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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Battle of bigs: KU’s Thomas Robinson excited to learn from Cole Aldrich

Red Team players Justin Wesley, left, and Cole Aldrich watch as Blue Team guard Tyshawn Taylor misfires on an attempted dunk during the alumni scrimmage game on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at the Horejsi Center.

Red Team players Justin Wesley, left, and Cole Aldrich watch as Blue Team guard Tyshawn Taylor misfires on an attempted dunk during the alumni scrimmage game on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at the Horejsi Center.

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Bill Self basketball camp scrimmage

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Current Jayhawks and KU alumni scrimmaged at the Bill Self basketball camp Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Kansas University junior power forward Thomas Robinson has the perfect practice partner this summer: Oklahoma City Thunder big man Cole Aldrich.

“I texted him when he first came into town. I said it would be an honor if I could get to work out with him and he share some things with me that he’s learned,” Robinson, a 6-foot-9, 240-pounder from Washington, D.C., said Wednesday.

Robinson scored 14 points off 6-of-16 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Blue Team’s 71-62 loss to Aldrich’s Red squad in a Bill Self campers scrimmage at Horejsi Center.

The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Aldrich hit for 17 points off 7-of-16 shooting with 12 rebounds.

“I’m definitely looking forward to him being here every day. I think it’ll make me better,” Robinson said of former KU center Aldrich, who is enrolled in summer school and has been in town for about a week.

Aldrich, who told Robinson he’d love to hit the court with him on a regular basis, said he would expect Robinson to be joining him in the NBA at some point in time.

“He definitely has the skill. He can impact the game,” Aldrich, said of Robinson, who had the signature play of the scrimmage — a one-handed dunk following a drive down the baseline.

“Just the tip of the iceberg,” Robinson said of the slam.

Of the game, Robinson said: “It was intense. Having Cole out there checking me is great for my game. He has a year experience in the NBA. He was a great post player here. Of course I want to check him and try to learn from him and try to steal every move.”

Aldrich, who hit several hook shots, exchanged some trash talking while fighting for position with Robinson down low.

“What makes our team a little better than others is we work hard. You saw it out there. Guys went hard today,” Aldrich said. “You don’t see that all the time in a summer camp game where guys may say, ‘It’s just a camp game. Get it done with.’ Guys were out there competing.”

There were plenty of highlights. KU junior guard Elijah Johnson hit five threes and scored 19 points (off 7-of-11 shooting) for the winners. Former KU guard Tyrel Reed scored 16 points, while sophomore forward Justin Wesley had 11 points.

Tyshawn Taylor scored 20 points, Travis Releford 14 and Jeff Withey, who went against Aldrich some, nine points and 11 boards for the Blue Team.

“I told the guys I wanted to win, that was the main thing,” Aldrich said. “We had some guys step up. Elijah played really well.”

Newcomers Ben McLemore (four points) and Naadir Tharpe (two) played for the winning Red squad. McLemore flushed a vicious dunk off an alley-oop feed from Johnson. Tharpe, after plucking a steal, bounced the ball off the backboard to a trailing Reed, who slammed.

“Ben said at the beginning of the game he couldn’t wait to get a dunk,” Tharpe said. “Once he got his chance, he was excited. I was going to try to dunk it myself, but I heard Reed say, ‘throw it off the glass.’ (I was) just being a teammate.”

Noted McLemore: “It was a good pass from Elijah. I was a little shaky, first time playing in front of a crowd. I’m happy to be here. I’m here to work.”

Robinson said he’s convinced that KU, which lost seven players off last year’s 35-3 squad, will field another highly competitive team in 2011-12.

“I don’t believe in rebounding. I go to Kansas. This is one of the top programs. You look at the track record. They’ve lost people before, more than we lost this year and came back strong, year after year winning Big 12 championships,” Robinson said.

“I don’t know what everybody is so scared for. We are gonna be good. We are in good hands. With coach (Bill) Self, with D. (big man coach Danny) Manning, I’m going to become better. Jeff’s going to become better. All the guys are going to become solid. We’re going to come back to the top where we belong.

“We have our motto. We call it, ‘Another 365,’’’ Robinson added. “365 (days) started three days ago. New guys have come in right away and bought in — work hard and no days off.”

