Robinson Playing Key Role on the Court for UMass
The North Penn grad is following her dream.
Shakia Robinson has a passion for the game of basketball that began in her childhood.
The North Penn graduate is now playing college basketball at UMass. However, it was the opportunity to play for her father at an early age that inspired Robinson to make basketball a part of her life.
“I always loved the game,” said Robinson. “Back when I was a little kid, I was coached by my dad. I was a point guard and shooting guard. I really got my passion from the game because of my dad. I started playing seriously when I was in fourth grade. We had March Madness in elementary school.”
Robinson is hoping to one day experience her own version of March Madness at UMass. She is the top player off the bench for a Minutewomen team that is going though a rebuilding stage with a strong nucleus of young players.
As a forward, Robinson is averaging nearly 11 points and six rebounds per game. She has the top shooting percentage on the team and is one of the true cornerstones of the program.
UMass won only five of its first 18 games, but Robinson believes the Minutewomen are in the process of building a team that will one day compete for an Atlantic 10 championship.
“Things are progressing a lot better than what we were doing at the beginning of the season,” Robinson said. “We had a little bit of a rocky start at the beginning of the season. I’m happy the way the team has progressed, and we’re getting better every day.”
Robinson is averaging nearly 28 minutes per game. After starting 10 games early in the season, the coaching staff decided Robinson could best serve the team coming off the bench.
It’s a role that Robinson is happy to play.
“I’m playing my role as the first one off the bench,” said Robinson. “I’m bringing that heart and soul to the team, and that spark when we need it. I’m basically getting the same amount of minutes I was getting as a starter.”
Robinson credits her time at North Penn for her ability to make the transition to the college game.
“That experience helped me get to the college level,” Robinson said. “A lot of teams were keying on me at North Penn. I was used to the pressure of being double-teamed. It was really not that hard of an adjustment.”
Robinson had several schools to choose from when her days at North Penn were coming to an end. She had offers from schools near her home, as well as far-away destinations. UMass proved to be the right fit.
“I was getting recruited by a lot of schools that were pretty far,” said Robinson. "UMass was only a five-hour drive, so my family and friends can come to the game. Plus, they play in the A-10, so I get to come back to Philly a couple of times a year.”
Robinson was ready to contribute when she arrived at UMass last fall, and the coaches were eager to get her on the court. Robinson appeared in 21 games last winter and gained valuable experience as a freshman.
“My minutes from my freshman year helped me,” Robinson said. “I was able to see how much quicker the college game is compared to the high school game. Coming into my sophomore year, I already had some minutes under my belt.”
Robinson knows there is still more time needed before she and her teammates can be contenders. However, the North Penn graduate is confident the team will achieve success before her playing days at UMass come to an end.
“I’m super-excited,” said Robinson said. “We’re getting better at practice every day, and we’re turning the corner. A lot of our freshmen and incoming recruits that we have are pretty good players. This team is going to be a team to look out for.”