CHARLOTTE – Sometimes those kids come along that seem everything they do becomes gold and every challenge they embark on turns in their favor.
Charlotte Catholic two-sport star Adam Robbe is not perfect, but his leadership, toughness and will to win has left an impact at the school.
This fall on the football field, Robbe earned all-conference honors as a safety/tight end.
Defensively, he recorded 65 tackles and led the team with six interceptions. On offense, he caught 20 passes for 531 yards and six touchdowns.
In character it was a critical Robbe fourth down reception that got the Cougar offense kickstarted in the championship game, a 17-14 win over Jacksonville. He also had 10 total tackles in that win.
“Toward the end of my junior year and this year, I knew what I could do offensively and that I could be a good weapon,” Robbe said. “Toward the end of the year, I think it started to show. Against Marvin Ridge, I had two touchdowns catches and then I had a big one in the state championship game on a fourth down to kind of get us going. I knew what I could do, and I wanted them to believe in me.”
Straight from the football field, Robbe went to the basketball court and immediately his grit and toughness shone through to Cougar coach Mike King. The team started the season 1-4, but went 15-2 down the stretch, won the Southern Carolina Conference and advanced to the fourth round of the 3A playoffs.
A lot of the credit, King says, should go with his star point guard.
“The hardest thing for the new guys to understand is the level of effort you need at the varsity level. That’s what he brought,” King said. “I can say time and time again, ‘Guys, you need to play harder,’ but he’s out there playing 31 or all 32 minutes, guarding the best player, running the offense and he doesn’t give a fist or a signal to come out. Seeing that, you have to raise your level of play. That’s probably the biggest addition he brought.
“You don’t have to challenge him too much except for with a matchup because he wants to prove that he’s as good as them day in and day out. It’s his competitiveness. You can say leadership and all of that is true, but I think it’s his competitiveness. He’s going to find a way to be successful either way no matter what.”
Robbe had a remarkably good season, winning the Southern Carolinas Player of the Year and earning an all-District nod, putting him in esteemed company of elite high school basketball players.
Robbe’s numbers weren’t flashy, but his impact was immeasurable.
“We see it day in and day out and I’ve seen it for three years. It was pretty simple for me, but when they can see it, that makes it better,” King said. “I was excited to see that coaches saw the same stuff I did.”
For Robbe, it was the perfect send-off and recognition he’s proud to receive.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” he said. “The biggest thing to me is when we beat Marvin Ridge and Weddington and coach King gets a text that says, ‘Man, I love my team, but if I could have one player in the league I think it would be No. 5 on Catholic.’ To hear that about yourself – and knowing all of the hard work and effort I’ve put into the game – means a lot.”
Robbe averaged 9.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game, but when the ball was in his hands good things were going to happen.
But King said the separator was his defense – a skill that in basketball is more about effort and will then it is necessarily about skill.
“I’d rather hold a player to zero points and not score myself than score 30 and give up 30,” he said. “It’s just a challenge, a will to win and I love that. I like guarding Wendell Moore, Hunter Tyson – guys that are playing in the ACC – and showing them that I can play a little bit, too.”
Robbe finishes his high school career with a Player of the Year award, three football state titles and a pair of conference titles in basketball.
He’s decided this is it, though. Although he had some interest in both sports and a football offer from Butler University, Robbe is going to a big school to be a student. He’s already been accepted to N.C. State, South Carolina and Ohio State, and he’s content going there, being a student and starting a fresh chapter.
The one he just closed had a near perfect ending, so he’s excited to see what else is out there.
“I wanted to leave everything out on the court. I never wanted to be done playing basketball and have regrets on how my season ended or about the effort I gave,” he said. “Between football and basketball, the last time you untie the cleats or walk off the court it’s a tough feeling and even when you win a state championship. It was really hard and really emotional. All of the experiences I’ve had with all of these kids since sixth grade are coming to an end and it’s really sad, but it’s got to end at some point.”