USU Leading Ladies: Antoina Robinson
Antoina Robinson -- one of two seniors from the Utah State women’s basketball team -- has made leadership, passion and encouragement a part of her life in college.
Growing up in a family of athletes, Robinson always wanted to become a college athlete, but up until she was in middle school she thought track would be the sport to take her there.
Thanks to the influence of her older brother and his high school basketball career, she decided to start playing basketball and found success on a team in her hometown she said she was fortunate to be a part of.
But it wasn’t always easy for Robinson to find the playing time she wanted. It was times like these that led her to find strength in her mother’s advice. Advice that she later would realize made her into the leader she is today.
“My mom would tell me ‘You can’t dwell in the past.’ She still tells me that to this day, Robison said of her mother. “She would say ‘You have to keep your faith and everything will work out.’”
It wasn’t only her mother’s words but her sacrifice and hard work, along with that of her brother and father that motivated Robinson to persevere through struggles in high school and past that.
“My brother had a job, he was playing sports and he was in high school and he helped us around when my mom had to work,” Robinson said. “To me, they’re the toughest people I know. I’ve never had a job in my life, I just played sports and they did whatever they could to get me to practice, to help me with homework, staying up long nights. I love them so much for their support.”
When she saw difficulties into her college basketball career, Robinson held to the advice of her mother and made it a goal to be an encouraging leader wherever she was.
“My mom always told me not to be a follower, I know I have to learn some things along the way, but I always have wanted to be a great leader,” she said. “I’m a little aggressive, I feel like I’m maybe too aggressive sometimes but I’m passionate about what I do, no matter what I’m doing. I try to bring that to everything I do, that’s helped me out in being a leader.”
Robinson attended three different colleges in her first three years after high school, while working on development as an athlete and a leader. Ending up in Logan was not only a change of scenery for the Texas native, but also a change of perspective.
As one of four African American teammates, only 254 African American students at USU and a member of one of the least attended teams at the university, Robinson has dealt with being a minority in a variety of ways.
“I could have moved back to Texas and stuck with the same old, all-black school and that, but being here has helped me grow as a person -- especially as a minority here,” she said. “I loved the change of scenery, and being a minority. It was hard at first, but I have people here that supported me, and mentally I had to stay tough.”
This year, as one of only two upperclassmen on a sophomore and freshman-dominated team, Robinson has grown as a leader striving to help her younger teammates and other student organizations and teams around campus.
“Being with women’s basketball, I know we don’t get as much support as men’s sports and stuff like that,” she said. “So I think it’s important -- especially for women’s teams -- to just show support and let your fellow student-athletes know you’re there for them. I know I want support from my fellow student-athletes on campus and my classmates, so if I don’t do it I can’t expect them to do it. I think that’s very important.”
Going into the last two weeks of her college basketball career, Robinson lives by a motto of encouragement that she will take with her past these last games.
“Sometimes it’s hard to be positive because some things happen in life,” she said. “But I try to bring my teammates up because it’s not about me, it’s about the people around me.”
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