Maia Robinson

Denham Springs High's Maia Robinson is at the core of the Lady Jackets' hopes this season after starting the last two seasons on guard-oriented teams.

News file photo

After battling against each other in the Livingston Parish Tournament last season, Denham Springs High's Maia Robinson and Holden's Kaylee Hughes are gong to try something a little different following graduation next spring.

They're going to be teammates.

Robinson and Hughes committed to McNeese State over the weekend after taking an official visit to the Lake Charles campus.

"Who would have ever thought our rivals, we'd be playing together now?" Hughes asked. 

"Before this weekend, we only knew each other from playing each other."

Kaylee Hughes

Holden's Kaylee Hughes is back to lead the Holden girls in 2017-18 after earning Livingston Parish MVP honors last season.

For Hughes, who was the All-Livingston Parish MVP last season, there wasn't any doubt about who she'd sign with.

"I knew McNeese was my first choice if they offered," said Hughes, whose mother, former Holden player Krystal Courtney-Hughes, announced her daughter's commitment on Facebook on Sunday.

"The coaches and players were real people. They were genuine, and that's amazing when you're going to college."

For Robinson, who posted news of her commitment on her Twitter account on Sunday, McNeese presented a complete package in what she was looking for in a college.

"First of all, it has my major (mechanical engineering), because education comes first," said Robinson, who wanted to stay in Louisiana for college. "My parents and I are strong believers that after college I'm going to have to do something with my life, so they have my major. And I love the coaches. And their team ... they just click together. They're like sisters."

Hughes and Robinson both said there were certain aspects at McNeese that reminded them of their respective high schools.

"Literally, everyone is different, but they all come together, and they do a lot of things together and they bond a lot," Hughes said of the McNeese team. "That's something that my team (at Holden) does, and I didn't want to lose that when going to college."

"Their support system is equal to or more than at Holden, because at Holden, the people that are behind us in our fan section is incredibly supportive, and so is McNeese."

Kaylee Hughes head shot (2017)


Robinson, who was an honorable mention All-Parish choice, said attending McNeese's home football game against Florida Tech on Saturday reminded her of Friday nights during football season at Denham Springs High.

"It was fun," Robinson said. "It was different but fun. It reminds me of my high school student section, but it's a little more crazy because it's college."

Both players are glad to have the recruiting process behind them.

"I'm a very nervous person," said Hughes, who was also recruited by Loyola and Mobile University and is undecided on a major. "I get in my head too much, so (not) having that all going on during the season is definitely a relief, and I think she (McNeese coach Kacie Cryer) knew that, so she put that on the table early."

Added Robinson: "The recruiting process is stressful. It was fun and I learned a lot of new things that I didn't know, but it's stressful. It's good not to have to worry about where I'm going to college because I know now."

Robinson said she also discussed her role with Cowgirls, and it shouldn't change much from the one she's embraced at Denham Springs.

"I get the rebounds and the putbacks -- do the stuff that a lot of people don't do -- the physical part of basketball," Robinson. "All the coaches were like: 'We need your size. We need that at McNeese.' And not just because I'm big, but because I'm productive at what I do. I'm not trying to be cocky, but that's what they told me."

Maia Robinson head shot


Although Hughes and Robinson said they just got to know each other on their visit to McNeese, Robinson said they already share a common bond when it comes to playing basketball, specifically in Livingston Parish.

"I think that we work hard for the things that we want, so when it's time to get down to business, I know there's not going to be any question that she's going to do her job and I'm going to do mine," Robinson said of Hughes.

There may be a little bit of business for Hughes and Robinson to take care of before they become teammates.

"Just last year, me and Maia were playing it out, and hopefully we'll be playing it out again in the Livingston Parish Tournament this year against each other," Hughes said.

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