BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
With a minute left in the MHSAA Boys Basketball Class A State Championship game, junior CJ Robinson looked at the clock and the score, quickly doing the math in his head.
“I felt we had a good chance of winning,” he said, adding when he made two free throw shots putting the score 71-60 he knew the Wolves had the win over Grand Rapids Christian.
“It was really good,” Robinson added about the rest of the weekend as the boys celebrated bringing the first state championship home in basketball with a 75-69 win over the Eagles.
“I wanted to do what we needed to do to win to get Coach (Dan) Fife the state championship – that was the goal,” he reflected. “I wanted to do my best to contribute.”
The Wolves finished the season with and overall 27-1 record.
“It was a good season,” Robinson said. “We had a lot of ups and downs. We didn’t play to our full potential and we knew that. We pulled it together as a team. Going into the playoffs, I felt like we were very serious and wanted to accomplish a goal everybody wanted.”
He added one of the competitors which helped him prepare for the playoffs was Macomb Dakota – the team Clarkston lost to last season in the regional playoffs.
“We knew after our district finals they would be waiting for us in the regionals,” Robinson said. “It was our main goal going into playoffs to get revenge on them for beating us the year before. They helped us really focus in. We knew if we got past them we could beat anybody in the state.”
Robinson began playing basketball 13 years ago and it started to get him out of the house and interacting with other kids.
“I really started to enjoy it so I continued to do it,” he said, adding the sport was perfect for him. “I think it was the constant movement because I was a really hyper kid.”
He added winning games and helping to contribute to his team’s success were also big factors to him.
He joined Clarkston’s varsity team during his sophomore year as a starter, making huge contributions on offense and defense.
“CJ is a role player in our system,” said Fife after the Wolves’ win against Saginaw in the quarterfinals. “He’s an outstanding role player because he can score. He can make plays.”
Robinson is going into his fifth year playing for the North Oakland Wolfpack
“It helps me by building my confidence because you not only get to see kids in your state, but you get to see kids from other states,” he said, adding he can see how his skillset matches against the competition.
He hopes to continue playing basketball in college.
He currently has a grade point average of 3.3 and is taking Advanced Placement Psychology, Ecology, Algebra 11, Modern Media and Language Arts during his second semester.
He enjoys hanging out with his friends and going to movies when he isn’t playing basketball or studying.
His advice to aspiring athletes is to be the best you can be.
“If you put the time in to whatever you do, you will see the reward,” he said. “Give it time, continue working hard and success will come as time passes.”