The 25th-annual Late Night in the Phog was everything Kansas University freshman Thomas Robinson expected.
“The most fun thing for me? Watching those videos. That’s the most fun I had,” said the 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward from Washington, D.C.
His eyes Friday night were fixed on the Allen Fieldhouse videoboard watching one piece on KU players now in the NBA, the other the annual “Dream On” video, which opened with mention of the Jayhawks’ recent on-court dominance in conference action.
“In 2005, Kansas won the Big 12 title,” the videoboard read.
“Since then, they’ve won it ....
“EVERY YEAR!” the scoreboard flashed, to the delight of 16,300 crazed fans.
Highlights of KU’s last five Big 12 title teams followed along with highlights of the Jayhawks’ 1988 NCAA title victory over Oklahoma and 2008 national championship victory over Memphis.
The Memphis footage included parts of coach Bill Self’s inspirational pregame and postgame speeches.
As far as the live action ... Robinson smiled throughout a dance number in which he wore 1980s style short shorts with KU’s four other newcomers.
Shortly after that, he scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 20-minute intrasquad scrimmage.
At one point, he stole a rebound from junior standout Cole Aldrich. He also blocked a shot of frosh Jeff Withey, who moments earlier had blocked one of Robinson’s attempts.
“I don’t care who it is,” Robinson said of the opposition. “I feel that with my work ethic and mindset I can play and fit in anywhere.”
He’s had this work ethic a long time.
“My traveling team coach, coach of my AAU team, was super big on that. If you didn’t play hard he wouldn’t play you at all. I guess it helped me in the long run,” Robinson said.
Self has been impressed with Robinson since the player first arrived on campus last May.
He’s put on almost 20 pounds since becoming a Jayhawk.
“Physically he’s gifted, probably the most gifted of any incoming freshman,” Self said. “Xavier (Henry, 6-6, 220) may be second as far as bodies go. Those guys are pretty advanced for 18-years-old.
“He (Robinson) works at it hard, but he came in here looking pretty good,” Self added. “He’s no different than any other ‘big’ out there who takes pride in playing aggressively. One thing he’s got moreso than anything is a motor. His motor runs. That’ll certainly make the twins’ (Marcus and Markieff Morris, combined 21 points and seven rebounds at Late Night) motor run faster as well. There’s competition which is good, real good.”
Robinson laughed when asked if he wanted to put on any additional weight this season and throughout his career.
“Of course I do,” he said. “I just think of LeBron (James). He’s big but he’s still able to move. You never are big enough. It’s obvious he is getting bigger every year.”
Selby liked Late Night
Josh Selby, a 6-2 senior point guard from Lake Clifton High in Baltimore, completed his unofficial visit to KU on Saturday. Selby’s mom, Maeshon Witherspoon, told Rivals.com the family had a great time in Lawrence.
“What stood out the most about the visit was the fan support and atmosphere. Josh really enjoyed the visit,” Witherspoon said. “I really liked the place. It (KU) has the complete package to offer anyone.”
Selby, who is Rivals.com’s No. 4-rated player, has a list of KU, Baylor, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami and Syracuse.
“We are going to schedule a few more visits,” Witherspoon told Rivals.
Other uncommitted prospects who attended KU’s practice Saturday as part of official visits: Harrison Barnes, a 6-7 forward from Ames (Iowa) High, and Doron Lamb, a 6-4 shooting guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va. Royce Woolridge, a 6-3 guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix who has committed to KU, also will complete his KU visit this morning.