Monday, March 7, 2011


Thomas Robinson’s return uplifting for KU basketball


If Thomas Robinson played every game against Missouri the way he played Saturday in Columbia, Mo., basketball fans here in Lawrence might commission local sculptor Jim Brothers to build a life-size statue of the power forward, in which case there would be two Thomas Robinson statues in town: one that runs, jumps, dunks, talks and smiles, one that doesn’t.

Of all the encouraging signs in Saturday’s victory, seeing the Adonis of the Big 12 back at full strength for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus ranks right near the top.

Robinson’s name didn’t make it onto either the first or second All-Big 12 teams, as voted by coaches, released Sunday, but he gave a glimpse Saturday of why it surely will next season.

In just 17 minutes of action, Robinson hustled and muscled his way to 15 points and 13 rebounds. He’s averaging 17.6 rebounds per 40 minutes and is the perfect person to spell one Morris twin while playing alongside the other. Whereas the twins outfox front-court foes with their brilliant basketball minds that enable them to read the situation and make the right move, the correct shot, the smart pass, Robinson beats them with brute strength, explosive athleticism and improving footwork.

By the time Robinson checks into the game, fatigue has set in on the big men who have tried keeping up with the twins.

He’s not perfect. Some of the shots Robinson takes from the outside will be wise ones a year from now, but as a sophomore, he’s wise to do most of his work near the basket, and on most nights that’s what he does.

“Run the floor, rebound, seal, get easy shots,” Robinson said of his responsibilities. “It’s much easier. I don’t have that much to do. If someone tells you you can make a living off rebounding and getting easy buckets, why not do it?”

Paul Silas, Bill Bridges, Buck Williams and Dennis Rodman, to name a few, made nice livings doing so. Plenty of pros have set themselves up nicely by hitting the boards with the sort of commitment Robinson brings.

“Hopefully, I can be one of them,” Robinson said, flashing his smile.

Despite all the tragedy that has hit him this year at such a young age, Robinson never seems to go long between smiles. He’s an upbeat, personable guy. Seeing all he’s been through should give any teammate who would allow a lack of playing time, a slump, girlfriend problems, whatever, bring him down a reality check that brings him back into good spirits.

Robinson wants to become a polished, complete basketball player before he thinks about playing for pay. He wants to develop the sort of inside-outside game Marcus and Markieff Morris bring to the game. He said he enjoys watching Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony more than any other NBA players. He’s not there yet, but he’s back to full strength, which gives Kansas one of the nation’s most intimidating sixth men.


jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't care what anyone says. Even in this day and age, Getting a torn miniscus scoped and then coming back and playing championship grade basketball is an insanely huge accomplishment.

Thomas Robinson is also some kind of cross between Adonis and Achilles.

Rock Chalk!

Cmill1221 10 years, 9 months ago

The major part of coming back from any surgery is the rehab. Good job to the KU medical staff! (including the job w/ Rush and his ACL) And it does not hurt that T-Rob is built like Greek god. The fact that he was in such fantastic physical condition can take weeks, if not months off of recovery time. A credit to his work ethic and hours in the weight room.

ajs10 10 years, 9 months ago

I was thinking more a cross between Achilles and Ajax. Adonis was just a pretty boy.

yates33333 10 years, 9 months ago

Amen! He is a modern day Bill Bridges, who was Adonis and Achilles.

JayhawkRock 10 years, 9 months ago

Thomas is my favorite player on this team. He does the work that can go unnoticed but its hard not to notice this huge Superman like figure grab rebounds and then dunk the ball like Shaq.

The other reason why TRob is my favorite? His personality. He is almost always smiling and he seems like a really good kid. I am so proud of everything he has overcome that has been brought his way this year. Not a lot of guys would be able to go through everything that he has and come out and even stronger and better person.

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

I have to agree, at the beginning of the year, my 11 yea old daughter asked me who my favorite player on this years team(she loves knowing everyones favorite of something), I went with Tyrel, just like his style of play I told her. As the season progressed I slowly changed my mind to Thomas, then his life took a turn for the worse that most adults couldn't handle. I was amazed by this young mans ability to handle so much pain in life. Then you watch him play and he hits the floor, grabs rebounds, makes good solid screens, a lot of little things away from the ball and a solid defender too.

