‘We have high hopes for this team’

‘We have high hopes for this team’
ACHS senior Guard Kullen Robinson rises up to shoot over a Wakefield guard. Photo/Anna Jaeger Photography

By Gwen Peace

There’s one name dominating Virginia high school basketball right now: Robinson.

But behind that one name, there are two players – a pair of brothers – who have been working as a team to make a major impact on the court.

The Alexandria City High School boys’ varsity basketball team has earned a 12-4 record – a huge turnaround for the Titans, who went 10-11 last year and finished No.136 in Virginia.

The difference maker? The offensive and defensive prowess of the Robinson brothers.

Kye Robinson, a 6’2” junior point guard and captain of the team, averages 21 points per game, and ranks No. 1 in Virginia for points scored per 32 minutes played, with 24.1 Furthermore, he has made 118 field goals on the season, earning him the number three spot in the state.

His co-captain and elder brother of one year, 6’3” senior shooting guard Kullen Robinson, directs his own talents toward the other end of the court, leading the team in rebounding with six per game. He is no slouch offensively either, closely trailing his brother in points per 32 with 18.8, which is the seventh best number in Virginia.

Together, the brothers account for the majority of the Titans’ scoring.

With numbers like that, one might imagine that they’ve been playing on the same team for their whole lives. This isn’t the case though. In fact, this is the first time that the two have played high school basketball – or competitive basketball at any level – together.

Kullen Robinson attended a different school for his sophomore and junior years, preventing the two from being able to team up on the court, but transferred back to ACHS for his senior year.

Despite never competing together before, the brothers have been practicing basketball together for as long as they can remember.

“We’ve played with each other our whole lives,” Kullen Robinson said. “I’ve enjoyed playing with him for sure.”

His brother was quick to express his own excitement over getting to play a season of basketball with Kullen at his side.

“There’s really just nothing like it honestly, like playing with your brother,” Kye Robinson said. “I mean that was something I just dreamed about.”

That dream has not only been realized but has also led to arguably what is one of the most promising teams that ACHS has fielded in recent years. Kye attributes this success to the healthy competition between him and Kullen, which drives them each individually to be better for the team as a whole.

“I think no matter what we’re doing, we’re gonna be good together,” he said.

The chemistry of the Robinson brothers has proved infectious and is bringing the rest of the team together as well.

Many of the older players have been through a lot together, struggling last year to gain any sort of forward momentum after being hit hard by the pandemic and lacking players with varsity experience. Head coach Tyrone Sally remembers how last year the boys got “smacked around” by multiple teams and were “at the bottom trying to fight [their] way up.”

Kye reminisces on the previous season, without his brother by his side, and has no desire to repeat it. Instead, he’s been devoting all of his free time, late at night and early in the morning, to practicing in order to be “way more productive than I was last year.”

But there was a silver lining. The tough season brought the team together, forcing the players to get better, and fostering a deep sense of camaraderie.

This year, the fraternity that all of the boys share – not just the two that are blood-related – has been a key factor in their winning ways.

“They play hard for each other,” Alexandria City High School Athletic Director James Parker said. “They really, really believe in themselves.”

And the ultimate goal? A district championship, followed by a deep post-season run.

It will be no easy feat, with a challenging gauntlet of conference opponents standing in their way, but with the Robinson brothers at the helm of ship, Parker believes that the team is in good hands.

“We have high hopes for this team,” he said.