Following a Family Tradition, Robbie Bellamy Commits to USC
by Ali Jones
, 7 September 2012
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Robbie Bellamy's steady climb in the rankings over the past two years has been so phenomenal that when the new Tennis Recruiting Star Ratings come out this month, he will be a newly minted Blue Chip. His rise, timed to perfection, has not gone unnoticed by coaches.
Calls were coming in from the top programs from across the country. After careful deliberation, the reigning 18s champion
of the Southern California Sectionals narrowed his choices down to two: top-ranked USC
or third-ranked UCLA
California born and bred, Bellamy knew that both programs are outstanding and that both coaches are equally accomplished. While he entertained the possibility of leaving his home state, the fact that his final two were within a half-hour drive from the family home was a big plus.
"Billy Martin is amazing, the nicest guy ever, and a great, great coach," Bellamy said. "His team does well every year. Clay Thompson and Dennis Mkrtchian speak so highly of him and that just made my opinion of him go way up."
Ultimately, however, his decision became powerfully emotional, and he verbally committed to the Trojans, reigning four-time NCAA champions.
"We were in the new athletics building at USC, walking with Coach [Peter] Smith," he said. "And we randomly, just out of nowhere, saw my mom's name on the wall. It made me want to get my name up on the wall too."
Beth Herr Bellamy, now a lawyer and mother to four tennis-playing boys, won both NCAA singles and team titles as a freshman at USC. She postponed college for the pro circuit, where she ranked in the top 20 in the world, and had significant wins over names such as Navratilova, Shriver, Fernandez, Mandlikova and Wade.
Robbie Bellamy believes his upward trajectory will continue under the guidance of Coach Peter Smith. Smith was named 2011 Pac-10 Coach of the Year for an undefeated conference season and has compiled a .746 record at USC, which now boasts 19 national men's tennis team titles, the most in the country.
"It's the best program in the country and the coaches do a remarkable job with their athletes," he said. "I feel that's where I'm going to improve the most."