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The other week, I came across an online 60-second clip produced by ‘Ballislife.com’ that solely featured defensive plays made by a high school prospect, whose name I did not learn. I, along with others, deem this as a pretty rare occurrence; considering the majority of basketball mixtapes tend to showcase guys getting their buckets. Regardless, the ‘Ballislife.com’ video earned strong praise from many followers, including myself, in how they went about a different type of approach. We may start seeing more and more of these ‘defense highlight reels’ quite soon. Personally, I could see Kendrick Robinson’20 of Trinity Episcopal School (TES) (Richmond, VA) earning his own video for playing well on that side of the ball. He arrived as a new face for the Titans this past school year and emerged as one of the area’s best glue guys.

After spending his underclassmen years at Fredericksburg Christian High School (Fredericksburg, VA) as a varsity standout ever since entering the ninth grade, Robinson decided to make a step in hopefully preparing himself greater for college by choosing TES for his junior and senior campaigns. The move would obviously bring a significant change of scenery with it but the 6’4” guard found comfort in the 804 once classes began this past fall semester.

“Honestly, I like Richmond a lot,” Robinson simply stated. “This past year allowed me to meet many new people and build more friendships. There’s good opportunities around the area and great basketball competition.”

As I’ve stated in the past about other players who end up making new decisions, some difficulty and challenges in tackling adjustments almost always happens. This took place early on during the 2018-19 school year for Robinson. Having previously lived no more than 8-10 minutes from Fredericksburg Christian for the past two years, he had to learn how to cope with the new morning commute that took up to 1.5 hours at times. In addition, TES’ academics proved as another area that wasn’t necessarily easy to become acquainted with, initially.

“When the school year first started, I was still living in Fredericksburg, so it was a long, early trip every day. I found myself feeling a bit drowsy at first but got used to it after a while. The academics are a bit tougher at TES because they use a different grading scale compared to the one I went through at Fredericksburg Christian. That was something else I had to get used to but it all went along pretty well and I’ve kept my core GPA high.”

Becoming more acclimated to everything throughout the weeks, the winter basketball season finally came into play and Robinson worked hard to give TES a reliable spark as a frequent starter. The varsity team has held a reputation over the past years as one of Richmond’s top private school programs. While this past year had different injuries and some mid-season ups and downs take place, the Titans still ultimately finished with a final record of 20-11, while also securing their third consecutive Virginia Prep League tournament title; a feat Robinson declares as his one of his most recent favorite moments.

“I think it was a pretty good season, overall. We were a young team, only had two seniors. This year, however, we’ll have ten seniors. We didn’t go as far as we wanted to in the state playoffs and that’s one of the main goals on our minds coming into this year; winning another state championship for the school. It felt great to win that conference championship though…that was my first time winning one in high school.”

Not requiring much of a scoring role, Robinson earned attention for his production in various categories; mainly by showing stifling defense, using his high vertical leap to grab rebounds above the rim, and court vision for strong facilitating to open teammates. He’s a gifted athlete with all of the necessary physical tools and often puts them to use well. He operates best in the open floor and plays with an unselfish demeanor at all times. Defense arguably has and remains the asset that stands out the most in Robinson’s arsenal. He took it up to a greater notch as a junior, changing the course of many games by heavily neutralizing local opponents, and landed my personal choice as the 2018-19 Defensive MVP of Richmond. I made the statement back in my article of superlatives, ‘Phenom’s Picks: K-Rob’s 804 Edition’ (3/8/19), and also previously referred to that same notion when I placed the 2020 product on the first team of my 2019 804 All-Defense Team (3/7/19). In my own words: “(Robinson) made it feel like he held every opposing top player to well below his season average during the season. At times, he guarded up to all five positions on the floor. He has a solid wingspan, great lateral movement, IQ, and instincts that all make him a pure lock-down guy who can really frustrate the competition. In my opinion, I consider him the most valuable and versatile defender within the area.” The guard himself will acknowledge that he enjoys competing on defense some of the most whenever stepping on the hardwood.

