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January 6, 2012
Making Mr. Robinson proud
SAN ANTONIO - David Robinson thinks this is fun.
The former San Antonio Spurs star and NBA Hall of Famer sat on a folding table with his overly long legs dangling off, and in-between taking pictures and shaking hands Robinson followed his son, Corey Robinson, around the Alamodome at Friday's U.S. Army National Combine.
Robinson's son is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver from San Antonio Christian, and even though he's admittedly raw, the potential is evident.
Keeping things in perspective when one's father is wearing a glimmering diamond ring from one of his NBA championships could be difficult. Robinson is so affable, though, that it comes easy to him and his family.
Between the two Robinsons, there is seemingly no ego.
"Expectations always put things out of perspective," David Robinson said. "I told him you can only do what you can do. Academics are really No. 1 and that's where I try to keep his focus. He's fifth or sixth in his class and I've always told him even if you get a football scholarship he has to prepare himself for the long term."
Sports were not a lifelong focus of Corey Robinson, whom his father called a "Renaissance kid", and so football has only become serious in the last few years. He started playing as a freshman because his older brother did and over time Robinson started falling in love with it.
San Antonio Christian runs the ball often so Robinson did not put up big statistics this past season, but he had impressive moments at the combine and proved he could get Division I offers.
"The first thing I can say about Corey as a player is he's raw," said San Antonio Christian offensive coordinator and receivers coach Brandon Parrott, who played at Kansas. "The kid has been playing for two years and he just figured out this season that he could be pretty good.
"He gets bigger by the day, he has an unbelievable set of hands so if you just put the ball close to him he goes and gets it. Day by day he's learning how great of a player he can be."
So new to football, Robinson was working on his 40-yard dash stance just days ago. Things like getting off the line and pumping his arms properly were in focus. When he was told, jokingly, that he was timed at 6.2 seconds on his first attempt, Robinson showed surprise and disappointment.
His time was much faster.
"I was surprised because some of these kids are way faster than me and they got 4.6s and 4.7s and I was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Robinson said. "I almost believed it for a second. I was like, 'Oh dude.'
"It's such a learning experience. I know I can get better and I'm learning so much all the time. There are so many great coaches here and they're all helping me out."
Prior to his freshman season, Robinson dabbled in sports. None were taken too seriously. Football, tennis and, not surprisingly, basketball were all toyed with but now the San Antonio Christian recruit is focused about becoming a standout football player. He's intent on making his own name.
Robinson is putting in the work, making lots of progress according to his coaches and through it all, having fun. With his dad smiling on the sidelines, talking with youth players, taking pictures, shaking hands and even chatting with Army chief of staff Ray Odierno, it was a full day for both Robinsons.
Nothing was too big or unimportant. Nothing seemed a bother. Even though the Robinson family has been to the heights of the NBA, soaking in a high school football combine seemed just as exciting.
"If you could play Division I college football, that's the top of the world," David Robinson said. "I told him to just take it one step at a time, you get to play high school football now, that's a lot of fun and if you get the chance to play college football that's incredible so I just try to temper his expectations.
"Playing in the NFL is a pie-in-the-sky dream. I could have never guessed I would have gotten to the NBA, needless to say Hall of Fame and all that stuff. I just try to keep it real with him and he has a great mentality. I'm biased I guess because I'm his dad but he's like the best kid in the world."
Recruiting has been slow for Robinson but that's not dissimilar to his father, who played at Navy but was overlooked by bigger programs even through his senior season.
"In my senior year we had some college coaches come to my senior year basketball games and they were looking at somebody else," David Robinson said.
The more exposure and the more work Robinson puts in, colleges could definitely start showing interest. He thinks being 6 feet 6 - if not taller - is not out of the question, especially since his dad was 6-4 in his senior season of high school before growing to over 7-feet.
"I have the genes and I have the athleticism, I just have to tap it," Corey Robinson said. "It just takes time."
According to his position coach, Robinson is dedicated and will put in the work to be successful. According to David Robinson, seeing his son compete in the Alamadome is just tops.
"It's fun for me to watch him because he's getting his own space," he said. "He's not only David's kid. He's doing his own thing."
And doing it well.