What sweet tea and football mean to the South, that’s what basketball means to the Midwest.
At least that’s how Raemond Robinson remembers it. The Citadel’s freshman guard honed his basketball skills while growing up in Madison, Wis., before his family moved to Goose Creek.
“It’s different up there,” said Robinson, who helped Goose Creek High School win state titles in football and basketball. “The focus is mainly on basketball, and down here it’s on football.
“It’s like how you drink sweet tea down here and hot tea up there, it’s a different environment. There are more courts up there, more country down here.”
The 6-3, 190-pound Robinson has played only one game for the Bulldogs’ basketball team — he broke a bone in his foot during preseason practice, missing the first 11 games — but his Midwestern roots shine through, coach Chuck Driesell said.
“We saw that even before he got here, when we were recruiting him,” said Driesell, whose Bulldogs take on visiting Chattanooga tonight. “He’s got a feel for the game, knows how to pass the ball and sees things before they start to develop.
“He came from a background where they do a lot of passing and cutting and swinging the ball. He’s got a feel for the motion offense and for spacing that a lot of Midwest kids are known for.”
Robinson injured his foot in preseason practice after he stole the ball from another Wisconsin product, freshman Matt Van Scyoc. Something snapped in his left foot when he planted to go to the basket for a layup.
“In four years of football at Goose Creek, the worst I ever got was a stinger,” he said.
How much the Bulldogs missed him in the first 11 games became apparent when he made his debut against Western Carolina last week. After only a couple of practices, Robinson played 18 minutes and hit both of his 3-point shots for six points, with two rebounds, an assist and two turnovers. Both turnovers were on passes that could have been handled for baskets.
A standout linebacker at Goose Creek, Robinson said his first love was football, but he had to choose a sport before he could choose a college.
He had football offers from Newberry and Charleston Southern, with some interest from Clemson. In basketball, he also considered Wofford, S.C. State, Mercer, Presbyterian and Georgia State.
“My dad said I was soft when I chose basketball,” he said. “But those guys are so big in football, 6-6 with a 4.4 40. I felt in football I had just basic speed and size, and in basketball you need more skills. I felt like if I couldn’t play high-major football, I didn’t want to play football at all.”
Football’s loss is The Citadel’s gain.
“I like guys who played football,” Driesell said. “Rae was very talented in football, and he brings that physicality to his game. He doesn’t mind contact and sticking his nose in there. He’s got a certain confidence that I think comes from football.”