FORT WORTH — While some of the top football recruits in the country are already on campus getting an early start to their college careers, A'Shawn Robinson from Arlington Heights is playing basketball, and he's doing it at a high level for one of the best teams in the state.
"It's kind of hard for me, being here still and everyone else being ahead of me out there," said Robinson, a defensive lineman on the football team. "But I mean, I wanted to enjoy high school, and I wanted to play basketball because I'll never get to play basketball again."
Robinson was a five-star recruit who signed to play at Alabama next year, after de-committing from the University of Texas. And that's where he will be this weekend for the state basketball tournament.
"I feel that it's going to be some people that's not going to like that, but hey — they got to get over it," Robinson said.
Robinson is 6'-5" and 300 pounds — huge by any standard — and especially on a basketball court. He's one of the big reasons why Heights is going to State, despite only a third-place finish in District.
"We're getting no credit, we're nowhere in the rankings," said Damontre McFarland, a senior post. "So it's just like, OK, keep putting us as underdogs and we'll keep proving you wrong."
A season that will end in Austin began with a 45-point loss to North Crowley.
In their first game of the playoffs — when the good teams blow out their over-matched opponents — Heights survived a one-point contest against Everman.
Their head coach Jon Wagner was hired just before the basketball season began. There was no reason to believe this team was capable of this.
"The first time I met with them — because I started the job three weeks before the season began — the first day I met with them they said they wanted to go back to State," Wagner said. "It was their senior year; they did it as sophomores. These guys knew what it took to be successful, they improved every day."
The Yellow Jackets may be underestimated at the state tournament, but they won't be undersized. Not with the 300-pound Robinson.