Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson
(Provided/ UCO Athletics).
Back in 1999 the top song was Cher’s ‘Believe’, the Oscar Best Picture was Shakespeare in Love, and the UCO Men’s basketball team was led by star player Eddie Robinson.
“It was great and I loved it,” said Eddie Robinson, reflecting on his time at UCO.
He is now playing professional basketball in the first annual season of the Big3 league for the Killer 3’s.
“I love it and the Big3. I think its going to be around for a while,” said Robinson.
Robinson grew up in Flint, Michigan. Here, he struggled finding a sense of normalcy moving from house to house, except for the local basketball courts that became home.
In the tenth grade, Robinson dropped out of Flint’s Northern High. He concentrated on basketball throughout the day, playing pickup basketball every day, which led him to playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball with the Flint J’s.
“You knew he was going to end up in the NBA,” said AAU teammate and former NBA player, Morris Peterson, to Sports Illustrated.
With Robinson’s future looking bright, he decided to take the next step to get his GED and go to play for Junior College’s Trinity Valley CC and Brown Mackie. After his two seasons, he decided to declare for the NBA draft, which he went undrafted.
Since he did not sign an agent for the draft it allowed him to go back to college, where he then went to UCO. In his junior season, he averaged 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Robinson’s role on the Broncho’s team can be described as a point-center, where he brought up the ball most times.
“He is 6’9, ran like a deer and could jump out of the Gym,” said Mike Kirk.
“I think I was the tallest guy on the team,” said Robinson
The 1997-1998 season for the Bronchos has been argued as the schools most successful season in history. They went 25-7, winning the Southland conference and finishing in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Robinson’s senior year was the stuff of legends with it being regarded as one of the top seasons of all-time. He averaged 28 points per game, which led NCAA Division II. Robinson scored over 40 points in four different games that season. With him breaking the school record for most points in a game with 52-points against Southwestern Oklahoma State.
He might have scored the most points against SWOSU, but many believe that his best game was versus NCAA Division 1 Texas Christian University. The Bronchos lost the game but being led by Robinson were up going into half.
Mike Kirk described Robinson as the best player on the floor. That includes former NBA player Lee Nailon, who averaged 22.8 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Mike Kirk described a game where Robinson stole the ball from the half-court then on the fast break, alley-ooped it to himself and threw down a dunk.
Robinson finished his career at UCO as the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division II history.
After UCO, Robinson signed a two-year contract with the Charlotte Hornets. He was one of the bright spots coming off of the Hornets bench averaging 7.2 points.
When Robinson became a free agent in the 2001 off-season, he signed with the Bulls on a 5-year 32-million dollar contract. His stint became short on the Bulls though with the team buying out the last two years of his contract.
After the NBA, Robinson still played professional basketball with one year in the D-league for the Idaho Stampede and then one year in 2012 for Halifax Rainmen in Canada’s NBL.
With Robinson being out of the game for five years a new opportunity arose with Ice Cube’s newly formed Big3 league.
“We obviously had a combine for the draft, I think that was key for me to have a great performance and show I can still do what I can do,” said Robinson.