Danielle Robinson grew up with the mindset that school is her job and report cards are her paycheck. Keeping this mindset through college has been the key to her success in both basketball and school.
“Since basketball and school intertwine, I use it as a motive,” said Robinson. “Since I love basketball so much, I have to get the grades to continue to play. At the same time, I found a new love for learning. That’s what I use education for.”
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Robinson is a senior pursuing a degree in education, but she is also interested in exercise and sports science.
Robinson began playing basketball when she was 9-years-old out of curiosity and following her brother’s lead.
“I just wanted to do what my brother did, and he played all the time,” said Robinson. “I used to follow him around. My mom started putting me in little camps and clubs for basketball.”
Robinson’s accomplishments at South Broward High School include averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals per game. She was an MVP of the SheCanPlay.org Senior Showcase and was nominated as a high school All-American. She was also selected to the Miami Herald first-team and Sun-Sentinel second-team, as well as being named South Broward 2011 Scholar Athlete of the Year. In addition to playing basketball for all four years, she also ran track for two years.
At NSU, Robinson was named to the Women’s Division II Bulletin All-America Freshman team, selected as the SSC Freshman of the Year and named to the All-SSC Newcomer team. She averaged 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists and shot 37 percent from the 3-point range that year.
As a sophomore, Robinson was named Co-Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-South Region Second Team by Daktronics, Inc.
Robinson was the fifth in NSU women’s history to score 1,000 points. As if that wasn’t an accomplishment in itself, she has since moved to third on the list at 1,245 points and was ranked third on the team, all in her junior year.
I got the chance to sit down with Robinson to get to know her better.
Do you plan on continuing to play basketball after college?
“I would like to play basketball professionally overseas, maybe intern in the NBA, one day. More specifically, I would love to play in Barcelona or maybe even Italy, because of the food.”
What’s your favorite part of the game?
“I’m really passionate about the whole game, but just being able to get better and seeing the gradual improvements for myself and my team — that’s something I really like.”
How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I’m an aggressive player. I’m also very passionate and competitive. I play for the fun and enjoyment of the game, and I’m a team player. I like to win, and that goes with being competitive, too.”
What’s the longest you ever went without playing basketball?
“When I broke my leg, I was in a cast for 10 weeks, but as soon as they took away the crutches and gave me the boot, I started playing. So I would say a week, maybe.”
What has been your most memorable moment playing?
“It was probably cutting down the first net from one of the championships because it’s something I always dreamed about doing. It was a very special moment. I also remember when I got a ring for state championships, since I wasn’t able to get one in high school. Anything that is a result of working hard for the whole year is a memorable moment for me.”
Do you have any special rituals before the game?
“I take my nap, and I come in a little early to get mentally ready. I go to the training room and warm up, and then I say my prayers, and that’s how I get ready for the game.”
How do you deal with losing?
“Over the years, I’ve gotten better with it. I remember my first year at NSU was bad because I wasn’t used to losing, and being so competitive made it even harder for me at first. Now, I learned to use it as a motivational and learning tool. Instead of being so upset about it, I try to think about what I learned and how I can make myself and my team better. I think of losing as the toll that gets me closer to a higher level.”
How do you celebrate winning?
“I don’t know if I really celebrate it. I’m fine as long as I don’t lose. It’s all part of the journey. I learned to appreciate the wins more and take pictures to celebrate the moment with my teammates.
What aspect of basketball do you feel is missing in other sports?
“In basketball, you can start out by being the worst player and become the best player on the team. I don’t think that other sports have this. For instance, if you run track, you’ll get faster, but at some point there’s a limit; you won’t get any better. I feel like it’s something you can always get better at. There are pros who are still trying to perfect their game.”
Who’s your favorite basketball player?
As a male player, I like Dwayne Wade, and as a female, I’d say Becky Hammon.”
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
“I’m working on getting my passport now, so the first place I would want to go is Barcelona. I want to go to Italy too, but the first place I think I’m going to is the Bahamas, maybe on a cruise.”
If you had the choice to play another sport at NSU, what would it be?
“I would say softball, but I just like to do the chants. I would sit in the dugout and chant.”
If a movie were to be made about your life, who would you want to play your role?
“I would play myself; I’m a very different person, and no one can act like me.”
Did you have a coach who influenced you?
“I would say my second high school coach; he helped me a lot as I was transitioning from my first high school. He believed in me and gave me the courage. I got more confident during that time.”
What would you like to say the NSU community?
“The NSU women’s basketball team is very thankful for the support of the students here and the administrators. This year, I’ve seen the numbers grow. I don’t know if they know how important it is to us that they come and support us, but we appreciate it.”
Photo Credit: COURTESY OF J.FRAYSURE