A native of Atlanta, Robbie Armbrester began to make a name for himself early as a two-sport standout in both football and basketball. After an injury setback during his freshman season of football, he decided to focus solely on hoops. Armbrester has always brought energy and athleticism to the table, but his recruitment started to heat up as he matured into his 6’5” 215-pound frame. After three productive seasons at Therrell High School (GA), Armbrester decided to transfer to Wasatch Academy (UT) for his senior season. The University of Houston commit has made an immediate impact thanks to his high motor, powerful athleticism, secondary playmaking, and overall versatility.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Ambrester discusses proving people wrong, what he brings to a team on and off the court, adjusting to Wasatch Academy, his commitment to Houston, various off-court interests, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2021 prospect Robbie Armbrester, from Atlanta, Georgia:
Pro Insight: Tell us about your background.
Robbie Armbrester: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I got four siblings — two brothers and two sisters. I’m the youngest.
PI: Do any of them play sports?
RA: My two brothers played sports, but they don’t play no more.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
RA: Yes, I played football. I played QB, DE — everything really.
PI: When did you decide to focus only on basketball?
RA: It was [after] my last football game in ninth grade. I got hurt and my mom went with me to the hospital and I told her I was just going to stick with basketball.
PI: What was the injury?
RA: It was my ankle...I dropped back trying to roll out and a DE held onto my shoe and broke my ankle.
PI: Describe your game for those that haven’t seen you — what are your greatest strengths?
RA: I’m basically like an energy guy with skills. I can push the ball, make decisions, rebound at a high level...I bring energy. I do stuff people don’t expect me to do...I wipe my face on the ball, I do everything to get my teammates going. I’m an energy guy with skills. I can do anything.
PI: Does being the energizer come naturally to you?
RA: I’ve always been an energy guy — someone with a high motor and all of that, but the skills started coming along [later]. I feel way more comfortable this semester dribbling the ball. Coach trusts me pushing the ball and stuff like that.
PI: What are some areas of improvement?
RA: I definitely have to improve my jump shot and make it more consistent. I can shoot 3s, but I need to improve. Always working on my dribbling every day — I go to the gym late at night to dribble the ball. So I think working on my 3s and dribbling.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
RA: That I can make decisions. People don’t think I can make decisions, but I can push the ball and get everybody involved. I can make the midrange at a high level, my midrange is like Kawhi Leonard, like no play. I can make the midrange at a high level, I can push the ball, and stuff like that.
PI: What went into your decision to attend Wasatch Academy?
RA: Basically to get better, because people always say, “Robbie you at a 2A at Therrell High School, you’re not getting better. Go out there to a national schedule and show people.” So my mindset this semester is to show people that I can play with the best, that’s it. Just trying to compete with the best and show everybody that I can play with the best.
PI: Why Wasatch Academy, specifically? Were there other schools in consideration?
RA: There were definitely other schools like Hargrave, IMG, stuff like that, but I just chose Wasatch Academy because they treated me like family. Coaches told me straight up what it’s going to be, like nothing is going to be handed to you, you’ve got to work for everything. There’s no favoritism, none of that. I’ve got to earn everything I get, like playing time and everything like that. I like that because it helps me for college — like when I go to Houston nothing is going to be handed to me. I’ll have to go in there and show that I can play with the best and work for it.
PI: What was the adjustment like coming from Atlanta to Mount Pleasant, Utah?
RA: Oh man, it was hard to adjust. My second week I missed my family, I was like, “Oh my God I wanna go home.” But I know this is best for me so I had to fight through it. Like the whole time just stay in the gym, listen to my music, and keep working and getting better.
PI: Is this your first time being away for school?
RA: Yes, sir. This is my first time because I stayed at Therrell High School for three years.
PI: Did you consider going to bigger schools earlier in your high school career?
RA: No, because my coach at Therrell, he was like the best coach for me. My plan was to stay at Therrell for four years, but he had to do what was best for his family so he went to a different school and that translated to me going to Wasatch Academy.
PI: What went into the decision to commit to Houston?
RA: Houston kept it real with me. I remember Coach Sampson told me over the summer, he was like, “Robbie you need to get better this summer.” He told me that straight up. I’ve never had a coach that kept it real with me like that. He kept it real the whole process with what they need from me, what they want me to do when I come in. So I trust them with my basketball career, so I picked Houston because they treated me like family from day one. They offered me when I was injured and stuff like that. I feel like they were very consistent with their recruitment.
PI: What was their recruiting pitch to you?
RA: Basically they just told me to be that energy guy, be that versatile player. So they always preach that to me every time. They say, “Robbie, I love your motor, I love your energy. You’re a versatile player, you can play the shooting guard through center.” But they told me I can’t play the PG. They said, “no you can’t play the PG, but you can play the 2-through-5.” [laughs].
PI: What type of system best fits your playing style?
RA: Getting the rebound and pushing — playing a fast pace. I feel like fast pace is when I play my best and nobody can stop me because I’m athletic enough to get above the rim. I’ve got a good IQ to find the open man for the 3.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
RA: I bring love. Like if you’re going through something you can talk to me and stuff like that, so I’m like a good person. Off the court, I make people laugh. I just want to see everybody happy. I hate when people around me aren’t happy. I feel like if you’re around me and you’re not happy then I’ve gotta do something to make you happy. I’m that type of person. I try to talk to everybody, listen to different peoples’ stories and stuff like that, just hear them out.
PI: What are some of your interests outside of basketball?
RA: I like to go to movies with friends and work out. I like to work out a lot to just prove people wrong. I hate when people label me. I just want to go get better and prove people wrong. So work out and hang with friends. I also love music. My two favorite rappers are Lil Baby and Corny Cash...that’s all I listen to.
PI: What movies have you seen lately?
RA: We definitely watch This Christmas, I love that movie, I’ll watch it every time. It’s like a 2010 movie, it’s a good family movie. I watch SportsCenter. 5AM SportsCenter is the best. I wake up and watch SportsCenter at 5AM, I love watching the highlights.
PI: How would you rate yourself on 2K?
RA: That’s a good question. I’d say a 90, but my dunk has gotta be at least a 96. I’m not gassing, I can do a lot more dunks. So I feel like my dunk is a 96.
PI: What’s been your best in-game dunk?
RA: A baseline 360, that was the best. I also did another little 360 [dunk], but the baseline was different. It’s like a gunshot when I hit it in, I re-watch it to this day.
PI: If you could choose a career outside of basketball what would it be?
RA: Football. I love football.
PI: Would you say football is your first love?
RA: Yeah, I love football.
PI: What position would you play at the next level?
RA: QB. I got a cannon, I can throw far. So yeah, QB.
PI: Were you being recruited in football before you stopped?
RA: Yeah I had a little bit...like college coaches talking to me, but I felt like basketball was it. I like when the fans are close to me, I can give that energy and have them feel my presence. In football the fans [are far away], but I like them close so I can give them that energy. I like basketball’s energy.
PI: What are four words that best describe you?
RA: Outgoing. Caring. Funny. Cool.