the Tigers’ freshman squad, so much so that Grand Junction football coach Robbie Owens said Robinson would have been on the varsity team during his sophomore year.
“As an athlete, he’s just on a different level,” Owens said. “He would have been one heck of an athlete for us, no doubt. He’s still great to watch playing basketball. But you do wish you could have a kid with athletic ability like that.”
With a desire to focus on basketball and avoid injuries associated with football, Robinson became a year-round basketball player.
That focus has paid off.
As a junior, Robinson was an honorable mention all-state selection despite playing in a league that receives little respect statewide. He averaged 15.6 points per game and 2.7 assists per game. This season, Robinson captured the SWL scoring title (20.1 points per game) and finished sixth in Class 5A in scoring.
Robinson also averaged 10 rebounds per game, and he was one of three players among the top 25 scorers in Class 5A who averaged a double-double. In that group, he was the only guard to average a double-double. In the SWL, Robinson trailed only teammate D.J. Wells in rebounding. He even bumped up his assists to 3.4 per game.
All this while leading the Grand Junction Tigers to a 20-win season and an undefeated run through league play.
“The goal this year was to play in the state championship,” Robinson said. “Obviously that’s a tough goal with all the great teams over there, but it was one of the things we wanted to do. We had talented teams (my) freshman and sophomore year, but we never really clicked like we did my junior year. I mean, man, we played together since maybe sixth grade, so when that group was finally at varsity, we just had it.”
The two biggest jumps Robinson made between his junior and senior year, Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said, were an added emphasis on defense and rebounding. Robinson nearly doubled his rebounds per game, and Johnson said he used Broderick’s older brother, Everett, as a motivational tool to push Broderick on defense.
“When Everett played for us, he always guarded the other team’s best player,” Johnson said. “And, I mean, it sounds a little bit mean, but I used that to motivate Broderick on the defensive end. And to his credit, he really used it. He was already one of the best offensive players in the league, and this year he really made a commitment on the defensive end.”
On top of doubling his steals per game, Robinson started making impact plays on defense. Multiple times during the season, Robinson raced cross-court to block shots. Robinson was the only guard in the SWL to average more than one block per game, and was among the top five shot blockers in the league.
All the gaudy numbers, along with a stellar AAU showing, have drawn interest from college basketball programs.
Boise State, Long Beach State, Cal State-Northridge and Air Force are among the NCAA Division I programs who have shown interest in Robinson.
At the Division II level, Robinson said top-ranked Metro State has been “recruiting me hard,” but he added he could see himself attending a junior college for a year to draw interest from larger Division I programs.
His Colorado Shining Stars AAU coach Mark Sharpley, who also coaches the Jefferson Academy boys basketball team in Broomfield, said Robinson is as good as any guard in Colorado.
“He stacks up with all of the top players in Colorado, no question,” Sharpley said. “I don’t know if he gets the exposure he deserves, but he’s an elite guard in Colorado. He’s D-I caliber, even though I don’t know how much D-I recruiting he’s getting right now. If he ends up going to a (junior college), he’ll just blossom into a D-I talent. That’s if he doesn’t decide to go to a top-level D-II school. He’d be great there, too.”
Robinson was a key piece of the Shining Stars, who won a handful of smaller AAU tournaments this summer and were invited to bigger tournaments in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“He’s a nice kid and great kid who is completely unselfish,” Sharpley said. “He’s not one of those ‘I’m so good’ type of kids. Incredibly humble. Like for us, whenever we needed a basket, we’d flatten out the floor for him, and he would score. We played a lot of good teams, and he was competitive against all of them.”
After securing a No. 4 seed in the Class 5A playoffs, Grand Junction hosts No. 12 Rampart at Grand Junction High School at 2 p.m. Saturday. If the Tigers win, Grand Junction will likely face top-seeded Denver East. The Angels feature Class 5A’s leading scorer and University of Colorado signee Dominic Collier.
Regardless of when the season ends for the Tigers, Johnson said Robinson is one of the best players in the program’s history.
“Talent-wise, he just does things on the basketball court that you can’t teach or coach,” Johnson said. “He can just do so many things in terms of body control. You know, he doesn’t really have a weakness. He can shoot the ball, put the ball on the floor, he’s a great passer, he can guard, rebound.
“I always joked with Everett when he was here and Broderick was a seventh-grader, telling (Everett) that Broderick was going to be better than him. I honestly don’t know which one is better, really, but you knew from the start that Broderick was going to be on a different level (than other players) in terms of athleticism.”
Robinson said the seniors are motivated to keep playing together.
“Man, we just want to keep it going,” Robinson said. “We just want to keep playing together as long as we can.”