After a two-year career at Drake, Liam Robbins decided to transfer to Minnesota earlier this spring.
The decision is about much more than basketball for the Davenport Assumption alum.
“I didn’t get on the [Assumption] Wall of Fame, but if I can get somewhere else, that’d be big time,” Robbins said.
Unheralded coming out of high school, Robbins is a late-blooming big man with NBA aspirations. His family is tied together by the game of basketball.
“I hit the portal, he was the first call,” Robbins said. “He was like ‘hey, we have a spot for you’, you know, in the back of your mind it was like, wouldn’t it be cool to play for your uncle?”
That thought has turned into a reunion at Minnesota. Robbins’ uncle, Ed Conroy, is the Gophers associate head coach.
“Anybody I think that knows the Conroys, knows how close we are,” Conroy said via Zoom interview. “In this profession, it’s so hard to find that family time. But yet here we get to go on the basketball court, and it’s not going to be just seeing each other on family vacations or talking over the phone.”
The two are joining forces in Minneapolis. The family’s basketball roots are in Davenport.
“You know, my mom and all six of my aunts and uncles, all played here,” Robbins said. “They used to have an [Assumption] Wall of Fame and they were both up there. My uncle Duff for football and my uncle Ed for basketball.”
Conroy was a two-time, All-State player for the Knights in the mid-1980s.
“When you say Assumption to me, a smile comes on my face and I immediately think family,” Conroy said. “It’s just big families that really care and love their sports. They’re competitive and they pass it on from one generation to the next.”
Tradition that’s come full circle for a couple of Knights now wearing the maroon and gold.
“He’s not gonna pull any punches, if I’m playing bad I know he’s gonna tell me I’m playing bad,” Robbins said. “I think that’s what I’m most excited about. I’m always going to be getting the 100 percent truth, like what I’m doing, what I need to improve on, even if it’s something I don’t want to hear.”
Not only will Robbins have his uncle as a coach, he’ll also have his cousin as teammate. Conroy’s son, Hunt, is a senior point guard. The cousins plan to room together next year.
“The fact that I get to go into a practice for next year. And, you know, my son might be down at one end with the guards and Liam down with the bigs with me,” Conroy said. “It just doesn’t get any better than that.”