Robinson made right call with Holy Family

Scoring sensation: Patrick Robinson is averaging nearly 19 points a game this year as a freshman. Source: Stephen Pellegrino Photography

Patrick Robinson was all set to go to prep school. Then he got a call that turned out to be perfect for him and just as good for Holy Family University.

Robinson, who graduated from Conwell-Egan High School in June, got a call from Tigers men’s basketball coach R.C. Kehoe, asking him if he wanted to come to Holy Family.

It didn’t take long for Robinson to get back to the coach.

“I slept on it, but I knew right away that I was going to go here,” said Robinson, who was one of the top players in the Catholic League last season. “It was a great fit for me. I knew a lot of guys going here, and I wanted to go here. But I slept on it before answering it.”

When Robinson woke up, the Tigers had their man, and ever since he enrolled, he’s been one of the top players at the school.

This year, Robinson has been named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Week six times thus far. He earned those awards on the strength of averaging more than 18 points per game and shooting better than 55 percent from the field.

He credits a strong team around him, as well as a good coaching staff and coming from one of the best leagues in the country during his high school days as reasons for his early success in college.

“We do have a good team, but we’re also playing well because (Kehoe) puts us in the right position and has us ready for everything,” Robinson said. “We do have good players, though. It’s a good team.

“I think I’m playing well because I have a lot of help. But it does help to play in the Catholic League. College basketball is a lot different, it’s faster, the speed is much better, but when you play in the Catholic League, you see great players every day. It definitely prepares you for playing in college, but it’s still a lot faster.”

Robinson also credits being comfortable at the school for a reason for his success.

While he is new to Holy Family this year, he has plenty of experience playing with guys on his team.

Starting big man Vincenzo Dalessandro, a junior, also went to Conwell-Egan. Eric Esposito graduated from the high school with Robinson. And Dymir Montague, a graduate of Neumann-Goretti, played basketball with Robinson on the AAU circuit.

Most of the Holy Family roster comes from the area, so Robinson at least knew a lot of the other players on the team. For him, familiarity has helped.

“Knowing the guys definitely helped, not just in basketball but in school,” said Robinson, who lives in Chesterfield, New Jersey. “It’s good to play with friends. I’m usually on the court with Vincenzo at the start, and Eric always comes in. And I played with Dymir before, too, so we had that chemistry. That helps.”

Robinson is definitely a big part of the Tigers’ turnaround.

Last year, the team finished 4-23, 3-16 in the CACC. This year, the Tigers finished the regular season 14-12 overall, 11-9 in conference play.

The Tigers are the third seed in the CACC South Division. They met Dominican College on Tuesday in a CACC quarterfinal game in Orangeburg, New York. The game was played after the Times went to press.

“We knew we were going to be better because we had great players and a great plan,” Robinson said. “We are still a young team, but we’re getting better. Every game, we’re working hard to play better as a team.”

Robinson is finding as much success in the classroom as he is on the court.

The sports management major is hoping his basketball career continues after he graduates from Holy Family.

“I want to be in sports broadcasting,” Robinson said. “I would want to do basketball. I love basketball. I would like to stay in the sport forever.”

He also hopes the Tigers make their run this year last a little while. But no matter how the year ends up, he’s still happy he took that call from Kehoe last year.

“It was perfect,” Robinson said. “Everything worked out with it. I love the school and I love playing for the team.”

He’s also happy it could be the beginning of something special.

The Tigers lose Mekhi Bryant, Manny Casie and Jalen Thompson to graduation, but the bulk of the team returns. And that means there should be an excitement next year, just like there was this year.

“The school has been very supportive,” Robinson said. “We would get a big crowd during the week, but even on weekends we would get a lot of people.

“My family came to a lot of the games. All of them, I think. That’s another reason it’s good I came here. It’s close enough that they can come see me play.” ••