It has been years since TCU guard Alex Robinson had a chance to play for Robert Hughes — a chance he never got, in fact.
Hughes retired in 2005, well before Robinson could reach ninth grade at Dunbar High School.
But Monday, he’ll get to play with Hughes in attendance when the 14th-ranked Horned Frogs take on Texas Southern at Schollmaier Arena and recognize the coaching legend at halftime.
“His coaching style, he’s old-school, of course,” Robinson said. “My parents felt like I needed that, so they really wanted me to play for him. He would get into your butt and chew you out if you had to.”
Hughes finished his career as the winningest boys basketball coach in the country, with 1,333 victories between I.M. Terrell and Dunbar, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
He watched a TCU workout last week and addressed the team, stressing the importance of work because “basketball is a game of practice, practice, practice.”
Robinson enjoyed seeing the coach he might have played for, had he remained in Fort Worth schools and had Hughes continued coaching. Robinson, who grew up a Meadowbrook Middle School student, said he transferred to Mansfield Timberview after his mother got a job in Mansfield.
“He never really spoke loudly, but every time he spoke, you listened,” Robinson said of Hughes. “It was some really important, good information. It was like a metaphor you could use somewhere else down the line.”
Hughes smiled at the idea of seeing a former Meadowbrook athlete in action.
“You’re kidding me,” he said, told that he could have had one of the Big 12’s top assist guards playing for him. “I’ll be darned.”
Monday night’s recognition was Dixon’s idea because the opponent is Texas Southern, where Hughes was a three-time all-SWC guard before a brief pro career with the Boston Celtics that was cut short by injury. After that, Hughes began his 47-year coaching career.
Since he has been in Fort Worth, Dixon has gotten to know Hughes. He remembered bumping into him at the airport on the way to the Final Four in April and realizing they were on the same flight, which to Dixon could only mean one thing.
“They announce the hall of fame inductees at the Final Four, but they fly the guys out there, so when I saw him, that’s how I knew,” Dixon said. “I said, ‘I know why you’re here -- you got the call but you can’t tell me!’ We took a picture, and then I tweeted it out once they announced it.”
Since then, Dixon has had a plan to honor Hughes at a TCU game.
“We’ve got a living legend in Fort Worth,” he said. “A hall of famer.”
No. 14 TCU vs. Texas Southern
8 Monday, FSSW-Plus