Monday, July 11, 2011


Thomas Robinson has huge potential

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson battles inside for a rebound with the Illinois defense during the first half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson battles inside for a rebound with the Illinois defense during the first half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.


Many wondered why so many basketball players would end their college careers prematurely to enter the NBA Draft when the 2011-2012 season is threatened by a lockout.

Won't they starve to death? Well, no. Financial planners hoping to land them as lucrative life-time clients no doubt are offering no-interest loans hefty enough to support the players for a year. A nice little investment in the future.

Money isn't the issue. Having the opportunity to play basketball against high-level competition in order to improve was the biggest enticement for first-round-caliber talents to stay put.

Thomas Robinson, not nearly as polished, not as complete a basketball player as either Marcus or Markieff Morris, has a higher ceiling than either one, thanks to his phenomenal athleticism. The twins could afford to take the risk because their games are so advanced.

Robinson made a wise decision to stay put, exercising more discipline, more patience than many in a similar position might.

Naturally, the 2012 mock drafts don't reflect Robinson's true value to NBA teams because he's a junior. At this time of year, the mocks always favor incoming freshmen and sophomores. The less they've played, the more the mock drafts love them. And it's not just the draft projections. Whereas in baseball the stars of yesterday are revered and the stars of today often underrated, it works just the opposite in basketball. The guys in short shorts never get their due, and the prospects of tomorrow simply can't miss.

It's been that way forever. Ralph Sampson was going to be so much better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, except that he ended up being nowhere near as great.

A look at the mock drafts for two popular NBA Draft websites shows nothing has changed.'s top 10 projected picks include five incoming freshmen and five rising sophomores. has seven freshmen and three sophomores.

No Robinson in the top 10, and even more stunning, no John Henson of North Carolina. The draft sites liked Henson better before he played a college game, but based on his strong sophomore season, it's tough to figure out why.

Draftexpress has Robinson going 16th. has him projected at No. 18.

He'll go higher if for no other reason than he's already one of the best rebounders on the planet. Morehead State's Kenneth Faried led the nation in rebounding with 14.5 rebounds per game. He had 16.7 per 40 minutes of playing time. Robinson played just 14.6 minutes a game, and his rebound totals projected to 17.6 per 40 minutes.

Robinson's strength and explosiveness translate to the NBA, where he has a chance to become a Ben Wallace-type force. Wallace was listed at 6-foot-9, 240 pounds during his days with the Detroit Pistons. At the Amare Stoudemire Camp, where Robinson threw down a dunk heard 'round the NBA world, he was measured at 6-10 in shoes and weighed 240 pounds. His wingspan was measured at 7-1.

With one more year under Danny Manning's tutelage and as a focal point in the offense, he's bound to improve rapidly, even if all the attention the defense pays to him makes him look worse at times.


IgnorantYokel 10 years, 5 months ago

Best of luck next season, Thomas.

Ignore the media and focus on what's in front of you. Listen to your coaches and compete fiercely every day.

You're a complete stud. Can't wait to watch KU begin its rampage in 16 weeks!

Bryan Barnes 10 years, 5 months ago

Thomas Robinson has huge potential...duh. I can't wait to see him dominate the paint this year, gonna be fun

ldjayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

So the staff has no news to report in KU basketball but looks around on a couple of mock draft website and puts a rubbish piece together?

Ryan Mullen 10 years, 5 months ago

When are you going to apologize to Brock? Looks like he is committed to Kansas.

79ictjhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

+1 Pismo! The headline was very obvious, but the article was better than the headline (but then, how could it not be).

Jabez Harlan 10 years, 5 months ago

If T-Rob can average 14-15 rebounds a game this next season, his draft stock will definitely rise as well as the hopes of KU fans worldwide.

I would like to see Naadir and Tyshawn throwing ally-oops to T-Rob all season just like the glove and Shawn Kemp back in the 90s!

Mike Kendall 10 years, 5 months ago

"Late Night" couldn't come too soon! Can't wait to see T-Rob dominate this year.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

Tom...some journalistic advice. Don't focus so much on the obvious. Any of us could have written this article. Take a look at the hidden questions:

-How will Thomas achieve these projected numbers if he's sitting on the bench with three fouls before the end of the first half?

