Two former teammates were reunited Saturday night when Akron faced off against undefeated Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Zach Collins, GU’s freshman forward, and Noah Robotham, a guard at the University of Akron, are both products of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
The basketball powerhouse has won five straight state championships, and seven since 2009.
Robotham was a senior the year Collins was a sophomore at Bishop Gorman. The senior’s style of play had an effect on the younger Collins.
“He is always calm on the court and it’s contagious,” Collins said. “Just remembering how calm he was and how calm he made me feel on the court, that helped me. That’s one of his great attributes.”
Collins did not play heavy varsity minutes his sophomore year because of the few players ahead of him on the roster, but he said Robotham is one of the best teammates with whom he has played.
“When I knew him he was (6-foot-8) and still had baby fat, but now he’s 7-foot and looks strong,” Robotham said of Collins.
Neither player was assigned to guard one another during the game, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some fun.
“We had a switch on a pick and he looked at me and smirked,” Collins said.
Collins also contested a shot from Robotham.
“It’s too long,” Collins said.
Robotham responded with, “I’ll make the next one.”
“We were just going back and forth, kind of a brotherly rivalry,” Collins said.
Robotham missed Akron’s two previous games with an ankle injury. But he returned on Saturday and scored three points on a 3-pointer in the second half. He also had two steals and a rebound. His former teammate scored five for the Zags and pulled down three rebounds.
Along with being former teammates, both players won the Gatorade Nevada Boys Basketball Player of the Year award following their senior seasons.
Collins averaged 17.3 points, 14 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 6.4 blocks per game during his senior season. Robotham averaged 16.0 points, 7.1 assists and 3.1 steals as a senior.
The two had not seen each other since last year when Robotham returned to Bishop Gorman while he was recovering from an injury.
Despite being at schools across the country, they keep tabs on each other.
Robotham is glad to see the way his former teammate has been playing.
“The ceiling is very high for him,” he said.
“It was fun, crazy to see him in another uniform in college. I’m happy for him. He’s doing really good,” Collins said.
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