Brandon Robinson could have taken the other route, and entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal.
But for Robinson, he was able to live out his dream playing four seasons for the storied North Carolina Tar Heels basketball program.
And the former Douglas County High standout had no regrets.
“It has been a incredible four years for me,” Robinson said. “It was everything that I was told it would be. All the promises that I heard came true. I’ve met some great people that have had an influence on my life. It has been everything short of amazing.”
The 6-foot-5 guard/forward was the lone four-year scholarship senior on the Tar Heels program. North Carolina’s season ended with an 81-53 loss to Syracuse in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. on March 11.
After three seasons in a reserve role, Robinson got into the starting lineup. He stepped up for the Tar Heels in one of the program’s most difficult seasons.
Robinson averaged 11.8 points in his final season in a Tar Heels’ uniform.
Despite a lack of playing time at times during his career, Robinson said he never entertained the thought of transferring.
“Not at all,” Robinson said. “This has really prepared me for a lot of things beyond basketball. I’ve had to fight through a lot of adversity. I just had to keep going and keep getting better. I wanted to leave my mark.”
It was a season of adversity for Robinson — on and off the court.
The Tar Heels finished the season with a 14-19 record, its first losing season since going 8-20 in 2001-02 under former coach Matt Doherty.
In addition to the losing on the court, Robinson almost saw his season coming to an end after getting hit head-on by an impaired driver in mid-January.
He sustained some minor injuries that kept him off the court for a few games. Some the injuries nagged him throughout the season.
However, he played through the pain.
“It was a difficult year for us, but I’m proud of the way we responded and played through a lot,” Robinson said. “We had a lot to deal with. I think through it all, we still had fun. We played hard and played for each other.”
One of the highlights of Robinson’s career was when he scored a career-high 29 points help the Tar Heels end a five-game losing streak to defeat Miami (94-71) on Jan. 25, for a milestone win for Williams.
With the win, Williams got his 880th career victory, allowing him to pass late mentor Dean Smith for fourth on the men’s Division I all-time list nearly a month after tying him in a win against Yale.
It was also Robinson’s first game back from an injury.
“It was definitely great to be a part of history,” Robinson said. “Especially for me to have a chance to play here is just something I always thank him for it.”
Robinson might be best remembered for his 17-point effort in a win over Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels entered the tournament as the last seed, No. 14 overall, following a disastrous regular season for a school with a proud history of winning 18 ACC Tournament championships, second only to Duke’s 21 titles.
In that contest, he made five 3-pointers.
Robinson had missed the earlier regular-season contest to Virginia Tech because of injuries from the automobile accident.
“We knew it was win or go home,” Robinson said. “People kept talking about we would have an early exit in the tournament. In the earlier game, I was back home watching it as we lost by one-point. I wanted to leave my mark and play my butt off.”
“Another gutsy performance for Brandon Robinson. A lot of respect for him as a player,” ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bila said during the broadcast of the game.
Unfortunately, the Robinson’s career would end the next game with the lost to Syracuse.
He is back home now since classes at North Carolina will be done remotely because of the coronavirus.
“I’m in the process of figuring things out as we move forward,” Robinson said. “I would like to play basketball on the next level. I want to put myself in the best position I can be in to be a coach.”