Comments

Jason Njoroge 8 years, 7 months ago

Great article! Everyone keep working hard, and stay healthy! I'm so ready for Oct. 14th! Gonna be a fun year!

actorman 8 years, 7 months ago

“I don’t believe in rebounding. I go to Kansas."

He obviously means "rebuilding." It sounds pretty funny the other way. I'm psyched to see the team develop, and I don't think there will be a big drop-off from last year, despite losing all those players.

John Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm anxious to see how Traylor and Anderson develop under Danny's instruction. I think that Daniels would have been a distraction. It will be interesting from the fan perspective not to be focused on the superstar hopeful (Selby, Xavier) but rather on the team. Looking back Morningstar and Reed were much better players at Kansas than Selby and Xavier. In this respect I am more hopeful that Traylor and Anderson will make meaningful marks at Kansas. Daniels would have taken a year from them with a meaningless one and done career.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

X was more than solid for the year that he was here, and there is a reason he was starting - He was better than the other options including Morningreed. It's disappointing that we spent more time recruiting him than he spent playing, but there weren't better options.

Selby's year was much more disappointing, but when he was healthy he was easily better. That's why he moved to starting in place of Brady. His injury was obviously disappointing to him and everyone else connected with the program. It is a shame that fans can't appreciate his efforts, even if too short, as much as he appreciated his time here (NBA interview). Yes, he didn't come back for the dinner, but he is working on landing his first job. He took care of school, and our coaches are satisfied. It is a shame that our players can be so outspokenly dissatisfied. With the outcome of the season? Okay. But to continualy bag on guys b/c they aren't 4-year players seems misguided.

Scott Smetana 8 years, 7 months ago

Respectfully disagree. X was so quiet, nobody knew he was on the floor. Shooting was his only game, which wasn't there when we needed it in the stretch. Brady was so much more. ?Greedy... gimme a break. Guy was the best passer and post-feeder we've had in many years.

ku1otaku 8 years, 7 months ago

And I, sir, respectfully disagree with you. X was only quiet because he didn't do the things fans expected from him. He deserved to be in the games and played better D than what people gave him credit for. The sad thing about X is the way it all ended. Need I remind you that Morningstar & Reed ended on the same "wasn't there when we needed it in the stretch" kind of way.

Dan Pawlowski 8 years, 7 months ago

May I remind you No One was there in that last game. Not just two players. Morningstar and Reed convinced the coach of their abilities that's enough for me. No armchair coaches are going to convince me otherwise. Move On.

Dan Pawlowski 8 years, 7 months ago

Sorry but if you expected the 2 senior "greenlight shooters" as you label them to put the team on their backs than you haven't payed attention this season. In a season when they have 5 guys capable of putting up double figures , not counting the "greenlight" guys because that was not their roles, and barely two show up that last game than you can't put the onus on the two "greenlight shooters" expecially when there role has never been to put the team on their backs. The team lost as a whole. They couldn't hit water if they fell out of a canoe that night. Once again I say , Let it Go.

REHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

What is the story on Traylor and Anderson? Are they passing up the first session of summer school?

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

They just arrived in lawrence, so probably are getting them trained up a little before they feed them to the veterans..

Kyle Rohde 8 years, 7 months ago

Robinson will be "joining Aldrich in the NBA" - more like Aldrich should hope he gets to actually be on the active roster before Robinson is there too!

lee3022 8 years, 7 months ago

I am not worried about Cole playing. OKC had the luxury of redshirting him last year (so to speak) with solid veterans ahead of him. He may be used as trade bait to somewhere that they need him more. But I do believe he will eventually be in the rotation and contributing.

It does depend on where a player gets drafted. One of the weaker teams needs bodies to play immediately while the more loaded teams can develop a player on the practice floor. As a player, I would want to play first but prefer to be on a winning team.

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 7 months ago

Cole can fill a role somewhere. This is not his last stop. Is he really 6'11 though...i thought he was much shorter...

Joe Baker 8 years, 7 months ago

TRob, EJ, TT and Withey all looked good. Rel looks like he's picking up where he left off last season. I'd really love to read or see a feature piece on Wesley and WIthey's progress. The rebounding is solid between TRob and Withey.

Encouraging article and great attitude from the whole team. They all play together and even the recruits get it. This is the number one benefit of this team. EJ and TRob's confidence looks through the roof. TT even seems to have taken it up a notch. The really encouraging part is that it's only a scrimmage. I can't wait for preseason games to begin.

