POINT PLEASANT — She's just 11 years old, but a fifth-grader is drawing the attention of NBA general managers by telling them about her favorite Monmouth University basketball player.

The Asbury Park Press first reported the efforts of Erica Schaeffer, whose family has Monmouth season tickets, to promote Justin Robinson, a senior point guard who may be on his way to winning a second consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Player of the Year award. Schaeffer sent personalized letters with a scouting report on Robinson to all 30 teams in the sport's highest league, the report said, adding local flavor in her notes to the Knicks (Robinson hails from Kingston, New York) and Sixers (Schaeffer's dad is a fan).

In its history, Monmouth has boasted only one NBA player: Toms River-born Alex Blackwell, who played 27 games for the 1992-93 Los Angeles Lakers, alongside aging icons James Worthy, Byron Scott and A.C. Green. The school's athletic department has gotten some recognition early in 2017 with the emergence of alumnus Chris Hogan as a top target for Tom Brady during the New England Patriots' run to another Super Bowl championship.

Still, because Monmouth hails from a smaller conference, Schaeffer thought Robinson could use a boost, and that his per-game averages of 19.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists — nearly copycatting last year's 19.3, 3.8 and 3.7 — might not be enough on their own to draw the eye of the NBA.

So Erica decided to introduce the GMs to the Justin Robinson she knows, the one who even wished her a happy birthday at a game earlier this year:

Anyone that has ever had the chance to see Justin play immediately notices the command he has of the court. He is a once in a lifetime talent that possesses the heart and soul of a warrior ... I know that you are looking at many talented players for next year's team. Some might even have statistics close to Justin. None have his desire and character. The statistics show that Justin Robinson is a fantastic player. What they don't show is that he is an even better person." — Erica's letter to the Detroit Pistons

Schaeffer has actually begun to get some responses, first emails from the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, and then a handwritten note from Pistons GM Jeff Bower which Schaeffer's dad, Eric, has been sharing. It was Eric who raised the possibility that Robinson might play overseas after graduating, spurring Erica's campaign to keep him stateside so she can watch his career unfold.

And, it just might work.

"We are very familiar with Justin Robinson and his accomplishments at Monmouth University," Bower said in his card. "You are a great fan of Monmouth and college basketball!"

Pistons GM Jeff Bower's note to Erica
Pistons GM Jeff Bower's note to Erica (Photo courtesy of Eric Schaeffer)

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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