Last year was a tough one for CSU junior forward Freddy Robinson. On a road trip to Mexico during the summer, he injured his Achilles tendon, which forced him to sit out for the entire year. On top of that, over Christmas break, his older brother died at the age of 32.
"After my brother died I didn't want to come back to school, let alone play basketball," Robinson said.
But Freddy's other brother, Courtney, told him that he needed to play basketball, and that his older brother would have wanted him to.
For Freddy, this was another hardship that he would grow from.
Growing up on the north side of Tulsa, Okla. was rough for Freddy; it brought the life of drug trafficking and gangs into the backyards of many houses in his neighborhood.
With all that right outside his window, a good home was needed to help Freddy develop into a man. But with a mother who worked late and a father who was sick, that environment wasn't there.
"My father and mother would get into a lot of physical confrontations. So I would go to a court down the street until 5 or 6 in the morning and just play basketball," Robinson said. "It became a way to ease the pain."
Basketball was a way that Freddy and his older brothers could connect. As time went on, basketball was an avenue to get out of certain situations.
Freddy's basketball skills kept on improving as he enrolled in Tulsa Central High School. This was a place were he could start to build himself as a person. Another part of Freddy that helped shape him as a person at this point in his life was religion.
"My mom made me go to church every Sunday, even when I was putting up (basketball) numbers at school; I still went. My mom always tried to keep me involved in the church, I would be an usher or even read scriptures." Robinson said. "I take religion seriously. He is always there and will never put you in a situation you can't get through."
Freddy has a tattoo on his left bicep that shows his passion for religion. A bible verse from Philippians 4:13, which reads, "I can do all things thru Christ which strengthens me."
Here in Fort Collins, Freddy attends Meadow Lark Church, which he says is a welcoming church that accepted him as one of its own sons.
Religion also brings Freddy closer to his coach, Dale Layer.
"That is one thing I can trust about him," Robinson said about his coach. "It is hard for me to trust people and it really helps that I can talk about religion with him any time."
Trust is a big issue for Freddy. He says that he tries to run a pretty low profile and not talk to very many people because he doesn't trust their motives. Trust is a big part in why Freddy came to CSU. Former coach Buzz Williamson went to Tulsa to recruit Freddy early in his high school career and gained his trust.
"I talked to him everyday. He made me feel comfortable, which is why I decided to come here," Robinson said.
It was a good thing he did, as he has had some exciting moments here at CSU. In his sophomore season he threw down a career-high 31 points against UNLV, which included four three-pointers and eight rebounds. The biggest thing Freddy brings to the game is his defense. Countless times he has changed the momentum of the game with his defensive energy.
This year should be a turn-around from last year's disappointing 11-17 finish as the Rams return Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Jason Smith, senior Micheal Morris and a group of transfers including Cory Lewis and Michael Harrison.
"This year will be really exciting, we're more athletic, and it just feels good to be out on the court with these guys," Robinson said.
This year Freddy moved out of the dorms and into a house just west of campus with teammates Micheal and Sean Morris.
"It's fun, real fun. They always fight, but I love them cats. They treat me like a brother," Robinson said of the Morris brothers.
With hopes of graduating in December, Freddy wants to pursue a career in pro basketball either overseas in Europe or in the NBA. He also wants to live in a place where he has family.
"I know that I will have some struggles and pain in my life, but I just want to be happy," Robinson said.
A fan of neo-classical music and kung fu movies, Robinson is a quiet guy at first, who will eventually open up to anyone.
So while it may take some time for you to gain Freddy's trust, chances are you'll only need to see him on the court once to give him yours.