Hawk007 8 years, 7 months ago

I am also curious where Traylor and Anderson were? I thought I read they were showing up to campus last weekend. Don't know why they didn't play yesterday.

Ben Simonett 8 years, 7 months ago

"You look at the track record. They’ve lost people before, more than we lost this year and came back strong, year after year winning Big 12 championships"

the last time we lost this many guys we had just won a national championship and were bringing in the #2 ranked recruiting class in the country. we're worried because this year's circumstances are quite a bit worse than '09

"I was going to try to dunk it myself, but I heard Reed say, ‘throw it off the glass.’ (I was) just being a teammate.”

that's a true point guard mentality right there, its refreshing to have a pure point on the team again, we haven't really had one since aaron miles. i'm starting to warm up to this kid. kudos naadir!

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

In '09, we had more recruits coming, but we didn't have as much returning outside of Sherron & Cole. That was a very top heavy team. This one is more balanced.

justinryman 8 years, 7 months ago

I blame the 6 for 16 shooting on Derrick Rose and the MVP season he had this past year for the Bulls.

Yes you read that right. ESPN and others were so enamored with his drives to the basket and the amount of points he scored they failed to look at his shooting percentage. Someone on ESPN even called it "Volume Scoring".

What in the he!! is volume scoring? Great you can score 38 points on 35 attempts. What is the game of basketball going to?

On a positive note I think Thomas is going to learn a lot this summer from Cole, and I can't wait to see the progress come November.

khekhen 8 years, 7 months ago

the only thing that Cole's going to be able to teach Robinson is the bus schedule of the Tulsa 66ers.

lee3022 8 years, 7 months ago

Way off on that thought. Cole =Defensive POY twice for the conference, All-American, perhaps as good a center we have had since Wilt. The NBA game is not the same game as the college game. Robinson is still playing the college game.

hawksince51 8 years, 7 months ago

Not only was Cole great on D, he leaned some nice moves down low from Manning that would really benefit T-Rob. Sure he has a ways to go to be a force in the NBA but he was quite a player for KU his last 2 years. And he probably saved the NC in the semis against UNC as a freshman.

John Randall 8 years, 7 months ago

I tend to get a little intolerant when people pretend Cole's few minutes in the national semifinal game were somehow a determining factor.

He did exactly what he was supposed to do – fill in and keep the momentum going our direction. Nice job for a freshman, but eight other players had bigger roles in that win and certainly in the one that followed.

This may be the year we are reminded that team play always overshadows every individual on the court.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Barring Injuries:

1] TRob - A lock for the NBA 2] Tyshawn - A good shot at the NBA 3] Elijah - Decent shot at the NBA 4] Jeff - Always a place for a white 7 footer in the NBA. 5] Ben - Almost a lock for the NBA 6] Travis - At the very least, Europe 7] Naadir - A definite NBA possibility 8] Braeden - After four years of Danny..NBA bound 9] Jamari - After four years of Danny...NBA bound 10] Justin - Shot at Europe 11] Conner - Good shot at The Bachelor, The Apprentice or a job as Zach Efron's stunt double.

This list presented to you by someone with absolutely zero credibility to present this list!!

jayhawktalk 8 years, 7 months ago

"This list presented to you by someone with absolutely zero credibility to present this list!!"

...Okay, now THAT made me smile!

Jory Collins 8 years, 7 months ago

Ha, glad that was a joke!:) I was like WTF???

keith horinek 8 years, 7 months ago

We may have a year where the expectations are not so high. I like that, because the kids can play to have fun, not live up to someone else's expectations. Which, in turn may win them a lot of games. We have a very difficult schedule coming up this season and a big 12 title to defend. I think it would be special to win the big 12 after losing four starters from last years team. Either way, it's going to be a fun year. Oakville, what's your point? Still trying to figure out your post. If you didn't have any useful information to offer, why take up the space?

theend 8 years, 7 months ago

Oakville is a great writer and I enjoy his posts. "Useful??? Who cares??? He's funny and he has B-Ball knowledge.....I could not care less where it registers on your "useful" scale. Maybe we should critique your posts for their "usefulness".

Post away....Oakville......you will always have an audience with me. In fact.....try to make them as anti-useful as possible. You always make me laugh.