I just hope that Thomas dosent listen to a few and think that he needs to leave for the NBA this spring to support his sister. Yeah that money would be nice, but what if there is a lock out this year? Then what? Stay and going from a second round pick perhaps to a lottery pick in one year, especially with the coaching that this staff can give him.

Kye Clark 10 years, 9 months ago

I know TRob says he wants to develop his outside game like the Morris Twins, but I'd like for the next step of his development to be becoming an inside defensive stopper. The article mentioned Rodman; no reason he couldn't be that good. Ben Wallace is another that springs to mind. I know offense gets all the headlines and the accolades, but I think with the strong possibility of losing both the Twins after this year we will be so thin up front we won't be able to afford him to be in foul trouble due to being over-matched on that end of the floor. TRob and Withey could prove to be a nightmare for opposing big men if they work on it.

Alohahawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Add Kevin Love to the mix. He's become a rebounding nightmare for opposing NBA teams. I think TRob could out muscle Love right now. He just needs to refine his offensive skills. Given a few years in the league, TRob could compete against Howard of Orlando for Mr. Muscles.

Admire TRob's determination and that he's improved so much, not just from last year but from the start of this season as well. Keep it up, Thomas. The whole Jayhawk Nation is rooting for you to succeed.

Cmill1221 10 years, 9 months ago

T-Rob has the BEAST MODE switch stuck in the "ON" position!! And love his swag and energy on the court! Reminds me of a Darnell Jackson w/ more raw talent.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

Insert Paul Millsap to the NBA comparison comments....Wondering if there a NCAA National Award for 6th Man of the Year?

fansincewilt 10 years, 9 months ago

Next week will be a big challenge with possible games against Nebraska, KSU and Texas. All there have good big men and will tell us a great deal about our big men and their readiness for the tourney. It's great to have TRob coming off the bench which I think makes KS better than the rest.

Huskerhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe Nebraska will get past Okie State and they have two of the best in the conference in Pilgrim and Moses.

HawkInAL 10 years, 9 months ago

At this point, T-Rob is a mini-version of Dwight Howard, which is a pretty good thing for the Hawks. Keegan is right though, with some more polish via hard work and D. Manning's tutelage, we're in line to see something really special next year.

Still work to do this year though...

RockCaCO3 10 years, 9 months ago

Good article Keegs. T-Rob quickly became one of my favorite Jayhawks.

REHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Thomas is that rare player personality which inspires lotsa smiles and excitement from the Jayhawk fanbase. At his stage of his career most of us have gotten pumped with Pavlovian anticipation every time one of the twins racks up a multiple foul.

Lone_salina_kufan 10 years, 9 months ago

My favorite part of this article- “It’s much easier. I don’t have that much to do. If someone tells you you can make a living off rebounding and getting easy buckets, why not do it?”

Thats accepting your role, and true leadership. Doesn't overcomplicate things. Knows what he's best at, trusts that the coaches have his best interest at heart by accepting it, and then excelling at it.

2nd half of Mizzou game was phenomenal. He was an absolute beast!!! And whats crazy, is it is really fun to watch someone play that way.

Keep it up TRob, I'm definitely one of your biggest fans!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

T-Rob must have "Tigerblood" and "Adonis DNA" like Charlie Sheen. Guys an animal!

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 9 months ago

Self is licking his chops. Bringing T-Rob off the bench is a major weapon. He was in "beast-mode" on Saturday VS Mizzou. Keep getting better, T-Rob. You are awesome to watch.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 9 months ago

TRob has an unbelieveable skillset. I just hope his knees hold up as hard as he competes. He wants every single loose ball & rebound. Not a good sign when tears occur in the wheels at this young of an age. Anyway, I've liked this young guy since the first time I laid eyes on him. Reminds me of a dear friend who fought PKA in the early 1980's and is still in the gym 3-4 days a week and stud to this day, well into his 50's. He has an absolutely infectious grin like JH. And his accomplishments under the grave cicumstances of this Someone refresh my memory on the award I saw his name in nomination of last week? Might have seen that on the Big 12 website.

kranny 10 years, 9 months ago

"Adonis of the Big 12?" Somebody's got a man crush going on.

