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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Keegan

Keegan: Robinson gives KU glue guy

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Here's why it pays not to freak out every time Kansas University's men's basketball team loses: The last KU team to win a national title, Larry Brown's Danny and the Miracles, lost 11 games.

Imagine all the energy wasted by the masses on those 11 different occasions.

It's better to appreciate that Sherron Collins represents an upgrade from Jeff Hawkins, and Darrell Arthur will produce more than Christian Moody, and the rest of the returning players figure to be better than when KU won 15 of its last 16 before getting bounced in the first round by Bradley last season.

In other words, this should be an amazing season, and it all starts with a pair of exceptional defenders in the backcourt, where Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers feed off the talents of one another and eventually mentally wear down the opposition.

Robinson plays with that in-your-face quality of a New Yorker, harasses his man into panicking, and Chalmers either slaps the ball away or jets into a passing lane for a steal.

Robinson isn't as good without Chalmers helping him out, and Chalmers isn't at his best without Robinson.

Chalmers (sprained toe) didn't play in the second exhibition game, and Collins' 20 points prevented him from being missed much offensively.

Asked whether Chalmers was missed more offensively or defensively, Robinson said: "Both. He's a threat on both ends of the court. A little bit during the game I felt like, 'Wow, where's the guard who helps me out defensively?'"

Robinson would be missed on both ends as well, it's just that his offensive contributions are more subtle because he's not as pure a shooter as the other guards.

Teammates voted him MVP a year ago, which Robinson said, "meant a lot to me." The honor was a strong indication of how much teammates enjoy playing with him.

"Last year I just allowed everybody to be themselves," Robinson said. "I allowed Brandon (Rush) to be himself. I allowed Mario to be himself and so on and so on with the team. I got the best out of everybody and was able to contribute as well."

That's called leadership.

Against Texas A&M;, he scored 21 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. He scored 18 the next game at Iowa State and didn't reach double figures in any of the next five games. Whatever is needed on any given night, he'll morph his game to fit it. In Collins and Arthur, he has two more players to set up.

"I do feel it's my job to keep everything in order and make sure everybody's getting shots," Robinson said. "In doing so I sacrifice a lot of scoring opportunities myself. But if it helps the team, that's what I'm going to do."

He won't be the one getting set free by a down screen so that he can soar and flush a lob. He doesn't soar the way teammates do. He won't be getting that ovation. Glue guys are better judged by a team's victory total than by ovations.

This team has so much versatile talent and is pushed so hard by its coach it's not outrageous to envision Bill Self joining Brown and Roy Williams in having a 35-win season, even with defending national champion Florida on the schedule.

That doesn't mean the Jayhawks will go 40-0. It doesn't mean they won't, either.

Comments

actorman 13 years, 2 months ago

It's nice to dream, isn't it? How amazing would it be to go 40-0? But hey, I'd settle for a national title. I'm not picky or anything.

Even though Robinson won't be getting "that ovation," true fans appreciate how much he means to the team, and how hard it is to find a player who does as much for the team as he does.

Lance_in_AZ 13 years, 2 months ago

Russell was my favorite player to watch last year and I bet he will be my favorite this year. Look all season for him to not be showing 100% and you'll finish the season going WOW!

Impressive game tonite, first game this season I've gotten to see. Go Hawks.

Leprechaunking13 13 years, 2 months ago

give up for the alien baby!!! he's what this team needs to be the #3 team in the nation, Sherron may be able to run the point effectively but not the team the way Robinson does.

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