Denham Springs' Maia Robinson (40) is defended by Thibodaux's Bren'naisa Adams (32) and Courtney Clark (10) during the first half at Denham Springs in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Yellow Jackets defeated Thibodaux 65-30. (photo by Crystal LoGiudice | The News)

Crystal LoGiudice | The News

The summer basketball honors may be becoming a regular thing for Denham Springs' Maia Robinson, but that doesn't mean she wasn't a little stunned when she learned of her latest accolade.

Robinson, who will be a senior for Denham Springs for the upcoming season, was selected as a member of the Premier Basketball All-American team while playing for Jason Terry's Lady Jets Platinum Elite team based in Dallas. Terry played for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks last season.

"On a scale from 1 to 10, probably an 11," Robinson said of her level of surprise after learning of her selection to the All-America team.

Robinson's honor comes after she was invited to the John Lucas Enterprises Girls Top 160 Invitational last year.

Robinson said playing in the summer league in Dallas has helped her game evolve.

"I started as just a post player who (played like) 'I'm to the basket, somebody give me the ball'-type player," said Robinson, who has spent the summer in Dallas with her godparents. "But now, being with this team, it pushes me to be the player that I'm going to have to be in college. So I work hard now with this team doing things that I'm not comfortable with so that when I go to high school against a lower level of talent -- but still pretty good talent -- I can do that against them. Because if you can do it against the best, you can do it against anybody."

And that's part of what Denham Springs coach Shelly LaPrairie is counting on from the 6-foot-2 Robinson in her senior season.

"People know our program, and we play inside out," LaPrairie said. "We use our post players. We're going to be 6-2, 6-1, 6 foot with three of the players we have (in Robinson, Desiree Jones and Kate Thompson). We definitely have always used our size. We've always played inside even if we didn't have the big (player). We're known for our high-low game, so we're definitely going to use Maia as a piece of that, and I think she'll do well."

LaPrairie said her team will return four seniors, but Robinson is the only one with a lot of  playing time under her belt, meaning Robinson will also have to take on a leadership role this season.

"She's going to be a senior for us and has got the most playing experience, so she's definitely going to be a leader that we kind of look for as far as experience on the floor and stuff," LaPrairie said. "But we've got a lot of other kids playing in those situations too -- maybe not have gotten that honor that she got -- but she's definitely a big part of us defensively and on the boards. Her size just makes people really have to focus on her. But I think most of all, we're going to be looking for her experience and leadership on the floor and helping those younger kids."

It's a role Robinson said she has no problem embracing.

"I think my coaches have really been preparing me to do this since I was a freshman -- slowly molding me to become the leader of the team -- and I accept the challenge because I'm all about the challenge," she said. "It's not going to be easy. We're going to be an underdog, and I think we can do it."

Robinson said she got a head-start on the leadership part of her role after last season's 42-40 overtime loss to East St. John in the Class 5A quarterfinals -- a game in which Denham Springs went 12-for-58 from the floor and 6-for-22 from 3-point range. But those numbers weren't her focus.

"I had my moment where I was just sad and depressed, but then when I came to think about it, I made a promise to myself that I'm going to be our best free-throw shooter next year because we missed so many in that last game," said Robinson, whose summer league team will play in The Battle on the Bayou at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans beginning Sunday and then travel to Georgia for the adidas Nationals. "I made a promise to myself and my coaches that come next season, my free-throw percentage is going to increase. It might (only) be just one thing, but it helps a lot."

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