It’s hard to believe that Michael Robinson wasn’t born with a basketball in his hands. The talented Huron guard/forward is one of the top players in the area playing on one of the top teams in the state, and watching him play it seems like the game comes so easily – so effortlessly – to him.
The River Rats, currently undefeated and the No. 1 ranked team in the state, is loaded with talent and have a number of scoring options on the floor at any given time. But Robinson has the ball in his hands quite a bit and if Huron needs to make something happen he’s one of the guys they want making something happen.
But growing up, basketball wasn’t even on his radar.
“No, I was a football player growing up,” Robinson says. “I really liked football and I didn’t even think much about basketball at that time. Huron didn’t have a very good football program at the time so around seventh or eighth grade I decided to start playing basketball.”
The first time he ever played on a basketball team was in the seventh grade at Clague Middle School.
“I was really bad at basketball when I first started,” Robinson says laughing. “At that time I would just go out there and try to play good defense. I couldn’t shoot the ball at all. I couldn’t even dribble very well. I was still learning the basics at that point.”
By the time eighth grade rolled around, Robinson was beginning to master the basics.
“Yeah, in eighth grade I could shoot a little and I started looking for my shot,” he says. “But by the time I was in ninth grade I was a pretty good shooter.”
It didn’t come over night and it didn’t come easily. Robinson made himself a good shooter by working at it and spending hours in the gym.
“I spent the entire summer up at the Rec Building at Eastern Michigan University playing basketball,” he says. “My stepfather works there so I would go there almost every day. I would shoot all day long and scrimmage with the older kids if they let me play.”
The hard work has certainly paid off. Robinson has been playing at a high level all season and has helped lead the River Rats to the highest level in Division 1.
“We are doing OK,” he says of the undefeated River Rats. “We didn’t play very well last week against Skyline but we will learn from that. We need to keep our intensity up and play hard.”
Robinson, who plays both shooting guard and small forward, stresses the importance of “not getting ahead of ourselves.” And not letting the No. 1 ranking impact how they work, practice and play.
“We know people want to knock us off because we are No. 1 in the state,” he says. “Coach keeps stressing that we need to work hard, don’t be cocky and trying to keep us grounded. Being No. 1 does give us a lot of confidence and I think it motivates us too.”
Depth is clearly one of Huron’s strengths.
“Every guy on the team can score at any point,” Robinson says. “We don’t really have any loose ends on our team. Everyone can play and contribute. It’s nice having so many guys who can score.”
For example, last week against Skyline, Devin Womack led the River Rats with 13 points. Robinson, Kingsley Perkins and Tyson Edmondson each scored 12 points in the win.
The game against a very good Skyline team was in front of a packed house at Huron. This Friday’s game against Pioneer will be another city-rivalry game before a big crowd at Huron. The Pioneers have won four in a row and are playing very well since a loss to Skyline a few weeks ago.
“It’s going to be packed and they are good but we will be ready for them,” Robinson says of Pioneer. “We’ve played against some really good teams and that is only going to help us later in the season. We are focused one game at a time and not looking ahead.”
When they do look ahead, they only have one goal.
“We want to win states,” Robinson says. “We just need to stay healthy, have a good mentality and work hard.”
Robinson, a Michigan State fan, wants to keep playing basketball for as long as he can. “I’ve been talking to some colleges and hopefully if we win states I will get some more interest,” he says. “But I definitely want to keep playing. It doesn’t really matter where.”