Winning a state championship together, men’s basketball redshirt sophomore guard Jesse Bingham and senior forward Jakobie Robinson said their connection has grown stronger since playing together in high school to playing together at the collegiate level.
“It just benefits [the] both of us and our teams because we played together for that long; I feel like we both figured out each other’s tendencies and what one another is going to do, where we want the ball at…,” Bingham said. “Playing with [Robinson], it just makes my life a lot easier.”
When playing at Warren Central High School together, Bingham and Robinson helped lead the team to a state championship while going undefeated, according to Robinson.
“Just being able to win that title together, it was fun,” Robinson said. “[An] undefeated season is something you might not ever see again, so I just feel like doing it together was very special.”
Bingham said that once the two of them became friends they were always hanging out. According to Robinson, winning that state championship has led to a hunger for more at the collegiate level, but it is a whole different playing-field.
“[Winning a championship is] much harder at this stage than it was in high school…,” Robinson said. “The position we put ourselves in through these 18 games and the way we’re playing right now, as long as we stay locked in [and] continue to do what we do together to get us here again, I feel like we’re capable of achieving that goal [of winning a championship].”
Throughout the years Bingham and Robinson have been here, UIndy Men’s Basketball Head Coach Paul Corsaro said these two players know what needs to be done to win games. Likewise, Corsaro said he has seen this in games and practices.
“You can tell that they know what it takes to win by the way they go about their business, how hard they work every day; you can tell they came from a good, successful high school program because they bring it every single day at practice,” Corsaro said. “And then, in games, they’re not fazed by the biggest moments. They’re guys that I trust during crunch
time in games, and all their experiences leading up to this point prepare them for the moments that they’re in now.”
Prior to his time at UIndy, Robinson transferred from McKendree University before sharing the court again with Bingham, according to Robinson. The first person Robinson called was Bingham.
“I remember one day I was at home, and then [Robinson] called me. And it’s him and his whole family just around the phone,” Bingham said. “They’re all just smiling… [I’m]out [of] the loop… I’m still trying to figure out, ‘What’s the point? What’s the point of [the] call,’ and then he finally told me that he committed [to UIndy]. I remember I went outside the house and just start[ed] running around… just out of pure excitement. I was like, that’s my brother right back with me.”
Bingham said they are like brothers and always have each other’s back. Robinson said he and Bingham are always joking around with each other and that it can rub off on their teammates.
“Me and [Bingham are] always goofing around, so it brings out the goofiness… in others [the team] to be comfortable around everybody,” Robinson said. “… When our teammates see us do that [joke around] they [can] feel comfortable with
being themselves and being able to express themselves.”
As of Reflector press time, the Greyhounds are 20-2, and they are currently ranked seventh in Division II basketball, according to UIndy Athletics. Corsaro said Bingham and Robinson have brought an unselfish mindset to the program. According to Corsaro, Robinson’s ability to play any position on the court and Bingham’s ability to score at will have had an impact on the team. Throughout the season, Corsaro said he has enjoyed the team’s character, which both Bingham and Robinson add to.
“The character [has been my favorite part]; we have awesome guys in our locker room, and the personalities make this such a fun group,” Corsaro said. “And I think [that’s] what really makes a talented team into a great team is the character and the personalities and the types of people we have. It’s just a great group of guys. And I think that’s the most enjoyable part for me. And I think they’d probably say the same thing.”