Kelsey Robledo, seen here playing for San Benito in 2012, played two years at Monterey Peninsula College before recently earning a scholarship to play at Sonoma State University.

For Kelsey Robledo, playing basketball isn’t just a passion—it’s an addiction.
A healthy one.
“My (older) sister (Katelyn) got me hooked on the game (when I was in the second grade),” said Robledo, who recently earned a scholarship to play at Sonoma State University next season. “I fell in love with the game the first time I saw it. (For the past several years) there’s really never a time when basketball is not in season for me.”
A 2012 San Benito High graduate, Robledo enjoyed a solid prep career before playing the last two years at Monterey Peninsula College, where she earned All-Coast Conference Honorable Mention honors as a sophomore.
A 6-foot-1 post, Robledo earned her scholarship the good old-fashioned way: with hard work. Ever since she took up the game as a second grader at Aromas School, Robledo has never gone more than a couple of weeks without playing basketball.
Once she got to high school—Robledo played her first two years at Anzar before transferring to San Benito—she could literally count on both hands the number of days she’s gone without picking up a basketball.
“Obviously there’s a period after the season is over when your body needs a break, but I get tired of sitting around after a couple of days,” Robledo said. “I need to go pick up a ball again and play.”
Starting in the second grade, Robledo developed her skills during recess on the playground. Showing moxie, Robledo said she was often the only girl who was willing to mix it up with the boys, and she more than held her own.
“At the time I was taller than a lot of the people at my school, so I was able to rebound and get my shot off over everyone,” she said. “I was always one of the captains (to pick players), and I was just stoked to be able to play the game. I knew I wanted to be a part of this game, and realized early on I had to work harder than anyone to be as good as the players I looked up to.”
At San Benito, Robledo was a post player who scored inside and outside, and she possessed a solid mid-range jumper from 15 feet in. At MPC, Robledo had the green light to shoot it from that range, but she earned her points in workmanlike fashion, often scoring on putbacks, from inside the paint or on fast-break opportunities, when she would simply out-hustle the opposing players down the floor.
Robledo put up modest numbers, averaging 8.2 points and 7 rebounds per game while shooting an excellent 52.4 percent from the floor.
However, Robledo is one of those players whose impact goes far beyond the box score. San Benito girls’ basketball coach Mitch Burley, who coached Robledo during her senior year, said he’s seen a player develop into tremendous shape—literally.
“Because you’re playing more (minutes) in college, the biggest thing I noticed about her was she was a little more athletic and in great shape,” said Burley, who watched MPC play late in the season. “She was stronger and faster, so it was nice to see how she got even better in the last two years.”
Robledo expects to see even greater development in her game in the next two years at Sonoma State, where she’ll be playing against tougher and more skilled competition. When Robledo graduated from San Benito two years ago, she never expected to be in this position.
Her road to Sonoma State started at the junior college level, often a fertile ground for athletic talent.
“I got a call from the MPC coaches saying they would like me to play for them,” she said. “I said, ‘Sign me up,’ and jumped on the opportunity.”
Robledo wasn’t expected to get an opportunity to play at the Division II level, either, until she and her MPC coaches sent video to the Sonoma State coaches, who liked what they saw and invited Robledo to play in one of their open gym scrimmages.
Four-year coaches often invite prospective players to one of their camps or open gyms to get a closer look and evaluate players. Knowing that, Robledo was more than a bit apprehensive once she stepped onto the Sonoma State campus on April 16.
“I was very nervous, but my coaches told me I had the talent, and all I had to do was relax and play hard,” Robledo said. “So that’s what I did.”
Robledo must have purported herself well, as Sonoma State offered her a scholarship after the scrimmage. Robledo was downright giddy, of course, and she accepted the offer the following day. On April 29, she made it official, signing her letter of intent to play for the Seawolves.
“I wasn’t expecting an opportunity like this to come up, so I can’t say enough how happy I am to be able to continue my basketball career,” she said. “When I told my parents the news (while I was driving home after the campus visit), they were so excited and happy for me. There’s really nothing I could do to let them down.”
Indeed, Robledo has rarely let her coaches down, either. Whenever she’s on the court, Robledo knows there’s one thing she can control—her effort level. From the opening tip, Robledo’s energy level rarely wanes.
On the court, Robledo never stops moving, consistently displaying a tremendous will to compete for every rebound and loose ball, as if it was her sole purpose in life.
That’s how she’s gotten this far, and that’s what will carry her to further success at the four-year level. Robledo is consumed by the game in more ways than one. In her room, she has five basketballs, three of which she hardly touches because they’re either autographed or have special meaning.
“Sadly, my basketball career has to end some day,” she said. “But until that happens, I’m going to play as hard as I can for as long as I can.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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