DENTON - Rhett Robinson
certainly had the accomplishments worthy of a college basketball scholarship. The 6-foot-1 forward was a three-time all-region selection and was first-team all-state as a senior at Krum High School, a school with a long tradition of basketball success.
Yet the recruiters did not call, and no Division I offers were forthcoming.
Robinson, however, was a two-sport star at Krum, excelling in volleyball as well. With no previous club volleyball experience, she joined North Texas volleyball coach Andrew Palileo
's North Point Volleyball Club, and the course of her athletic and academic life changed.
"We came because it was close by and figured we would try it out and see how it went," Robinson said.
Sometimes things work out for the best.
In the Mean Green's 3-0 performance in the North Texas Invitational, the freshman outside hitter ranked third on the team in attack percentage (.468), points (34.5), kills (28), aces (3) and blocks (7), earning her Conference USA co-Freshman of the Week honors.
It wasn't long before Robinson realized North Point was a perfect fit.
"Right off the bat, I could see myself getting better," Robinson said. "I had never had as much coaching on technique and that stuff. I was able to see a different side of volleyball."
Palileo made quite an impact, influencing not only her decision to come to North Texas, but also to choose volleyball over basketball. It wasn't until Palileo confronted her and asked her to choose between the two sports that she realized that, with his help, she would have a future in volleyball. Not basketball.
"I wanted to play basketball, but I knew volleyball was something I would stay in love with," Robinson said.
From there, she was faced with the decision on where to play. However, that choice was a lot easier.
"When [coach Palileo] offered me, it wasn't even a question."
The vicinity of North Texas was an appealing factor in Robinson's decision to commit to play for the Mean Green, but not the main reason she made her decision.
"Mostly, I just really liked coach Palileo."
While Palileo was a major influence in the process, another individual in the program had just as much, if not more, of an impact on Robinson.
Former Mean Green star Holly Milam
, an assistant coach for Robinson in the North Point system, was one of the first and only role models for Robinson's game.
"Of course I looked up to the older girls in high school, but I didn't look up to someone skill-wise until I saw Holly play," Robinson said. "I really liked watching her and seeing how smart she was and how versatile she was, being able to go from the outside to the middle."
When the tables turned and Holly was watching Rhett play for North Point, Milam was always doling out words of encouragement to Robinson.
"That made me feel better, because someone so talented was telling me that I was good," Robinson said.
But when she took the court for North Texas, instead of aiming to emulate Milam's style on the court, Palileo addressed the freshman before the season opener and encouraged her to show off her individual talents.
"Just be Rhett," Palileo said. "You're going to get in your own head thinking about everything I've told you, but when it comes to game time, you've got to be Rhett. Implement what I've said, but be Rhett."
The message struck deep within Robinson, propelled her to the performance that earned her a weekly honor and made her mission for the season simple.
Just be Rhett.