“I would definitely say I take the most pride in my defense. I like the challenge of taking on the best player on the other team. I also know it’s important for teams to have guys who contain that type of desire.”

One of the more intriguing things to learn about Robinson pertains to the fact that he partook in a few of our Phenom Hoops exposure camps over the past year. We usually always bring in players from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, but it’s not all that common to see a number Virginia hoopers in attendance; mainly due to location. (That being said, Virginia players should know they can register for our upcoming ‘Virginia Phenom 150’ camp on September 28, 2019. More information can be found on our website: www.phenomhoopreport.com). Anyways, dating back to last October, Robinson’s shown up for camps of our 2018 Tennessee Phenom 150, 2018 North Carolina Phenom 150, and, more recently, the 2019 Phenom All-American Camp (7/20/19 – 7/21/19). At the latter, our team’s Director of Player Analysis, Jeff Bendel had this to say about the rising senior:

“A player that made an incredibly lasting impression with his motor and athleticism: Kendrick Robinson. He’s a strong-bodied wing prospect that has the ability to physically impose his will on every possession. Robinson attacks the basket well and is capable of finishing well above the rim, regardless of contact or defensive pressure. He moves pretty well without the ball to secure scoring opportunities as a cutter. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a perimeter jumper, as it would complement his penetration sense nicely. Robinson was one of the most impactful two-way players on his camp team and should have a strong upcoming season for Trinity Episcopal.”

A fan of our organization’s events, Robinson admits that the camps all contain a same unique approach in valuing basketball competition that’s ‘played the right way,’ as it’s easy for common exposure events to become hours filled of ‘point-hunting.’

“The Phenom camps are probably my favorite basketball camps to attend due to the structure. I like how we start off with drills to loosen up but I REALLY like the ‘three-dribble rule’ that happens once games start. That way, nobody can just dribble the air out of the ball; everyone has to be pretty unselfish, really. I think it shows both weaknesses and strengths. For me, I can thrive in that atmosphere because I’m a team player. I like to get my teammates involved, defend, and can show my scoring ability as well. I feel like I’ve had good success in those camps.”

“Those camps have really shown me how you don’t need many dribbles to be successful in a game situation. I’ve learned to move without the ball much better as a result. That’s helped me a lot, as a player.”

Satisfying to hear those words of praise spoken. It always feels good when a camper realizes the benefits of our camps’ ‘team play first’ mentality. I’m certain Phenom Hoops’ head honcho Rick Lewis will crack a smile if he comes across Robinson’s appreciation of the classic ‘three-dribble rule.’

Off of the court, those should know that Robinson also spends his spring seasons participating as a track-and-field athlete. He first jumped into the sport back during his middle school days and joined the TES team not long after the he hung up his basketball jersey for the year. As a sophomore at Fredericksburg Christian, Robinson was part of a 4×400 team that won the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division II state championship.

“Mainly, I run the 400, 200, and 100 events, while also competing in the high jump. I plan to do the long jump and triple jump this year too. This past track season at Trinity was pretty rough because we started late and I could only go to three meets due to my travel basketball schedule. Next year, I’ll have more time on my hands and am looking forward to work hard for another state championship, along with success in some individual events.”

Sounds like Robinson has pretty big plans of ending out his high school career with a bang. He’s picked up interest from all NCAA levels for basketball. Schools have also reached out about track. Possibly playing both sports in college seems to serve his interest at the moment. With a strong focus and finding greater comfort in his role on the court this upcoming winter, I have confidence that we’ll see the guard once again show his tenacious defense and produce more exciting plays for TES. The roster has a lot of experience returning back to the mix, which brings a cause for optimism.

You know I’ve got to ask it: where does Kendrick Robinson see himself in ten years?

“I see myself either still playing basketball somewhere or working in the film industry; living on the side of Hollywood.”

Hmm…perhaps we might see Robinson producing a basketball film someday? Keep working.