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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Vols land much more than a terrific player in Hubbs

Monday, September 17, 2012

Somewhere around 7:30 Monday morning, while my cell phone was charging, the buzzing started.

After a few minutes I couldn't take it any longer so I went to get the device to see what was so urgent.

As soon as I read the first texted message, I smiled as though I knew it all along even if I didn't.

'Hubbs to Tennessee....Go Vols' was all it said, but it spoke volumes at the same time. The message came from East Tennessee and I felt as though I'd dropped the ball for not already knowing.

Though knowing Robert was in Knoxville over the weekend, I thought he wouldn't be making a decision so soon. Funny how the whole Tennessee thing kind of reaches out and grabs you isn't it?

So, his decision has been made and the flood of phone calls will now cease. He will be wearing orange for a little while longer at DC, but for quite a bit longer in Knoxville.

With the commitment, Tennessee is getting a player ranked as high as No.11 in the nation by Rivals.com, and oh me are they getting not only a very good basketball player, but an even better young man.

In basketball, Hubbs has the opportunity to shine like no other player Dyer County has ever seen. He will do so because he's already got everything he needs to be successful. A solid game on and off the court is what he will need, and he already has both.

Anyone can play the game, but only a certain chosen few will be good enough to garner the attention Hubbs has over the last few years. Consider the young man just turned 17-years-old and he already has the maturity of someone much older and it starts to sink in just how special he already is. I say already because he's going to become even more special over the next few years and then some.

Unfazed by the notoriety that comes with constantly being regarded as one of the best in the nation, Hubbs stays grounded for several different reasons. The most important reason I see is the fact that his parents, Robert II and Lesia, have raised him to be the way he is and to not ever get too high or too low.

I saw an example of the person he is on Monday. It may not mean much to most, but to me it was just another example of why people flock to be around him.

Walking to sit down for our interview to talk about his commitment to Tennessee, we approached a table that only had one chair. I kindly told Robert to have a seat and I'd simply stand. "No sir," he said. "I'll go and get you a chair."

Like I said, it may not mean much to most, but Hubbs is different than most kids we see involved in sports today. He cares about people and it's genuine. He isn't fake and he doesn't walk around talking about himself even though most wouldn't blame him if he did.

His head still fits through the door just as it did last year and the year before. He doesn't have to walk sideways to get through it either.

He talks about his team at DC with the utmost respect. He hopes for the team to win a state title, not for himself but for the high school as well as the people of Dyer County.

Robert Hubbs III has got a future as bright as the orange he wears today and the same orange he will wear in the future. He's a class act that doesn't act like he belongs, he knows he does.

As I ended the interview, we shook hands and walked out of the gym. Robert grabbed the chair to return it to where it belonged. I looked at him and laughed while saying, in about 5 years I'm going to be watching an NBA game and say look at that Hubbs kid making all those millions of dollars.

One day years ago he carried my chair.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@stategazette.com

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Robert...Keep ur head on str8... Congrads to u and ur parents.... Keep ur career moving forward. U Did a lot for Dyer Co and owe them nothing... Don't let anyone pressure u into nothing...The majority of them guys are back in Newbern selling drugs and in Jail.... Use that as a motivation and remember ur upbringing by ur parents and u will be str8... God 1st...

-- Posted by DMASE on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 12:05 AM

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