From Chicago to Austin, senior basketball player reflects on college experience, obstacles faced


SEU Athletics Communications

Senior forward Justin Robinson drives to the paint during a 125-66 victory over Dallas Christian College in 2018. Robinson was a contributing factor in the Hilltoppers winning the 2018-2019 Heartland Conference Championship.

Traveling over 1,000 miles, leaving a close-knit family and supportive friends behind and embarking on a new journey can be a frightening situation for any student. On top of creating a new path in an unfamiliar place, senior SEU men’s basketball forward Justin Robinson had to overcome obstacles that student-athletes face frequently when competing in a sport they love.

Transitioning from the West Side of Chicago to Austin, Robinson took a couple of months to find a comfortable adjustment. Using his free time to find his own rhythm helped him in his first year on the Hilltop.

“It was a little rough at first trying to adjust to the new environment. As the years went on, I became more comfortable and developed a sort of rhythm going about my days,” Robinson says. “Being a kid from Chicago and growing up in that atmosphere, coming to Austin was sort of a culture shock for me.”

Robinson found himself on the Hilltop for several reasons: the good weather, connections with alumni, the atmosphere of the city and most importantly, the men’s basketball program.

Robinson has been a part of the team for four years now. As his senior night approaches, he reflects on his goals for the nationally ranked men’s basketball team.

“I want us to constantly get better, consistently push each other in practice and be the best we can in the conference,” Robinson says. “We want a conference championship to set the tone, and the ultimate goal that we’ve been talking about since day one is grabbing a national championship.”

Shortly before the men’s program made their appearance in the 2019 NCAA tournament, Robinson’s junior season was cut short as he tore his ACL during practice.

Despite the hardships of such a traumatic injury, Robinson found strength from the support he received from family and friends.

“My family supported me through it all like they’ve always had. They pushed me past my limits, as well as friends and teachers back home. Everyone was rooting for me to get back on my feet,” Robinson says. “My biggest motivation was the game of basketball; my love for it helped me push through, and it was an escape for me, a symbol of hope.”

Head Coach Andre Cook has watched Justin grow and develop as an individual over the past four years. To say he is proud of Robinson is an understatement.

“Watching him grow as a person has been a beautiful thing. I’m so proud of him because he’s going through a lot of things in his young life. For many people, that could have sidetracked them, but it made him stronger, his basketball stats don’t define him. He’s a great young man and he’s going to make all of us proud,” Cook says.

Robinson is just a few short months away from being a college graduate. He plans to continue pursuing his love for sports, finding interest in broadcasting and eventually working his way up to ESPN.

“I’ll never work a day in my life if I continue to do what I love.”