BYU freshman stars on Cougar basketball and volleyball courts

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BYU freshman Alohi Robins-Hardy has shown the potential to be a threat on both basketball and volleyball courts.

With Jennifer Hamson ending her collegiate sports career in Dec. 2014 by leading the BYU women’s volleyball team to the National Championship game, it seemed like it would be a few years before BYU saw another multi-sport star. But while Hamson has made her way out, Robins-Hardy has just arrived.

“Get food, keep snacking, and eat throughout the day, because you’ll die if you don’t,” was Hamson’s advice to Robins-Hardy to survive the window where basketball and volleyball overlap. Robins-Hardy has kept this in mind as she sets to prove she has what it takes to be a dominant multi-sport force, even if she’s a foot shorter than Hamson.

Robins-Hardy was an all-star in Hawaii and has come with a résumé showing her potential in both sports. In basketball, she was a two-time First Team All-State Selection, won a state championship and was a three-year letter winner. Her volleyball awards were equally as impressive; she was the 2014 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year, Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year and two-time state champion.

“She was heavily recruited by good schools, and it is great for our program to get another player from Hawaii,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We expect a lot of great things from her.”

BYU freshman setter Alohi Robins-Hardy waits for the ball in the NCAA National Championship game against Penn St. Dec. 20 in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Randy Miyazaki)
BYU freshman setter Alohi Robins-Hardy waits for the ball in the NCAA National Championship game against Penn State Dec. 20 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Randy Miyazaki)

Accolades and awards aside, the transition from high school sports to the collegiate level can be a difficult one.

“I have always played at a high level, but it’s just a different feel and a different coach and a different experience. But I love it.” Robins-Hardy said.

She showed that although different, she is up for the challenge on the volleyball court. As an outside hitter Robins-Hardy saw significant game time as a freshman and was able to contribute in the Cougars’ run to the national championship.

“It was unbelievable,” Robins-Hardy said about the Cougars’ second-place finish. “We went out there, played our game and shocked the world.”

The women’s basketball team has come into this season with experienced upperclassmen who went to the Sweet 16. Robins-Hardy has missed a portion of the season due to traveling with the volleyball team but has been able to make the transition seamlessly as a boost off the bench. She has averaged just under 10 minutes a game while shooting 37 percent from the floor and 46 percent from beyond the arc. More than numbers is the energy she provides, as she plays with aggression and confidence not often seen from a freshman.

“Alohi is a versatile player who is a very good ball handler and has a strong inside and outside presence,” Judkins said.

The biggest difficulty in switching from high school to college has not come on the court for Robins-Hardy. While most freshmen are worrying about meal plans and what dance party to attend on the weekend, Robins-Hardy has a bit more on her plate. She has daily practice, as well as traveling on sports teams year round while trying to maintain good grades. Though busy, she still takes time to relax; on her rare nights off she spends time with friends or catches up on “Criminal Minds” and “One Tree Hill” on Netflix.

For Robins-Hardy, there is no off season, but she wouldn’t want it any other way. When asked why she chose to play both sports, her answer comes without hesitation:

“My dream was to play both basketball and volleyball in college,” she said.

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