Thursday, August 5, 2010

Robinson follows money to Spain

Former Kansas player Russell Robinson jumps between Christian Moody, left, and Chris Zerbe on his way to the basket during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic at Free State High. Robinson played with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Developmental League last season.

Former Kansas player Russell Robinson jumps between Christian Moody, left, and Chris Zerbe on his way to the basket during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic at Free State High. Robinson played with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Developmental League last season.


Russell Robinson is putting his NBA dream on hold — for at least one year — as he heads overseas to make a good living playing basketball.

“Every free agent in the world is trying to get to Spain. It’s great money. Spain is the best league for money, period. I’d rather not say more than that,” said Robinson, starting point guard on Kansas University’s 2008 NCAA championship team who has agreed to a one-year contract with DKV Joventut of Spain’s top professional league.

Terms were not disclosed. One NBA official said the 24-year-old Robinson, who played in the NBA Developmental League last year, likely would be making in the $200,000 range while playing in a high-profile league scouted regularly by the NBA.

“I talked to my agent about it. There was a lot of interest (from NBA teams), as he put it of me, ‘trying to win a roster spot (at a preseason camp),’’’ said Robinson, who last month played for the Indiana Pacers’ summer league team.

“We all know (a free agent’s) chances of making a team are limited with no guarantee. I needed a guarantee somewhere. It’s a numbers game, a matter of playing my cards and making a move I felt was best for my career.”

Robinson — he averaged 16.3 points and 5.6 assists per game last season for the NBADL’s Reno (Nev.) Bighorns — could entertain NBA offers down the line.

“I am excited. It’s a great career move, a great opportunity to improve my basketball stock for the NBA and Europe,” Robinson said. “It’s arguably the most competitive league in Europe.”

“It’s going to be an opportunity to build on,” said Robinson, who had a short stint in Turkey two seasons ago, which he didn’t enjoy. “This is obviously a way better situation. My placement in Europe ... I’m going to a way better city.”

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from New York will receive free lodging and a car and possibly a driver for his year in Badalona, a city in eastern Catalonia, Spain. It is near the city of Barcelona.

“My goals are to get better. (The NBA) is still a goal,” he said. “I tried the D-League to get there. This is probably an even better route.”

An NBA official agrees with that assessment.

“For that money, I don’t think anybody would want to mess with the D-League,” the official said, requesting anonymity. “We scout Spain regularly. Every team in the NBA will know how Russell is doing next season.”

Robinson, who leaves for Spain in a couple of weeks, had a message for KU fans: “Continue to root for me, follow me and know I’ll miss you guys while I’m gone.”


jazzhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Let me be the first to say "Good Luck Russell!" You are a great representative of KU and a class act. You deserve every great opportunity that comes your way! Have a blast, make money and we'll keep routing for you!

jazzhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Rooting! We definitely don't want to keep sending you to more places! Just back to the NBA! Ha ha ha ha

Paul Mitten 10 years, 8 months ago

If he can get that kind of money every year, he should stay in Europe until he gets a sure deal from an NBA team, which may never come. I love Russell for what he did at KU, but . I can only hope that during his physical prime, he uses his basketball talents to make himself as financially secure as possible, that he doesn't risk too much for the sake of chasing the NBA dream. What's so great about the NBA anyway? A sure $200k a year, plus lodging, car, a driver, and the chance to see serious minutes and maybe even become a star with an even bigger salary? Or a chance at the NBA league minimum, which is like $450k now, just for the right to be a third stringer? For what it's worth, guys like Kenny Gregory have been able to find a job in Euro league year after year, and I'm sure he won't regret that choice when he retires.

Todd Conner 10 years, 8 months ago

TAX FREE mind you. Sure makes 200K look like a lot more money

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

Only the first 80K would be tax free, assuming you pay the taxes in Spain.

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

Of course, we are all rooting for you, and we will miss you. Good Luck! I still hope you make your dream, playing in the NBA for a few mill or more.

FSUJHAWK 10 years, 8 months ago

Classy guy, great teamate and a baller. RR reminds me a bit of JV, who found ways to stay on Utah and San Antonio rosters for years. If JV can do it RR can certainly as well.

Spain! The balling, food, culture, women, need I say more. What a great opportunity in so many ways. You're going to be living a life many of us would die for. Good luck RR. Regardless of what you're future holds, please know that the Jayhawk Nation supports you and wishes you the best of luck.


Jaminrawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Getting 200K a year to play ball in a country as beautiful as Spain is not a bad gig at all.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Speaking of 200K...............Kentucky is threatening legal action against the Chicago Sun Times if they don't retract their story about Anthony Davis receiving 200K from Kentucky for his services next year.

Go to for the other information.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Only $200K?

I don't believe this rumor.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

Well, the deal is Ashley Judd delivers the money, one dollar bill at a time!!

Tad Shurtz 10 years, 8 months ago

Good stuff, Rusty! Good basketball, even better women in Spain. Have fun and do your thing.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Dear Online Editors,

This headline is coarse and inaccurate. It makes RR sound like an opportunistic whore, instead of one of KU's finest, who keeps being rejected (foolishly) by NBA coaches and GMs. He went to Spain, because a team wanted him and offered him a good contract. I believe you meant RR no harm, but think about it.

When Self came to KU, you wrote no headline reading: "Bill Self Follows Money to Kansas."

When Cole and Xavier jumped before their eligibilities were finished, there was no headline that read: "Cole and Xavier Follow Money to NBA."

Cut the double standard for players going to Europe.

Tell it as it is.

Coarse I can tolerate occasionally.

Headline accuracy matters all the time.

kennethst 10 years, 8 months ago

Russell doesn't need basketball to be successful......he is a complete class act regardless. But I hope he does well and happy he got this.

Teri Griffin-Guntert 10 years, 8 months ago

Russell, we will keep in touch with you and when it is time for us to travel to Spain, we will work out a visit. Our prayers are constantly at work for you. Congratulations and Big Blessings blowing your way.

VegasJhawk09 10 years, 8 months ago

Rock Chalk Russ Rob!! Way to go man. Good luck out there.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Good luck Russ Rob.. I'll be checking the box scores from Spain hoping to see some big numbers.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.