-Since he will be a baseline offensive presence, how will he handle the increased number of free throw attempts and increase his success rate?

-Will he try to develope a mid-range jumper to bail him out of double and triple teams?

-Can he be an assist machine when every opponent within ten feet swarms him?

-Which player on the current roster would be best suited to pair up with him on the front line?

Take some journalistic chances and project a little bit. You'll still probably get raked by the posters but at least you'll feel a little better about yourself.

Don't be lazy...just go crazy!!

RockChalkGuy 10 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to see some info about what's going on during the summer.

Are all the players in Lawrence now? What does the team do together during the summer?
Are they allowed any organized meetings at all? Can they work one-on-one with their Coach? Can they practice together without their Coaches present? Do the players still hang out at the Yacht Club? Does anything happen in the practice facility/AFH during the summer? Are there any upgrades/renovations taking place at AFH this summer? How are the new teammates settling into their new diggs? Have any players parents moved to Lawrence, too?

I know there's a wealth of information that travels among those in-the-know. Please, Keegan, prove to us that you are in-the-know.

lee3022 10 years, 5 months ago

"You mean you want - gasp - reporting? Come on - the AP does our reporting. We only offer wise pronouncements and platitudes."

This is a really good list and I will stop hammering in hopes that it generates a couple of bones with real meat attached.

jayhwkr77 10 years, 5 months ago

i don't mean to be a message board debbie downer, but keegan's articles have literally become unreadable

off the top of my head, some of his recent article titles are...(wait for it):

-underhand free throw shooting underrated -lebron james not the greatest of all time -brock berglund won't suit up for KU -and i personally believe this last one takes the cake

it takes a KU fan of EXTREME intelligence to look at an incredibly athletic, 6'11 fierce rebounder to realize that he has a really high ceiling

please Keegan if you're gonna write on this website write something above the intelligence of the people commenting below on the message boards

onlylookin2score 10 years, 5 months ago

  • 1Gagillion plus some more for your further "potential" insights.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm really interested to see how well he is still able to dominate the glass without the Twins, as well as how he will improve offensively being the focal point. There is no doubt defenses will be keying in on him. He needs to stay out of foul trouble, and find the finesse part of his game that has been slowly building. Watching his game is going to be a blast this year.

To steal a line from one of our regular posters:

Thomas is fun.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I love Thomas Robinson. What a great kid. Incredible attitude, physical and mental toughness - how could anyone not love this kid?

OK - having said that, in my opinion Thomas does not have a higher ceiling than the Morris' just because he's more athletic. Both of the Morris' are very good passers, good three point shooters and have excellent "hands". At least at this stage of the game, Thomas does not have those things going for him. What he does have going for him is the fact that he is a smart, aggressive rebounder, a good defender and hard-nosed, tough player that isn't going to back down from anyone while still maintaining his composure.

I have the utmost respect for Thomas and I expect that he will have a great year this year, and I hope he has a long and prosperous NBA career (hopefully two years from now - haha)

milehighhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I would bet ten bucks that Keegan "wrote" this article on his smart phone while sitting on the john.

I know it's the off-season and everything, but good Lord - this is pretty poor for a fan blog. Where's the analysis? Where's any evidence of effort?

REHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Everyone seems to concur that Thomas will be the Jayhawk who attracts the most defenders this season. At times, EJ and TT, perhaps Ben and Travis, should find opportunities for quick drives to the bucket. Withey, Young or whichever Big takes the floor with Thomas should be offered the chance for posting significant numbers. Gotta hope that Jeff and Thomas return with more free throw success. Bill Self and Co. certainly possess intrigueing roster possibilities for a variety of matchups vs. specific defenses. Mr. Tharpe, focus on quick development of Bill Self-style defense so that you will glean the opportunity to take the floor and pass, pass, pass. All of you new guys, the Jayhawk Nation is posed anxiously to watch you mesh with the returnees and find minutes on the court. Before boot camp, eat and sleep DEFENSE! And spend a portion of each day with Ms Hudy.

