"If I see any of (the old Houston Comets) to this day, I would pass out," jokes Jillian Robbins. "Like if Cynthia Cooper walked through this door right now, I'd pass out."
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CLEVELAND, April 1, 2007 "I'm a fun person," says Tulsa's Jillian Robbins. She certainly had plenty of fun on the basketball court, posting incredible statistics in her four years in school and twice being named an AP Honorable Mention All-American.
Robbins is also a hungry person, something she pointed out upon walking into the WNBA.com interview room at the Pre-Draft Camp in Cleveland. She was offered and accepted a chicken wing, which she scarfed down happily. She then spoke frankly and laughingly with WNBA.com's Adam Hirshfield.
Q. What have you been up to since the end of your season at Tulsa?
Robbins: "I took some time to hang out with my family and my son, Jordan. And like (Tulsa) coach C.T. (Charlene Thomas-Swinson) said, I'll be going to a new WNBA coach, so I have to be ready. I do about 45-minute workouts every day, I get on the elliptical machine and play pickup with my teammates."
Q. How old is your son and is he following what's going on in your life?
Robbins: "He's two. And no, he has no clue. He's the kind of kid who, no matter what's going on in a game, is just yelling "Shoot it! Shoot it!" all the time. He knows I'm a basketball player. He's got that much down."
Q. What are your feelings about your college experience? What was it like
playing four years at Tulsa?
Robbins: "Have you ever been to Six Flags? Do you know the Texas Dungeon Drop where they take you up really slow, really slow then they just DROP you? That's how it feels. While it was going on, it was so slow, and I kept thinking, 'This is never gonna end.' Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I'm done. That's exactly how it felt. It was scary, but it was fun. I'm sad it's over. It's hard going from to top-notch on campus to a has-been. (Laughs.) I'm a has-been now. Just that quick."
Q. What strengths and skills will you bring to a WNBA team?
Robbins: "I bring you rebounding. If I can't do anything else, if I can't hit a jump-shot, hit a lay-up, hit a free throw, you're going to get rebounds out of me. And I pride myself on defense, so I think those are the things I want to show the most. Rebounding is not easy it's hard work and tenaciousness, so that's what I do."
Q. What skills do you feel you still need to work on to succeed at the next
Robbins: "I have to work on ball-handling. I've been a post player my whole life. In high school and in college, I was told, 'If you get the ball, pass it to a guard. Do not dribble.' (Laughs.) So I have to work on that. My jump shot is OK I could use some more confidence in it."
Q. Did you have a favorite team in the WNBA growing up?
Robbins: "Oh yeah, the Houston Comets! I was the biggest Comets fan in the history of Comets fans! I've been to every championship game they've had. I was at the game when Teresa Weatherspoon hit a halfcourt shot. My mom, who knows nothing about basketball, also became a big Comets fan. She would come to the games, watch some of them from home and tell me that she had to go outside because she couldn't breathe (because she was so nervous). We're all big Comets fans."
Q. Is there a current WNBA player you look up to?
Robbins: "Kim Perrot was my favorite at first. Then after she passed away, Tina Thompson became my favorite. But if I see any of them to this day, I would pass out. Like if Cynthia Cooper walked through this door right now, I'd pass out."
Q. Would it be a dream come true to play for the Comets?
Robbins: "It would, yeah. That's home. You always love to go home. And hopefully they still know me in Houston, so that would be a good thing."
Q. Is there a player in the league who you'd really love to play with or
Robbins: "I just want to see Diana Taurasi in person. I just want to see it. She seems magical (laughs) I don't know she just seems magical to me, and I want to see it."
Q. Talk to me about the Pre-Draft camp. Are you excited to be here? Is there
any nervousness? What did you think when you got the call to come to Cleveland?
Robbins: "I spent all week trying to downplay it because I didn't want to get too excited. Then when I got off the plane here, I looked at (Oklahoma's) Leah Rush and said, 'I'm gonna puke!' (Laughs.) She said, 'What's wrong with you?' And I said, 'I think I'm gonna puke!' I wasn't nervous before, but I'm nervous now. I've been texting all of my teammates, telling them 'I think I'm gonna die!' They keep telling me to calm down. And I'm coming up with all of these random scenarios like what if I go up for a lay-up and I trip and slide out of bounds and take out three people and they think I'm clumsy? (Laughs.) So now I'm just trying to gather myself and get it together."
Q. Where are you going to watch the draft?
Robbins: "Well, hopefully, I can be here. (A small number of players will be invited back to Cleveland to attend Wednesday's draft.) But if not, I'll probably be at home, watching with my teammates, probably at Buffalo Wild Wings or something like that. It's already been established that I like hot wings, so I think I'd rather be with the people that I'm close with and who have helped me get here. I just want to enjoy it. I'll never get this chance again."
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Robbins: "Like my son telling me to 'Shoot it!'? My family tells me random things which I don't know how to apply to basketball. My mom tells me to always look good."
Q. That leads us to another question. How important is fashion and looking
good to you?
Robbins: "Very! My mom says you should always look your best. I'm not going to lie to you TV games? I always put a little makeup on and make sure that my hair is TOGETHER. First impressions are so huge, and as a psychology and marketing major, I know these things. So you always want to look presentable with a little blush and lip gloss on at least until I go and have some hot wings."
Q. What do you want to do after basketball?
Robbins: "I want to be a marketing executive. I want to be in the boardroom making commercials. I love marketing. I like The Apprentice. I think (Donald Trump) and I might get into it. If he ripped me, I'd look right back at him and say, 'Are you serious? You have a comb-over!' But he's paid."
Q. Do you like to talk trash on the court?
Robbins: "No, not usually. I'm almost always zoned out or spazzing out about something else. 'How did I miss that?' 'Where was I supposed to be on that play?' There are so many other things going on in my mind out on the court, I can't really think of anything quality to trash-talk about. I can't go up to an opponent and say, 'Hey, your socks don't match.' That's terrible. So I try to shy away from it."
Q. What should a WNBA fan know about you, the person?
Robbins: "That I'm approachable. I always make it a point to let young girls and even older fans know that I'm approachable. They don't have to be afraid, don't be nervous to come up to me. I'm pretty much an open book. And I'm a fun person. And I will DIE for the game."
Q. Do you have any pregame rituals?
Robbins: "I call my mom. She knows how nervous I get. I almost puked getting off the plane, right? And she talks to me about the most random and outrageous things. Talking to her, I forget about what I'm worrying about and it really calms me down."
Q. What is your source of inspiration?
Robbins: "Jordan inspires everything I do. He's the reason why I do everything I do. I have to take care of him and make sure he's in a good place. Because if he's in a good place, he can go to some kind of NFL/NBA/MLB something, and then I can sit in Vegas playing the slots. (Laughs.) I want to be one of those ladies at the slot machines with a box of wine sitting next to me, just chilling."
Q. What's your favorite way to relax off the court?
Robbins: "I just told you with a box of wine, sitting at a slot machine. No, I always hang out with my teammates. We like to get pedicures, we go shopping and I love to sing karaoke. I'm terrible, but I love it. I have great showmanship. Friends in Low Places is the greatest karaoke song ever. You just have to yell at the top of your lungs."