Former Wolf Pack women's basketball star Tahnee Robinson is back in Reno and will be signing autographs tomorrow (Friday, May 25) from 1-3 p.m. at the Nike Factory Outlet at the Legends in Sparks. She is serving as an athlete ambassador for Nike N7 and recently returned to Reno after playing professional basketball in Israel. She is proudly enrolled in the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana and is Eastern Shoshone, Pawnee and Sioux as well.
At Nevada, Robinson became just the 10th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, doing it in just two seasons, and led the Wolf Pack to back-to-back Women's National Invitation Tournament postseason appearances. A two-time All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection and the 2010 WAC Newcomer of the Year, Robinson ranked in the national top 10 in scoring in each of her two seasons at Nevada and finished in the Wolf Pack's career top 10 in five categories. She was a finalist for the 2011 Sullivan Award, which is annually given to the nation's top amateur athlete, and was drafted by the Connecticut Sun in the 2011 WNBA Draft, becoming just the second Native American to play at that level.
Robinson graduated last weekend with her degree in general studies and recently took the time to answer a few of our questions.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I am doing rehab. I tore my hamstring in Israel. As soon as I can get better, I am going back to the Nike campus in Oregon to finish my training for the upcoming season.
Q: What was it like to play in Israel?
A: I loved playing in Israel. It was different. We had four Americans and four Israelis on the team and I was the oldest player on a young team. For my first year, it was a good experience. I enjoyed the people and the culture. We went to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. It is a beautiful place to go.
Q: How have you enjoyed serving as a Nike N7 ambassador?
A: It has been amazing. Now that Nike has released the N7 summer line, I'm going to be traveling to a lot of different stores. I've gotten to meet President Obama and his wife, Michelle, and have been involved in some amazing community service campaigns like Let's Move and Big Brothers Big Sisters. I've been very fortunate.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned from your time at the University of Nevada?
A: I learned that you reap what you sow. Hard work pays off. Kami (Malnaa) and the other coaches were always in the gym with me. They all wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to. If you put in the time, everything pays off in the end. Maybe not right away, but it pays off.
Q: What is the biggest different between college basketball and professional basketball?
A: Being a rookie, you have to start at the beginning again. You have to establish yourself as a good player before they take you seriously. The pace of the game is faster and more physical, and the girls are bigger. It's not a huge change, but there is definitely a difference when you move to that level.
Q: How excited are you to have finally earned your bachelor's degree?
A: School was never my favorite, but I am so thankful for all of the people who helped me get through my classes and put together my schedule. I am so happy I'm graduating. There was a few times in my life that I never thought I would be in college, let alone graduate, so it is so amazing to have it done.
Q: What is next for you?
A: After I am done with rehab, I am going to train in Oregon until September. Then I am going to Europe to play. The season starts in October and lasts until late spring.