Basketball has permeated Drew Robinson’s life.
“I remember seeing a picture of me in the paper holding a basketball when I was one,” he said.
Before Drew was born, his dad was the basketball coach at the local high school in Nephi, Utah. So, it was only natural that Drew still remembers his first basketball hoop—it was a plastic, blue Fischer Price.
Before Drew joined the Seawolves, he went to Southern Utah and then decided to take a year off from school to go to the Philippines as a part of a Latter Day Saints mission. “It was amazing—a great country, with great people. You can’t read about things like that in books. It’s definitely an eye-opener.” Drew spent two years in the Philippines teaching kids and adults about religion and is now fluent in the language.
Following his time in the Philippines, Drew was ready to go back to school. He attended Salt Lake Community College and helped make them to the NJCAA Division I runner-up in 2007-08, and win the national title 2008-09.
After finishing at the two-year school, Drew decided to move on to a larger college.
“I was intrigued by Alaska and knew they had a good basketball program. I flew up here and met some of the guys. We clicked. It seemed like the right choice.”
Going to college and being a UAA basketball player isn’t the easiest task. “It’s tough. We fly to every game we play. This semester has been really hard. I think a lot of people don’t understand how much time and dedication it takes. A lot of people have said, ‘Oh you’re a basketball player, you have it easy,’” he laughs, “They have no idea.”
His day begins at 7 a.m. lifting weights with the team for an hour, then mandatory study hall for two hours, a break for lunch, then workout for another two hours. “The weekdays are tough. I have weights in the morning, class, practice, class again, then study hall. I have to be in the weight room at 7 a.m. and don’t get home until 7 at night. Those are the long days.”
But it’s the love of the game that keeps Drew going. He admits he has his bad days, “I try to forget those things. The important thing is if we won or not. If I had the worst game I’ve ever played and we won, I won’t complain. Help the team win. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
Drew had more than just one bad game this year—he was out 12 games this season due to a stress fracture in his foot. “It’s an overwork-type of injury. I was out for two months. That was a struggle for me and the team.”
Although the Seawolves didn’t fare as well in the season as they would have liked, Drew says beating Seattle Pacific University was one of the highlights. “We beat Seattle Pacific in our last game of the season and they were ranked ninth in the U.S. That was a pretty good moment for us.”
But for Drew, basketball is about much more than winning or losing. “From the game I’ve learned no one can put limitations on you. You are the only one that can do that. I’m not the fastest or the strongest player, but no one can say my basketball career was less great than someone else because I have worked so hard and practiced and taken in everything the coaches have said.”
Controlling the game is one of the key aspects that keeps Drew loving the game. “Being able to control the game, much like a conductor of an orchestra, you feel the energy flow and everything follows. You are in the groove so when you pass the ball, someone is going to be there. Every shot you take, you know it’s going in. It just feels like the game is effortless.”
Drew is currently a junior history major. He would like to one day to coach basketball and teach U.S. history. “I’ve always loved history. I thought for a long time I wanted to be a doctor, but then realized after taking many science classes that it wasn’t for me. I want to feel validated about what I do for a living and that I could help somebody, and do something that has merit. It’s important to be happy and not just do it for the money, and [do] something that I love and I love basketball and teaching. It just makes sense.”