Robbie Heath moved from Australia to the United States when he was 13 to follow in his father’s footsteps and play basketball at Abington.
Robert “Tiger” Heath netted 1,065 points for the Ghosts from 1978 to ’82. As a senior, he averaged 25 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocked shots while leading Abington to a 29-3 mark and the program’s first PIAA District 1 Class 3A crown with an 83-80 defeat of powerhouse Chester. He was a 6-foot-6 center for coach Jim Wilkinson’s squad.
He played professional ball in Australia for a time and started a family there. Then he returned to the United States.
“He and my mom [Kerri] thought playing here would give me the best chance to get noticed by college coaches and, hopefully, earn a scholarship,” said his 18-year-old son, who hails from the town of Whittlesea, a northern suburb of Melbourne.
Robbie Heath’s mother and sisters Brie, 24, and Chelsea, 16, remained in Australia.
Heath, a senior guard who last season joined his father as a member of the school’s 1,000-point club, is putting the finishing touches on a stellar four-year career.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder registered 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists in 24 minutes as Abington romped past visiting Neshaminy, 71-41, Tuesday night in the second round of the PIAA District 1 Class 6A tournament.
“He handles the ball well. He can get to the basket and score, and he’s a dangerous three-point shooter,” Ghosts coach Charles Grasty said.
Heath has totaled 1,503 points at Abington, ranking him third on the program’s all-time list behind 1975 graduate Richard Wright (1,681) and 2004 product Kevin Oleksiak (1,525).
With Heath averaging 16.7 points, Abington last season went 24-5 overall, captured the Suburban One League National Division crown and claimed its second district championship in three seasons.
With 6-7 forward Eric Dixon (23.7-point average) and combination guard Lucas Monroe (13.1) as the other catalysts, the Ghosts are 19-5 entering Friday night’s district quarterfinal against Norristown (17-7). Both juniors are Division I recruits.
After sitting out two games due to an injured finger, Dixon returned against Neshaminy and produced 19 points and five boards. Monroe pitched in 11 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
The other starters for Abington, which is ranked No. 9 in Southeastern Pennsylvania, are junior guard Darious Brown and 6-3 senior forward Brandon Coffman.
Heath has returned to Whittlesea each summer to visit his mother and sisters.
“Going back to Australia and not playing AAU ball may have hurt my recruitment, but I wanted to see my family,” he said. “I think it’s only a matter of time before a school will offer me a scholarship.”
Heath has drawn interest from Division I Hartford and Division II schools Bloomsburg and Millersville. “Coaches aren’t seeing how good he is,” Grasty said, matter-of-factly.
While growing up Down Under, Heath also competed in track and field and played Aussie rules football for multiple club teams.