COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Nothing unusual about players’ family members showing up in the crowd for NCAA Tournament games, of course.
In the case of Princeton freshman forward Leslie Robinson, that could include Aunt Michelle – as in, first lady Michelle Obama.
Her brother, Craig, is Robinson’s father; he played basketball at Princeton and used to be the men’s coach at Oregon State. Obama went to Princeton, too.
So President Barack Obama showed a bit of favoritism when predicting Princeton, which is 30-0 but only a No. 8 seed, would make it to the women’s Final Four this year.
Robinson wouldn’t share any inside info Friday as to whether the first family – including the Obamas’ teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia – might be in the stands Saturday for Princeton’s first-round game against Wisconsin-Green Bay in College Park, Maryland.
”That’s my uncle and my aunt, my cousins. They’re my family, just like anyone else’s family at the games to support them,” Robinson said.
”They do live pretty close,” she added with a wide smile. ”But there are also many other things happening around the world today, so we’ll just have to see.”
In November, when Princeton was in Washington to play at American University, Michelle Obama attended the game, along with her daughters and mother. The first lady spoke with the Tigers at halftime.
And a day earlier, the Princeton team got a private tour of the White House, even getting a chance to shoot some hoops on the basketball court there.
Michelle Obama and her daughters were in Asia on Friday, although as Princeton coach Courtney Banghart joked, ”That would be a tough commute, but I’m not going to be surprised. They have powers to get where they need to be.”
President Obama is known for being a big basketball fan, one who makes public his NCAA Tournament picks each year and has made a point of attending NBA and college games in D.C.
As for his bracket this time, the one that has Princeton emerging from the College Park games on top-seeded Maryland’s home court and getting all the way to the national semifinals?
Terrapins coach Brenda Frese was unfazed.
”He has strong loyalty, which makes sense. Everyone wants to keep a happy home,” Frese said. ”Maybe one of these days, though, if there isn’t a family member (involved), he’ll choose Maryland. I just keep seeing that he’s not choosing Maryland, and we’re in his backyard.”
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