Danielle Robinson never stops learning.
The former South Broward High star was the first recruit signed when LeAnn Freeland became Nova Southeastern coach four-plus years ago.
Robinson, a 5-8 guard, helped NSU reach the NCAA Division II Elite Eight or better in each of the past three years. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science and a Master’s in Athletic Administration.
Now she’s back at NSU for one more year, this time as a graduate assistant coach.
“They can’t get rid of me,” joked Robinson, 22.
Robinson, who took six years of Spanish classes from middle school to high school, this season will work on getting her certificate in distance learning, which will allow her to teach online courses.
She has also been training to work as a referee, and she hasn’t given up on her playing career. She suffered a knee injury midway through last season and kept on playing through the end of the playoffs before having surgery.
Now Robinson can use this season to get her knee completely healed and learn about potential future careers — coaching and/or officiating.
Plus, if she does sign with an overseas pro team — clubs in Spain, Bolivia and Romania have shown interest — perhaps her conversational Spanish skills can be of assistance and she can teach online classes in her off time.
“Danielle is an exceptional person,” Freeland said. “When we had an opening for a graduate assistant, she came to mind immediately.”
Freeland, assistant coach Abbie Tepe and Robinson will be leading an NSU team that returns two starters — 5-6 senior point guard Monaye Merritt, who led NSU in assists, and 5-9 senior guard Alexis Murphy. The two combined to average 17.8 points.
In addition, 5-5 junior guard Taylor Buie returns after a knee injury cost her last season. She led the team in scoring (15.1) in the 2013-2014 season.
NSU also picked up two players who were Division I starters last season — 6-0 senior point guard Ida Krogh from Siena and 5-9 junior shooting guard Octavia Wilson, who led New Orleans in scoring as a freshman.
The Sharks don’t have any players over 6-foot, but that’s normal for this team, which likes to play up-tempo. The team’s top two post players, at least off of past performances, are 5-11 junior Kayla Wright, who averaged 11.6 points last season, and 5-11 senior Molly Bromer, who averaged 5.7 points.
Freeland said 5-9 sophomore wing Mary Hirt and 5-11 sophomore forward Katie Barnard are her two most improved players, and the coach believes she has 10 to 12 players who are capable of starting.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PREVIEW CAPSULES
Barry (NCAA Division II
Coach: Bill Sullivan; Last season: 15-16; Top players: 5-8 sr. SG Jackie Perez (11.1 pts.); 5-11 sr. PF Amra Elezovic (9.9 pts., 5.3 rbs.); 5-8 sr. PG Ines Kerin (8.5 pts, 4.6 ast. in 2013-2014); Noteworthy: Perez is five 3-pointers away from breaking school’s career record.
Broward College (junior college)
Coach: MJ Baker; Last season: 5-23; Top players: 6-0 fr. G Ieva Spigule (from Latvia); 5-3 fr. PG Nicole Jimenez (Florida Christian); 6-0 fr. F Weknye Dumorne (Hallandale); Noteworthy: Sophomores Jane Svilberg, a 6-0 guard who averaged 7 points, and Queralt Colt Pradas, a 6-2 center who averaged 8 points, are the top returners.
Florida Memorial (NAIA)
Coach: Gregory Stanback; Last season: 10-20; Top players: 5-10 jr. F Nicole Collins; 5-3 sr. PG Diamond Colebrooke; 5-11 so. F Abreona Cabell; Noteworthy: The Lions reached the conference quarterfinals last season.
Johnson & Wales (NAIA)
Coach: Kymberly Hope; Last season: 9-19; Top players: 5-4 so. PG Diamond Williams; 5-9 jr. F Kwanita Janvier; 6-2 jr. F Bailey Ford; Noteworthy: Williams averaged 11.4 points and 3.5 assists as a freshman starter last season.
Miami Dade College (junior college)
Coach: Susan Summons; Last year: 15-16; Top players: 5-8 so. G Nachalie De Jesus; 5-10 so. G Vicky Jones; 6-1 so. C Javieonna Norris (transferred from Division I Western Kentucky); Noteworthy: MDC last season qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Nova Southeastern (NCAA Division II)
Coach: LeAnn Freeland; Last season: 27-6; Top players: 5-5 jr. PG Taylor Buie; 5-11 jr. F Kayla Wright (11.6 pts.); 5-6 sr. PG Monaye Merritt (9.7 pts., team-leading 4.2 assists); Noteworthy: Buie led the team in scoring (15.1) in 2013-2014 before missing last season due to injury. The Sharks have made the NCAA Elite Eight three years in a row.
St. Thomas (NAIA)
Coach: Albrey Grimsley; Last season: 27-5; Top players: 5-7 fr. G Katie Rienas; 6-0 jr. G/F Supavadee Kunchan; 5-7 jr. G Jalisa Swift; Noteworthy: The Bobcats made it to the NAIA’s round of 32 but will have to replace graduated star Dannisha Pierce, who averaged 19.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.