Robinson adds to repertoire, ready to lead GJ
Conceivably, Grand Junction’s boys basketball team could have 6-foot-4 Everett Robinson be the shortest player on the court.
Although the Tigers lost four seniors from last year’s team, Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson is excited about the size this year’s Tigers have.
“We are not big, but we have 6-5 kids who could all contribute,” Johnson said. “This is the first time we might get to have more than one 6-5 kid on the floor at the same time.”
The bigs: Geoff Baldwin, Matt Wilkinson and Derek Cisar, all seniors, and junior Jesse Smith.
The foursome should go along well with a deep backcourt that includes Robinson, who was last year’s SWL player of the year, and two-year starter Justin Trujillo. Sam Morgan, Mark
Stern and Tommy Powers are all back for the Tigers, who open the season Dec. 2 at Uintah High School in Vernal, Utah.
“We have good balance and I think we have a lot more kids this year that can play,” Johnson said. “It has been a great week and a half of practice and the leadership has been huge.”
The leadership begins with Robinson, who spent the offseason attempting to improve his outside shooting.
“A lot of people would play his drive but now he is not afraid to shoot it,” Johnson said.
“He has gotten better in every aspect since he has gotten here.”
Robinson filled in the blanks about himself and the rest of the Tigers.
Athletic best describes me on the court.
“I do anything, play the post or point, shoot.”
Getting to the basket and finishing is my best asset on the court.
“I play more of a two guard, so if I am going against a big man I use my speed, and if it is a smaller defender I just post him up in the paint.”
Extremely hard is how I prepared in the offseason.
“I worked on all my weaknesses and lifted a lot, trying to get bigger and stronger.”
Winning is my favorite part of the game.
“It is the best feeling ever.”
Rebounding and defense will be the most important assets of the team.
“We are big this year, but it is not an excuse to let up.”
Don’t know is how many games Grand Junction will win.
“It all depends on how hard we play. We want to win the SWL and get past the Sweet 16.”
The best way to describe the season for the Tigers’ girls team is a great opportunity.
The Tigers lost four starters from last year’s team, three seniors to graduation and 6-5 forward Emily Stark, who now attends Highlands Ranch.
With the depletion of experience, players who haven’t been counted on as much will find themselves in new roles, beginning with the four seniors — Liz Heaps, Cassidie Mims, Lisa Hughes and Emily Dohm.
Hughes (5-11) and Dohm (6-2) will serve as the Tigers’ post presence and Heaps and sophomore Fawn Brady will be the team’s main threats in the backcourt.
Plenty of youngsters could get playing time.
“They don’t have the experience yet and there are going to be some real eye-openers when that league starts for some of these kids,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said.
“This is a tough league and there are tough kids in it. You come out of an eighth grade program and go into a varsity program, that is a huge jump. Even going from freshman to varsity (is a big difference) and a lot of these kids are doing that.”
Brady, along with Paula Lage and freshman Jamie Derrioux, form a group of young players that will have a lot of opportunities this season.
Brady started as a freshman, but she’s looking to be a bigger contributor this season.
“Fawn had a nice year last year,” Provenza said.
“But this year she is physically bigger and I can see the confidence level of her game is pretty good.”
Provenza sets the bar high for the Tigers, who host Glenwood Springs on Dec. 4.
“We think we are going to step up and win every game,” Provenza said. “Because of the success and tradition of SWL championships, that is what our focus is on.”
Brady filled in the blanks about herself and the Tigers.
Heart best describes me as a player.
“I play from my heart rather than from my mind. I get tired but I love the game, so I keep playing.”
Seeing the court is my best asset as a player.
“I like to pass, so I will drive, then find open players.”
A personal trainer is how I trained in the offseason.
“Last year I didn’t feel like it was my place to score, but this year I needed to go do something to make myself better.”
Being out there is my favorite part of the game.
“I don’t have a specific thing. I just like to play.”
Friendship is the most important asset of this team.
“We all know each other and we really get along well, so that helps a lot.”
A winning season is how I expect the Tigers to finish.
“Hopefully we can get that.”