Austin "Red" Robbins
At 6' 8" and with a shock of bright red hair, Austin "Red" Robbins was hard to miss, even on a basketball court filled with other tall, lanky players.
Robbins graduated from Groveland High School with varsity letters in basketball for all four years. He was named the best rebounder from 10th to 12th grade after leading the state in rebounds two years in a row, scoring 644 points in one season, and finishing his high school career with 1,349 rebounds. He was also named best free throw shooter and MVP in his junior and senior year. Robbins averaged 27.1 points a game and was three-time all-county, all-conference, all-district, and two-time all-state. He also joined his high school's varsity track team in the 10th grade, competing as a high jump specialist each of his last three seasons.
After high school, Robbins went on to play basketball at Chipola Junior College and then the University of Tennessee. While in college, he was a counselor at basketball camps held at his school. He received a degree in education in 1966.
Robbins was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966 NBA draft but opted to join the American Basketball Association instead. He began his professional career as a center for the New Orleans Buccaneers in 1967 and would go on to join other teams such as the Utah Stars (1970-72), San Diego Conquistadors (1972-74), Kentucky Colonels (1973-74) and the Virginia Squires (1974-75). Robbins made the ABA All-Star team each of his first three years in the league, and hit 11 of 12 field goals in Game 7 of the 1971 ABA Finals to help the Stars win their first and only title. He finished with 6,155 rebounds and is fourth on the ABA's all-time rebounding list. Robbins also spent time traveling to speak to youth groups and high schools about his career.
Off the court, Robbins valued health, lasting friendships and love. His only love greater than basketball was his wife, Janie. The couple was married 39 years before Robbins died of cancer in 2009.