Leaving sunny skies, picturesque beaches and scantily clad sun-bathers is no easy task — especially when the destination is a pseudo-city in upstate New York that is remarkable only for a Chili cook-off and a Farmer’s Market. Yet for USC transfer sophomore Collin Robinson, the decision to come to Ithaca was just another step on the path to achieving his childhood dream of playing professional basketball.
“I’ve wanted to play professionally since I was three years old,” Robinson said. “Even though Cornell doesn’t get as much coverage as the bigger programs, I’ve always believed that if you are good enough people will find out.”
Unfortunately for Robinson, he had little chance to display his talents last season as the former Trojan saw action in only nine games and played only 35 minutes during his freshman campaign. While Robinson’s life in the Pac-10 lacked the luster of fellow Trojans Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush, the California native decided to change the direction of his athletic career.
“In the big conferences, they put more emphasis on your reputation than the amount of work you put in or what kind of tenacity you approach the game with,” Robinson said. “I wanted to come to a place where I could maximize my options athletically and academically.”
In making the decision to transfer, Robinson looked no further than Cornell — a school that had been actively recruiting the 6-0 guard since his days at Diamond Bar High School. In fact, Robinson admits that Cornell head coach Steve Donahue was the main reason he decided to join the Red.
[img_assist|nid=19689|title=Heres to you|desc=Sophomore transfer Collin Robinson (left) guards freshman Louis Dale (12) during the White team’s 61-50 win over the Red in the basketball team’s annual Red-White scrimmage on November 4.|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=77]
“Donahue was different from the rest of the coaches,” Robinson said. “He didn’t waver at all and was the same person every time I talked to him. That really stuck in my mind.”
Now that Robinson has arrived on the East Hill, he will have to wait another season to don the carnelian and white due to his status as a transfer. Yet, the athletic shooting guard’s presence has still been felt in Newman Arena as Robinson has been ratcheting up the level of competition during the Red’s practices.
“[Practices] are my games this year so I am going to be going extra hard,” Robinson said. “I think I can make [my teammates] better by pushing them when they have nothing left in their tanks because of a tough game or a long road trip.”
This past Saturday, Robinson gave Cornell fans a taste of what is in store for his remaining three years with the Red as the sophomore’s 14 points helped lead the White squad to a 61-50 victory in the annual Red-White scrimmage. Robinson’s ability to contribute to the program was not lost on Donahue.
“He has a pedigree of scoring the basketball that is hard to coach,” Donahue said. “He understands how to get his shots, shares the ball and does all the things you want a guard to do.”
Even when the Red will be away from the friendly confines of Newman Arena, Robinson’s presence will still be felt as he will be doing play-by-play commentary for the women’s basketball games. For Robinson, it was a chance to not only begin putting his communication major to use, but also maintain an active role in Cornell athletics.
“It is a great opportunity to stay involved in Cornell basketball and also help out [the women’s team] at the same time.” Robinson said.