Ben Simonett 10 years, 5 months ago

Ok, i think im starting to figure these boards out.

It's ok to rag on the writers when they fail to perform there job at a high level, but the players and coaches are off limits. CHECK!

btw, this is the dumbest article i've read on here.

jayhwkr77 10 years, 5 months ago

given that many of the people commenting on a lot of these message boards are the ones pumping a lot of money into the athletic department which allows it to function, they have every right to voice their opinion of the players and coaches...good or bad

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

Could not be any less impressed with your premise. One could make an argument, and do it pretty convincingly, that Thomas was already ahead of Markieff Morris last year pre-knee surgery...... You covered the Basic Stat line his Rebounds per 40 is purely Rodmanian, the ball just finds him. The rub was, Can Thomas Score with the twins in such a versatile way..... And the answer is probably no, but not definitely no. Certainly Thomas is getting a crash course on how to impact with fewer fouls, and NBA post game 101 from Professor Manning, Supplemented with Fall classes will include "break down the rim on tyshawn's lay up mistakes," "how to remove a Blue Devil's elbow without surgical instruments or threat of lawsuit," and the ever popular "How not to be Shaquille O'neal on the free throw line."

But certainly, if you watched a moment of basketball in your life time, You probably already know Thomas Robinson has great potential. Then again, Keegan could probably make a few stories like this outside of the Journal world...... " Cats have pointed ears, Dogs have floppy ears...." " Rain is wet." " How to Make toast..." and never forget the literary masterwork, " The actual number of licks required to find the cynosure of a Tootsie pop."

dynamitehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Some other very true things:

  1. Pizza is awesome. 1.2 Pizza is super-awesome after 6 beers at 2:00 AM.
  2. Beyonce is hot.
  3. Making money helps pay bills.
  4. Dr. Naismith invented a pretty neat game.
  5. July brings miserable weather in Kansas.
  6. Daytime is longer in July than December.
  7. College kids drink beer.
  8. Breaking News! Freaks in Kansas pour over basketball articles during summer!
  9. Dynamite drinks beer and loves pizza and Beyonce.
  10. KU looks to contend again.

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

You have an abnormal preoccupation with Beyonce, it's unhealthy, Dynamite. Lady Dynamite.should call the paramedics, when I see Beyonce on television, I just am left with the impression of emptiness. Shallow, and lacking.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 5 months ago

ahh c'mon man! i have a preoccupation with Beyonce too. She's a goddess sent from another universe!!! i don't care if she's shallow or lacking - we can leave that to JayZ, but when you do see her on TV, you do watch, and that is because she's a fox.

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Suppose I'm alone here. Actually, When I see her on TV, I turn the channel because I don't want to be sold something :). A goddess sent from another Universe? Really? Just don't see it I suppose.

dynamitehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Holy hottnes:

However if corporate prostitution should be avoided in this case, then Sandra Bullock Works for me too. :)

dynamitehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I blame the spelling above on Steve Jobs first and his stupid iPad second.

Jeeveshawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree that Thomas Robinson has potential, but I don't think his ceiling is higher than McM's. Marcus is faster (which Thomas can easily fix) and is a much better shooter, and I dont think T-Rob can do anything about that. He could make up for that with his substantially better rebounding skills and potential, but Thomas will also have to fix his fowl problem. And if he wants to become one of Americas more elite players next year he will have to either work on his shot, polish his post moves, or become one of the greatest power players of all time.

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 5 months ago

Do you really think Mc Morris is faster than TRob? I'm not quite sure there, jeeves.

I do agree that TRob has to limit his "fowl" problem. And when I say fowl, I mean foul.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 5 months ago

Finally a basketball article about one of our proven commodities and people are still whining. Some of you need to go soak your head. And I'd much rather see you know who on her hands & knees than TV anytime. I'm old, but I ain't blind!

Hail_To_Thee 10 years, 5 months ago

There wouldnt happen to be any footage of this dunk heard "round the NBA world" would there?

Chuck Stones 10 years, 5 months ago

Anybody remember Xavier McDaniel? Wichita State, led the nation in rebounding and scoring in the same year. That's what TRob can do!!!

