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'It's surreal. All the hard work is paying off': Desert Vista's Jerzy Robinson among top young talents in the country

The freshman basketball phenom out of Phoenix already has ten Division I offers.

PHOENIX — The AIA High School State Basketball Championships tip off Thursday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix with the first-ever Open Division title games happening on Saturday.

The top-seeded Desert Vista girls will face the sixth-seeded Millennium Tigers at 3 p.m. for a chance to lift the golden basketball as champions. The DV girls are stacked with talent and freshman phenom Jerzy Robinson is already getting national attention.

"It's surreal. All the hard work is paying off," Robinson said of a chance to play for a State Championship. "We still have unfinished business but we're ready to work hard."

What Robinson does on the basketball court has already earned the teenager ten Division I offers from programs like UCLA, USC, Alabama, and Ohio State. The 5-11 guard is considered one of the most talented young players in the country, ranked on ESPNW's recruiting watch list for the class of 2026.

"She has an opportunity to be the best I've ever seen," Kevin McCabe, host of AZPrepsLive said. "Now, it's only 43 years I've been doing this but it's just a magical thing she does on the floor."

McCabe has earned the nickname 'The Dean of High School Sports' having spent decades watching elite athletes come out of Arizona and he says Robinson is the total package.

"She has the talent, she has vision, she has point presence, she's just got great basketball IQ as a freshman. That's what blew me away," McCabe said. "Oh, by the way, she can score! It's just really a rare talent. A unicorn, I like to call her."

Robinson isn't the only player turning heads at Desert Vista. Junior guard Shay Ijiwoye has offers from Stanford, Michigan, and USC among others. The Thunder girls are coming into the Open State Championship game with a 27-3 record, with all three of their losses coming against top programs from out of state. While DV is considered one of the top 25 teams in the country, Robinson and Ijiwoye are still working hard to cement their legacy as Open Division champs.

"We have all the talent in the world but at the end of the day we have to be composed and play from the first tip to the last buzzer," Ijiwoye said. "We've been talking about this since summer so to finally have it, we're just grateful that it's us. The fact that the girls' game keeps growing more and more we're just happy to be a part of it."

Robinson and Ijiwoye credit their head coach, Dave Williams, with setting them up for success this season. Williams was hired to coach the DV girls in 2020 after coaching the boys' team for four seasons, leading the Thunder to the Division I state semifinals in 2012. Coaching players like Robinson and Ijiwoye has made this season rewarding for the longtime DV faculty member.

"They complement each other so well. Both of them are amazing. We were good without them, but now we're great," Williams said. "We're great with them two because they can finish the game and they can give us big baskets when we need it. It's a lot of fun coaching them."

The Desert Vista girls’ games started drawing a crowd as the season went on, with players like Robinson and Ijiwoye inspiring the next generation of hoopers out of Phoenix. Now they have a chance to make history as Arizona's first Open Division champions.

"We started off with not too many fans early in the year and then it built up and it's just amazing to have all this support," Robinson said. "We love each other, and we work hard, so it's an amazing feeling. To all the girls out there: just work hard and follow your dreams."

Follow the conversation with Lina Washington on Twitter: @LWashingtonTV. If you have a sports story idea, e-mail Lina at LWashington@12News.com.


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