While all the attention was on TCU Basketball’s Big Dance invite, at least one player was focused on the big picture. Point guard Alex Robinson, whose mom played for the Horned Frogs at the same time as Jamie Dixon, and who himself is a Fort Worth native (Timberview High School), spoke about what the rise of the hoops program at Fort Worth’s University means for the community as a whole.
Robinson, who came back home to play for the Frogs after beginning his career at Texas A&M, remembers what it was like growing up in this city, before TCU was considered a basketball destination.
“It’s crazy, because when I was growing up, nobody thought of TCU. Football, yeah, a little bit... but basketball? Nobody thought of coming here from Fort Worth.” Knowing the amount of talented collegiate and NBA-caliber players come from the DFW area, it always struck him as odd that more hoopers didn’t want to play at TCU, and that the program struggled so mightily for so long.
“I never understood why weren’t that good. We are in the city, there have been a lot of NBA guys that came out of the city, a lot of really good college basketball players that came out of the city, the DFW area.... it didn’t make sense to me. When (the new coaching staff) came, especially with all the renovations and everything, it all just came together, and we are seeing it now.”
The top talents born in DFW rarely stayed, meaning guys like LaMarcus Aldridge (Seagoville HS/University of Texas), Chris Bosh (Lincoln HS/Georgia Tech University), and Willie Warren (North Crowley HS/Oklahoma) left to go on to schools with bigger and better basketball reputations before making their way to the NBA.
But for Alex, it isn’t just about seeing TCU Basketball thrive, it’s what having a successful program in his hometown means on a much larger scale.
“You see kids growing up, especially in the impoverished areas, we give them hope now. We them a destination to reach. Whether it’s sports or academics it really doesn’t matter. We’re giving kids opportunities, we’re a school in this area. Really, there are a lot of impoverished kids in this area, and we are giving them somewhere to look up to.”
It’s pretty amazing for a 22 year old young man to have such wisdom and perspective, and to be able to see past the excitement of what is one of the biggest moments of his basketball career. But, Alex gets it, and realizes he, and TCU, have a platform to make a real, tangible, difference in their community.
“Now, we’re good, and we are always on TV and in the Big 12... you see kids growing up, especially in the impoverished areas, we give them hope now.”
And while Robinson sees the big picture and is looking to give local kids a way out, he still understands what it means directly for his school to have a chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament, and all the eyeballs that come with it. Robinson came home to bring TCU back, and for him, it means a little more. “I was really proud, my mom went to school here, it’s where I grew up.
But it isn’t just about what happens this weekend, and hopefully beyond, for Alex and TCU. It’s about the legacy they are building for the future.
“Especially transferring in, and wanting to turn this program around. I lot of these dudes, we had this family, brotherly love. We were all on the same page, we could all get on to each other, and we all had one goal. And Dixon really helped us bring it all together. We are in the perfect spot. It’s great, being here, we have so much talent, Coach Dixon and them kind of get to choose. I’m excited, when I’m coming up as an alumni, to see how far we have come. Because now, they see Fort Worth and this area, we kind of get the sleepers. And we are fine with that, because we are going dancing.