It’s a seemingly effortless exercise for Jamilyn Ayo-Robinson.
She dribbles and launches shots from various points beyond the 3-point arc in the Ascension Christian gym.
The net barely moves as the soft shots float through the goal one after the other. Ayo-Robinson enjoys these times, sometimes spending hours on many nights to perfect her craft.
“There are definitely things I need to improve on,” she said softly. “My defense is one thing. Being vocal and becoming more of a leader is another. I’m learning.”
The 5-foot-10 junior-to-be isn’t one of Louisiana’s best-known players. That is changing, thanks in part to a trip to USA Basketball’s under-17 tryout camp in Colorado Springs last week.
Ayo-Robinson didn’t make the final cut. Stories about her skills/potential are making the rounds, though.
“I was so excited for her to go to the USA camp,” McDonogh 35 coach Darius Mims said. “Playing in high school, and especially at a small school, there are things she doesn’t see and or get to do.
“I wanted her to see the top players and understand that her skills are comparable. I think she’s one of the top five players in the state. And when the light comes on and that talent and potential come together, the sky is the limit. I really believe that.”
Mims is coaching Ayo-Robinson for the second straight AAU summer. She plays for the New Orleans-based Lady Pumas.
There will be AAU practices later this week as the Lady Pumas prepare for the state tournament in Hammond.
Until then, Ayo-Robinson will be locked in and working out at her home base — Class 1A Ascension Christian. She averaged 28 points, four rebounds and four assists per game for the Lions and was voted the District 6-1A MVP, a league that includes another talented rising junior, LSU commitment Cailain Williams of Southern Lab.
Ayo-Robinson’s breakout sophomore season included games of 41, 40 and 39 points for the Lions. Those efforts were the byproduct of a significant breakthrough.
“The biggest difference for me this year was confidence,” Ayo-Robinson said. “This year I believed more in myself and my skills. I felt like I could make the plays for my team.”
With the burden of talent and potential comes responsibility. Ayo-Robinson gets that and the part about dedication. She owns a 4.0 grade-point average and also has another important taskmaster in Tenisha Jordan Evans, who serves as an assistant coach to Josh Puryear.
Evans was a star player at Brusly and also played at Southeastern Louisiana.
“She has so much potential,” Evans said. “She came a long way with her confidence, and that’s going to continue to grow. She likes to take the ball to the basket, and she’s comfortable shooting from outside.
“But she’ll back away from contact. We want to see her take that contact and turn it into more one-on-one situations. There’s room for her game to grow.”
Evans smiles and says she sometimes butts heads with Ayo-Robinson, reminding her of her own playing days. Evans is determined to see how far she can push the Lions star player.
To date, Ayo-Robinson has scholarship offers from SLU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane.
More offers should come. She’s contemplating adding camps to SMU, TCU and LSU to her summer schedule.
Those camps would provide new ways for Ayo-Robinson to stretch her wings and her skills. Maya Moore and Skylar Diggins are WNBA players she idolizes. When she isn’t watching basketball, Ayo-Robinson watches movies.
She prefers comedies with a few horror flicks mixed in. With a flick of the wrists, another jumper falls through the goal.
The latter has all the makings of a horror show for opponents. That’s not what Ayo-Robinson sees. “I’ve got to work to get better,” she said.