‘I’m ready for this opportunity’: New BYU guard Jaxson Robinson looking forward to show what he can do
The past two seasons, Robinson played sparingly at two Southeastern Conference programs, Texas A&M and Arkansas, where his chances to get on the floor were limited.
During his time at Ada High School in Oklahoma, Jaxson Robinson was a four-star prospect and a top 50 recruit of the class of 2021.
As a junior, Robinson reclassified to the 2020 signing class, and over the next two years, he played sparingly at two Southeastern Conference programs, Texas A&M and Arkansas, where his chances to get on the floor were limited.
In the weeks after last season concluded, he entered the transfer portal and in June, the 6-foot-6 guard signed with BYU and coach Mark Pope.
Robinson, 19, is looking forward to this fresh start in Provo and he’s hungry to fulfill his potential.
“I mean, I’ve been waiting for two years. I’m ready for this opportunity that coach Pope has presented to me and has explained to me how he wants to use me this year. I’m just ready to step in and play the role,” he said.
“Coming out of high school, I didn’t know how it would all work. But after that first year of COVID, I got my year back,” Robinson added. “So I got a year of experience kind of for free. That definitely helped, getting that head start over other kids. Two years of experience have helped me a lot. I’m ready to use it on the floor and show everybody what I can do.”
Part of what he provides the Cougars is the time he spent in the SEC.
“Being at two high-level programs, just kind of taking the SEC experience and trying to bring it here,” Robinson said. “Just playing those high-level dudes, the athletes, all of that, I think it’s definitely going to help me when we get into the (West Coast Conference). That will be a big thing. Then just trying to help my teammates also; everything that I’ve learned the past two years … is the biggest thing.”
As a freshman, Robinson played in 14 of Texas A&M’s 18 games during the pandemic in 2020-21, averaging 2.1 points per game for the Aggies. He transferred to Arkansas, where he appeared in 16 games with four starts. He averaged 10.2 minutes and 3.4 points per game. With the Razorbacks, he shot 32.6% from 3-point range and he scored a career-high 14 points in a victory over Elon. Robinson hit three of four 3-pointers in that game. Against Mississippi State, he scored six points and pulled down seven rebounds.
After the season, he entered the transfer portal and ultimately chose BYU.
“I would just say that when I came on my visit, it felt family-oriented,” Robinson said of his recruiting visit to Provo. “All my coaches and teammates are great people. Coach Pope always wants to have one of the greatest locker rooms … That alone speaks for how he is as a person. That’s somebody who I want to play for.”
Robinson is now in Provo, preparing for the season.
“I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a little different from what I’m used to,” he said. “But my teammates and coaches have made it a great experience.”
That BYU will be joining the Big 12 in 2023-24 wasn’t a big factor in Robinson choosing the Cougars.
“I honestly think regardless of whether we went to the Big 12, I think I probably still would have ended up coming here,” he said. “I think that’s just a bonus being able to play those teams. But I’m just head-over-heels for this program. Just being here is the biggest thing for me.”
Being an Oklahoma native, he’s eager to play Big 12 teams from his home state, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, when the time comes.
Robinson’s versatility gives Pope several options in how to utilize his skills. Robinson said he’s comfortable playing the two, three or four positions. “I can guard 1 through 5,” he said.
How does Robinson describe his strengths?
“I’m long, versatile. I can shoot it. I can play some defense,” he said. “Something that a lot of people didn’t get to see is me coming off of ball screens, stuff like that, handling the ball more. This year, I look to improve on those things.”
Basketball runs in Robinson’s family.
His grandparents played college basketball. His mom played at Missouri State and his aunt, Crystal Robinson, is the lead assistant coach for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
“I have a family full of hoopsters,” Robinson said.
He credits Crystal for teaching him a lot about the game.
“She helped me with my jump shot, working with me from an early age,” Robinson said. “From there, I just built off of that. I used it to keep going in my basketball career.”
Now his basketball career continues at BYU.
“I’m still new to the program. (Pope) doesn’t fully know me yet,” he said. “But I’m just ready to break the ice and see what it’s like. It’s a great group of guys. The guys that are here, we’re all bonding great. We all get along. All the on-court stuff has been going well … there’s a togetherness. The bond that we’re building right now is going to be big when we get on the court in a few months.”
Last year, at Arkansas, Robinson was part of a program that reached the Elite 8 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1994-95. That’s something else that he brings to BYU’s program.
“Even though I didn’t get to play, I feel like being in that atmosphere first-hand is a different experience,” he said. “A lot of people can’t say they’ve done that. I believe that the NCAA Tournament experience will definitely help me in the long run.”
As a new member of the Cougars’ roster, Robinson has one goal in mind.
“All I want to do is win,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to pull wins out. That’s all that matters.”