Mike Kendall 8 years, 7 months ago

Oakville is one of my favorite posters when I come onto this site (with all apologies to Jaybate and others). He does make me laugh, too, theend. Post away, Oak!!!!!!!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

oljhwk....simply trying to have a little fun by letting expectations run a little wild. Obviously, Conner would make a lousy stunt double...he's way taller than Efron.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

PS I should have added "by the end of their careers". Oh well, back to the drawing board. [that's an architectural joke]

lee3022 8 years, 7 months ago

It is hard for me not to want to beat Kentucky in MSG this year. Stars vs team will be an interesting showcase. But I promise to get over it if it does not happen. I do believe we will be much better in January to start the league. The schedule is wonderful for preparing the guys for the league and beyond.

And I completely agree that it is going to be fun.

theend 8 years, 7 months ago

Oakville-let not your critics trouble you. Post away!!!!(both useful and non-useful)

PS-I may actually prefer the non-useful since it seems to annoy one paticular guy.

waywardJay 8 years, 7 months ago

Can I Just Gush over Thomas Robinson for a second.....

“I don’t believe in rebounding. I go to Kansas. This is one of the top programs. You look at the track record. They’ve lost people before, more than we lost this year and came back strong, year after year winning Big 12 championships,” Robinson said.

“I don’t know what everybody is so scared for. We are gonna be good. We are in good hands. With coach (Bill) Self, with D. (big man coach Danny) Manning, I’m going to become better. Jeff’s going to become better. All the guys are going to become solid. We’re going to come back to the top where we belong."

Hell Yeah, Thomas. Hell yeah.

Ethan Berger 8 years, 7 months ago

It seems TROB is already the leader of this team. Im pumped from reading his quotes.

bhsnowhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I don't know I was counting on Robinson to be a beast on the boards so forgive me if I'm not as excited about him saying he doesn't believe in rebounding...

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 7 months ago

man i wish i still lived in lawrence sometimes...i'd sell hot dogs at the arena just to catch an exhibition like this...

Mike Kendall 8 years, 7 months ago

I used to sell sodas at the arena for my first job after moving to Lawrence during my high school days---I guess that is how "the Phog" bit me and like in the "Twilight" movies, forever diseased to watch my Hawks!!!!!

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 7 months ago

Initial impressions from yesterday's scrimmage:

-Unsurprisingly, T-Rob and Tyshawn are going to be the heart of the team next year. Their group got down early and both those guys really got at it. (T-Rob even switched with Withey so he could have a shot guarding Cole, and he did fought him HARD). Very, very competitive, even in a practice setting. Good to see.

-Also unsurprisingly, Cole absolutely OWNED Withey. Jeff needs to work on playing more aggressively - he's got a soft touch, but he gets knocked around too much down low, and he likes to play behind when he's defending. That works fine with a lot of short guys, but it'll hurt him when he comes up against a tall, muscular post or someone with a nice hook shot. Hopefully practicing with TRob will toughen him up a bit.

-Elijah's shot looks reeeeal good. He keeps that up and he could be our Mr. Clutch for the next couple years.

-You could tell the returning guys weren't used to playing with the newbies. Ben and Tharpe didn't see a ton of touches. They held their own, though, and they had a couple nice plays apiece. Curious to see if they get more looks next week.

-Weirdly, after watching yesterday's scrimmage game, I'd probably start Justin Wesley ahead of Jeff Withey. Kid's crazy-athletic and can jump about as well as EJ can. (Of course Wesley didn't have to play with Cole defending him, either. :) )

Looking forward to going back next Wednesday to see how everyone looks!

Beermit 8 years, 7 months ago

Man I hope I get to see Cole on campus.

And T-Robs attitude/comments just got me so pumped for the upcoming season! I was admittedly nervous at first, but all those worries have withered away.

And seriously, DeAndre who? haha

Rock Chalk.

jayhawktalk 8 years, 7 months ago

Countless updates about Daniels, but no article on Kaleb Tarczewski's visit? Disappointing.

keith horinek 8 years, 7 months ago

Oakville's post don't annoy me, I know he understand KU BB. Just trying to keep these post "accountable". If we start posting dribble, the credibility of these post lessons. I like to think KU BB fans are intellegent and knowledgeable people. Unlike some post I've read on sites from UK, Memphis etc. Let's keep it real.

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