‘It’s nothing but love for Jervae’

At WSU, he faced coaching change, opponents’ best players, kissed WSU logo in last home game


Tony Nguyen

Senior Guard Jervae Robinson attempts to get past Stanford defenders on Feb. 23 at Beasley Coliseum.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

Senior guard Jervae Robinson finishes his collegiate basketball career with WSU this season as one of five returning Cougars from last year.

Before WSU, Robinson played for Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado. He led the team in scoring during his freshman season with 14 points per game and was second in scoring during his sophomore season with 12.5 points per game, according to the WSU athletics website.

Robinson helped Otero to consecutive 20-win seasons through his tenure and made brief trips to post-season NJCAA tournaments.

After his sophomore season came to an end, the Colorado native said he transferred to WSU because he wanted to play basketball in the Pac-12.

“When I came up on my visit here, it just felt like somewhere where I could be comfortable,” Robinson said. “The staff that was here – they just made me feel like I was just in good hands.”

Aside from winning more games this season, Robinson said he would not have wanted his senior year to end any other way.

As Robinson reflects on his time at WSU, he said he is forever thankful for WSU taking a chance and bringing him up from junior college to play in the Pac-12.

In his first season at WSU, he played every game of the season and made the starting lineup seven times. This year however, Robinson started in all but five games while making improvements in several statistical categories.

Head coach Kyle Smith has consistently credited Robinson as being the number one option to defend the Cougars’ opponent’s best offensive player.

Robinson successfully defended several notable guards in the Pac-12 this season to help WSU win a handful of tough matchups. Robinson’s defensive track record includes players such as Oregon’s senior guard Payton Pritchard and Arizona State sophomore guard Remy Martin.

Robinson’s teammate, junior forward Marvin Cannon, is a former junior college transfer himself. Cannon said he saw Robinson as somewhat of a motivating figure to look up to with Robinson’s hard-working ethics.

“It’s nothing but love for Jervae — I’m happy for him,” Cannon said. “He worked his tail off and he just gives a great inspiration for everybody.”

Robinson helped the Cougars this season reach 14 wins thus far, the most wins from WSU since the 2012-13 season.

Smith said Robinson helped him immensely with transferring from the WCC up to the Pac-12 this season as a first-year head coach. Robinson never questioned or had second thoughts on Smith’s knowledge of the game.

“That helped me out a lot with the transition,” Smith said. “[Robinson] has been great.”

Robinson is a reserved player on and off the court according to his teammates and coaches.

“I just wish the best for your future. You’re just going to be successful in life whether that’s with basketball or whatever you decide to do.”

Junior forward Marvin Cannon

Defeating Oregon State with a sold-out Beasley crowd and sweeping the Arizona schools last season stand out as some of Robinson’s favorite moments from his WSU career.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to see something like that again,” Robinson said about the Oregon State game. “That was special.”

The future of the WSU men’s basketball program will be in the right hands of Smith and his staff, Robinson said.

“I’ve definitely seen the change that coach Smith has brought to the program,” Robinson said. “I think it’s only going to improve from here.”

Robinson said his playing days are not entirely over yet as he has received offers to play for teams post-WSU. However, he plans to pursue a career in sports psychology or coaching in the future.

In Robinson’s last home game as a Cougar, he scored a career high 14 points while adding six rebounds and five assists.

When he was substituted out of that game with seconds remaining on the clock, him and senior forward Jeff Pollard visited the center of the court and kissed the WSU logo farewell.

Robinson can always find his way back “home” and reach out Smith for anything, Smith said. He hopes that Robinson can be someone that says they helped ascend Cougar basketball to be a future powerhouse.

“Jervae is absolutely consistent,” Smith said. “I think that his consistency has really helped us have the success we’ve had.

Cannon said he will miss Robinson dearly, and he will talk to him every day once he’s gone.

“I just wish the best for your future,” Cannon said. “You’re just going to be successful in life whether that’s with basketball or whatever you decide to do.”