University of Maine at Farmington junior forward Riley Robinson (20) takes the ball down the court during a recent game against Northern Vermont-Johnson at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

FARMINGTON — Flashing a smile during a basketball game is a not a priority for Riley Robinson — whose gravitas on the court is also reflected in his studies at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The UMF 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior forward is the team’s spokesman when it is embroiled in a game. His communication skills are invaluable to the fast-moving Beavers.

He is also an honor student majoring in economics, but he is all business on the floor and in the classroom. He’s one of the guys calling the shots out there and is also responsible for getting his teammates into position on defense.

As far as the limelight or smiling, he shuns both to remain focused when he is on call at Dearborn Gymnasium.

“I try to have fun out there,” the Dirigo High School graduate said. “I love playing basketball, but I am very competitive. I am very serious out there. All I want to do is win and win at all costs.”

UMF men’s basketball coach Dick Meader said Robinson’s many attributes all add up to a player with a strong work ethic.

“Strength, desire to win, desire to play, I.Q. and a pretty good shot,” Meader said. “He’s a good defender. He does all aspects well. He rebounds well. A lot of nights he is our leader in rebounding. He has a feel for the game and makes jump shots and perimeter shots.

“Every night he comes to work in practice. In the summer, he works out and is dedicated to the weight room.”

When he sinks a 3-pointer or dishes the ball off to an open teammate, he doesn’t parade around the floor over his exploits. He gets back into position and prepares for what’s next.

“My dad always told me, ‘Act like you have done it before,’” Robinson said. “Whenever I score, whenever we get a pass, you’ve got to act like you’ve been there before.”

Total package

For the past nine games, Robinson has “been there” many times, averaging about 31 minutes and 16.8 points per game. The playmaker, who has collected 25 assists so far, also does his job inside the paint, pulling down 50 offensive and defensive rebounds and earning 16 steals.

“He is always an outlet to the ball when we are in trouble,” Meader said. “Very good low-post player. He doesn’t shoot as much, but he has a great jumper and then he can step out and hit 3s.

“He talks and gets people into position, organizes people and rebounds and finishes off the defense. He gets the most out of his body and is a smart player.”

Robinson understands his role on the floor, and that benefits the Beavers.

“Offensively, I get the ball where it needs to be — whether it be me putting it in the hoop, me finding the mismatch, me finding the open guy on the 3-point line or me just facilitating getting an offensive rebound, I don’t care,” Robinson said. “I just want to win.

“I am physical on defense. I am not afraid to mix it up a little bit and I am going to be there, rotation-wise. My coach Rick Moore, AAU coach, we did shell (defensive drill) at least an hour and half every practice, so I got that down pat pretty good. I will get physical and I will rebound it as well.

“A lot of times, we run the two-three zone, and in the middle of the zone, I can see everything. So I got to talk to my guys and let them know where people are at.”

Robinson is unselfish with the ball and always looks for the open man.

“There is nothing I like more than giving a nice pass to my teammate and watching him score,” Robinson said.

UMF was an easy sell

After high school, Division III football and basketball coaches were vying for Robinson’s attention, but he wanted to play basketball for Meader.

“I chose UMF for two reasons: One is coach Meader,” Robinson said. “I don’t need to say anything about him. He is one of the best college coaches in Maine history, in New England history.

“My high school coach, Travis Magnusson, played for him and my AAU coac,h Rick Moore, played for him. So (Meader) couldn’t have come more highly regarded from coaches — and UMF made sense for me financially. I got good grades in high school so they were able to offer me some educational scholarships. So it just made sense for me.”

Along the way, Robinson has made lifelong friends with his teammates while enjoying his experience at UMF.

“I love the guys on my team. Honestly, we are all best friends,” Robinson said. “Every night after practices, we are squading up at one of our places and just chilling, just playing some video games … and just enjoying each other’s company.”

Robinson takes academics seriously and he treats his studies like he is calling the ball in a zone defense.

“I like to be by myself in my room, lock my door, not talk to anybody and do my homework,” Robinson said.

Robinson’s intelligence certainly carries over to basketball, and Meader appreciates the junior forward’s smarts.

“That basketball I.Q. makes him a little bit quicker and he anticipates well. He’s the leader of the group,” Meader said. “He’s coachable and he wants to win, wants to get better. He is the ideal player to coach.”

And Meader’s praise just might make Robinson smile, too — off the court, of course.

University of Maine at Farmington junior forward Riley Robinson (20) is introduced with the rest of his teammates before a recent game against Northern Vermont-Johnson at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

University of Maine at Farmington junior forward Riley Robinson (20) looks for an open man during a recent game against Northern Vermont-Johnson at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

University of Maine at Farmington junior forward Riley Robinson (20) is congratulated by UMF assistant coach Nate Carson during a recent game against Northern Vermont-Johnson at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)