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

YIKES! kbacs - You're being sarcastic, right? Please? I commented earlier how much respect and admiration that I have for TR and that would be fantastic if it happened, but my lung capacity is no where near that big. I think I'll go ahead and exhale now.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 5 months ago

number 3 pick in 1985 behind Patrick Ewing and Wayman Tisdale.

gwenthejayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the article, Captain Obvious! Tomorrow's article will be "KU Football team has nowhere to go but up!" Followed Wednesday by one entitled, "Allen Fieldhouse will sell out in 2011-2012"

Kenny Nall 10 years, 5 months ago

Of course followed by "Big 12 will only have not 12, but 10 teams next year" on Thursday.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 5 months ago

Although it seems strange, success in the tourney makes a big difference. If we flop or have a bad season and weak tourney, he'll fall. If we make a run and he's our guy he'll move up very fast.

kuilander 10 years, 5 months ago

wow ... you're a regular f'ing genius keegan. i cant wait for the day you are gone.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 5 months ago

The whirlwind that was TRob's last 10 months has made him more of a man than any NBA salary or financial planner could have made him had he opted in for the draft. His value to his remaining family members for his "potential" as a professional ball player will no doubt be realized in due time. Lockout or no lockout, he needed to continue at KU to enhance his strength as a person and to protect his future "potential" as the provider for his sister at least. However he reached his decision, we all need to respect the source of that wisdom and to enjoy this next season as he will. I feel a sort of Collison-ish or Simien-ish sense of pride knowing he'll be KU's face for one more season.

100 10 years, 5 months ago

If there's a basketball story tomorrow I'll report the following because I presume most TRUE JAYHAWKNATIONERS are finished with this article:

Here's my point. I really hope TRobb works on this NASTY move at 1:19 left in the film:

And for anyone else on our Jayhawk team this year.... In the same film (above link) check out a critical moment in this game, only seconds left, with 0.18 left in the youtube film... Look who makes the pass (he's a walk on from the football team). And look who scores off of the walk ons pass (he's a nothing more than a hardworking Kansas kid, now a Jayhawk legend, who simply knew spacing & had a smooth release). Without these type of hardworking intelligent plays, from stars & walkons, Kansas doesn't win this game.

Rock Chalk TRobb & Jayhawk Nation...

I think we all know who 2011-2012 Jayhawk basketball is dedicated to:

"And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson,

Jayhawk Nation turns its lonely eyes to you....."

Jeeveshawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Thomas Robinson will be a great scorer and reboumder, but if he doesn't fix his fowl trouble, it is likely that we will desperately need a great Big Man and he is umavailable and we're left in the hands of a wirey 7 ft oaf, two freshmen(of which neither were in the rivals top 100 or the ESPNU 100), and a small (for an ncaa power forward) that transferred from a small school, where he wasnt absolutely dominant.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 5 months ago

Haven't heard about TRob's chicken issues. Must have missed that. It's a shame when trouble with fowl comes between a talented player and his career. Eat Less Chkin, I guess!

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Man, between rabbits and ribs and chicken - I'm getting hungry. That Dannon Activia yogurt just ain't cuttin it this morning.

Jeeveshawk 10 years, 4 months ago

TRob is a jayhawk and a jayhawk is a fictional type of bird or fowl. So my misuse of homophones isn't completely incorrect.

Kevin Studer 10 years, 5 months ago

OK, I usually defend Keegan, but this is a total puff-piece. Methinks this was a not-too-subtle way of writing a commentary all can agree on after the BB piece. Regardless, this is pretty light.

chriz 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's not forget that offensive rebounds often lead to "garbage" points, not necessarily the pretty, memorable fadeaways that we saw from the twins. I think Robinson, though not the most talented scorer, will rebound some balls into the bucket and we'll look at the scoreboard at the end of the game and think, "How did he score that many points?!"

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 4 months ago

whats not to like about t-rob? Love his game and attitude... some more experience should help his game out. Id be surprised if he didnt end up in the NBA someday.

But yeah, kinda a fluffy article.

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 4 months ago

If he comes to shoot the ball as well as everything else, then I agree. Until then, I'll wait.

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