If you had to describe your ultimate teammate, what characteristics would your teammate have? If you were to ask any member of the Louisville coaching staff that question, I’d bet they tell you: always prepared, have a positive and energetic attitude, willingness to play any role, versatility, skills, work ethic, focus, and ability to put team success over individual success. In short, they’d tell you Mykasa Robinson.
Mykasa Robinson came to Louisville as a highly touted 5* recruit out of Ashland, KY in the 2018 class. She was a finalist for Ms. Kentucky Basketball and was named Co-Player of the Year in the 16th region by the KABC during her senior year. Robinson averaged 17.4 ppg and 7.5 rpg during her senior campaign.
Now, Mykasa Robinson has become the do-it-all player for UofL that brings energy and toughness. The junior’s stats won’t wow you, but when she is on the floor, you take notice. She hustles, she fights for loose balls, and she is a hassle for opposing players on the defensive side of the floor.
CSZ sat down with the junior guard from Ashland, KY just to talk about her game and a few other things. Enjoy getting to know the spark plug of this Louisville team Mykasa Robinson.
Perhaps my fondest memory of Mykasa is when she committed to Louisville during pregame warmups. As she was walking back to the layup line, she stopped and showed Coach Walz a Louisville Cardinal bird on her shirt underneath her warmup jersey.
— Kentucky Premier (@KentuckyPremier) April 21, 2017
So, I asked her about it.
CSZ: Did you always wear a Louisville shirt underneath your warmups or did you know Coach Walz was going to be at the game?
MR: “My AAU coach told me he was going to be there, so it was just a one time thing.”
The former 5* player out of Ashland, KY and 30th-ranked overall player in the class of 2018 (ESPNW Hoopgurlz) is the type of player that every championship caliber team has to have.
CSZ: For the fans that don’t know much about you, what is Mykasa Robinson like off the court?
MR: “I’m very fun. I’m a Christian. I enjoy just having a good time. I’m very social and I like being around people. I just like having a good time.”
CSZ: Ok Mykasa, the NCAA championship is at 8pm. What is Mykasa Robinson doing to prepare herself for that game? What food are you eating, what type of music you want to listen to pregame?
MR: “The go to meal is definitely spaghetti, it’s always spaghetti. I’m normally just talking to my teammates and reading my Bible getting ready for the game.”
CSZ: In the championship game, you have your choice at either making the game winning basket at the buzzer or making the game winning defensive stop. Which one are you choosing?
MR: “Definitely the defensive stop. I think it just suits me.”
Versatility And Being A Great Teammate:
This year, Mykasa has guarded all 5 positions against opposing teams. Most times it’s by design, while the other times just happened throughout the natural course of the game.
In the past, Louisville has always had a few great defenders that can step out and guard multiple positions effectively, players such as: Angel McCoughtry, Tia Gibbs, Bria Smith, Jazmine Jones, and now Mykasa Robinson.
CSZ: Last year Jazmine Jones provided the intensity the team needed. With Jones gone, it seems like you have picked up your intensity this year. What drives you to be so intense?
MR: “Honestly, just trying to make the right play whatever it takes. Having a great role model and leader like Jazz, I just want to bring that to the team like she did.”
CSZ: What does the acknowledgement of being named as one of the best perimeter defenders in the country mean to you personally?
MR: “It means lot. I really sat down with Coach Burns on our staff and told (her) that was a goal for me. I really want to focus on defense, so it was a huge accomplishment.”
CSZ: Besides defense, what would you say is the best part of your game?
MR: “I think it’s probably court vision; seeing the floor and getting my teammates open shots.”
Mykasa Robinson has sacrificed a lot of her individual stats for team success as a Louisville Cardinal. This year, Mykasa is averaging a career high in minutes played per game (19.0) and rebounds per game (4.0). She has improved her turnover to assist ratio this season. However, the scoring for Mykasa has dropped a little bit this season, but that’s far from her focus this year. Mykasa has started 10 games this season and has started each of the last 5 games.
CSZ: Your scoring has taken a backseat to your defense and playmaking. Do you see that changing anytime soon?
MR: “Honestly, (it’s a) credit to my teammates. I don’t really look to score. 7 people on our team could have 29 points if they wanted to. When my time comes, it’ll come.”
CSZ: Can you tell us a little bit about the bond this team has that’s different from previous teams?
MR: “I think, especially with it being covid, we don’t get to go out or see a lot of people on campus. So, really, all we got is each other. I think with the training, with everyone being so competitive, it benefits our team. So we bond very well.”
CSZ: Speaking of competitiveness, who do you think is the most competitive on the team?
MR: “Dana, hands down.”
CSZ: Who on the team is the most upbeat and fun to be around? The player that keeps the mood light?
MR: “That’s a tough one. We have a lot of good times on our team. I think right now, I’m going to have to go with our freshman Olivia Cochran. She just always got a smile on her face, she can make anyone laugh. She’s a joy to be around.”
CSZ: What’s been the biggest surprise for you of the freshman class so far?
MR: “The biggest surprise, just knowing how freshman are a little timid, that’s how you’d expect them to be. But with our freshman I think it’s been awesome (that) none of them have backed down from a challenge. They all compete. It’s just awesome to see how competitive and how strong a drive they have.”
CSZ: What was it like and the feeling in the locker room hearing that the season had been canceled due to Covid-19?
MR: “It was just a lot of heart(break), honestly my heart broke. I felt like we had a real shot at making a nice run in the tournament, but I think it motivated us to really focus on this season and just get better.”
CSZ: What has been the biggest distractions that Covid has caused this season, compared to previous seasons?
MR: “Honestly, I personally don’t feel that Covid has distracted us in anyway, but I think it has made us better. We really got time to focus on things in our game that we needed to. For me personally I got to take the time and focus on form shooting. Obviously I still got a lot of work to do, but I think that it was a big benefit.”
CSZ: What Covid related change has been the most difficult for you personally?
MR: “Access to the gym. We’re following protocols and keeping within certain times. Last year we come in anytime we wanted, get in shots, get in a couple more workouts, but I think managing our time that we have in the gym has been the biggest change.
CSZ: What is it like playing in front of a limited crowd capacity?
MR: “It’s definitely different. Thank God for the fans that we do have. They can change the momentum of games. They are the best fans in the country.”
Playing With/Against Some Greats:
CSZ: You’ve played with two of the best Cardinals in program history in Asia Durr and Dana Evans. What have you been able to learn or take from each of them when it comes to your personal game?
MR: “Both of them, the biggest thing I’ve learned from them is to never give up and if you want it you have to work for it and you’ve got to go get it. Not only that, but they lead by example. Everyday those two showed why they are great.
CSZ: Last year you were able to compete against probably the greatest Cardinal so far in Angel McCoughtry. What was it like being on the court with her, going against her as well as some of the other WNBA and college greats?
MR: “It was an awesome experience. A dream come true, just to compete against the best. You get to see and evaluate yourself, I think it was very beneficial to me and my teammates as well.”
Whatever you need, Mykasa will get it done. If you need someone to facilitate, dive for a loose ball, make a defensive stop, grab a rebound, stand up for her teammate, or hit a mid-range jumper just dial up #5 because she’s got you. Mykasa also has a technical foul in the books this year, a technical she got for coming to Dana Evans’ defense after a very hard foul. Robinson has been the ultimate teammate in her career at Louisville. As Robinson herself said to us, “It’s really being a great teammate and doing whatever my team needs me to do. I’m surrounded by great players, so whatever role presents itself, I’m ready to take it on.”