Dale Koch 10 years, 9 months ago

You are truly an inspiration to everyone TRob, young and old. I liked you from the very first time I saw you play last year and you are the most exciting player to watch on this team that has a multitude of exciting players. Keep up the great work. Rock Chalk!!

KUFan90 10 years, 9 months ago

+1 to everything above. And to be honest, I think the team needs to look for TRob more often. Even the announcers in the MU game were yelling to "feed the big man"! He many times had excellent position, sealed his man, the guards had a clear easy entry feed and they just passed it on around the interior.

"Feed the big man"!!

roggy 10 years, 9 months ago

I would like someone to write an article about the classless sign that was held up at Missouri which TRob and the team all saw. It was a huge blowup poster of the picture of TRob with his sister at the funeral for their mother. The sign said something like "you sad?". Missouri officials did take the sign away but the students got to stay. Thomas and our team had already seen it. Little did they know that it would just tick Robinson off and make him play even better! On the other hand, Coach Martin at K-State asked the fans to contribute to the fund set up for Jayla. Class act by Coach Martin.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 9 months ago

Perfect example of KSU make suck...but misery SWALLOWS!!!

10 years, 9 months ago

I seem to recall when Roy was our coach and had recently lost his mother, the Antlers had signs giving him crap about it. They truly have no limit as to how low they will go.

Alohahawk 10 years, 9 months ago

If TRob stays for another one to two years, Missery my regret having displayed the disrespectful sign showing Thomas and Jayla. That kind of classlessness can backfire, just like players comments can turn to bulletin board ammo. TRob won't forget and he will come out with a vengeance. Why am I not surprised a Missery fan would do such a thing?

WilburNether 10 years, 9 months ago

The "brilliant basketball minds" of the Morris twins? Really? So committing intentional and flagrant fouls, and being ejected from a game are the mark of a "brilliant basketball mind?" Really?

100 10 years, 9 months ago

We've never really cared one way or another about KSU. We have tended to respect your program just like we respect almost all of the other the other programs in the Big 12 (Big 8, Big 7, Big 6, Misspuri Valley), at least until Martin showed his true colors with the Curtis Kelly hearing. Truly shameful he didn't even sit him out one game.

Not sure why you're here. Do you guys have a board to post on? It looks like you've made the NCAA tournament so why not go there & discuss?

By the way congratulations on beating us this year. As for your trolls (or maybe 12 steps is your account), you guys don't show much creativity. Nothing wrong with that, it's just pretty easy to tell you're not a Missouri or Kentucky fan.

I smell jealousy from you. I feel like a red headed step child is in the room. We support you guys, just like we support Iowa State. You guys tend to be a respectable group.

Go find your own website & quit embarrassing your school. By the way, an elite 8 is not considered "an elite 8" if you just have to make the tournament as was the case in the 40's & 50's. There were 8 teams in the NCAA tournament back then!

Woody Cragg 10 years, 9 months ago

...I feel like a red headed step child is in the room. More like the proverbial "bastard at a family reunion". LOL

REHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

If our supremely talented guards for next season progress to the steadiness of Tyrel and Brady, Thomas will find the ball in his mitts often on the offensive end. Is hard to imagine a more talented crew of guards than EJ, TT, JS and Travis. Woolridge strikes me as a player who will rise to dependable focus. And if N. Tharpe shows up with the fine qualities with which he is touted, then WOW! Thomas and Withey and Justin or whichever big recruit makes the wise choice to commit to D. Manning's tutelage should have a fieldday in the paint. If the twins depart, I'd bet a bundle on the Jayhawks to land a primo big man, perhaps two.

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

If we only lose the seniors just think of this starting 5:

PG- EJ with TT backup 2 gaurd- Selby with Releford backup 3- Marcus with Releford backup or Kief 4- Markief- with a Marcus backup or a Withey 5- Trobb- Withey back up or either Twin

And that dosent include any recruits. Might lose a little in passing and outside shooting, but it will be a very explosive team!!!

HawkKlaw 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't see Self starting 3 power forwards (although each of them is starter-worthy). It'll probably be 3 guards (TT, EJ and Selby...or something similar) and then the Morris' down low with TRob quickly coming off the bench. Then again, there's a decent chance the Morris' won't be on the team next season, so my guess is that the starters will probably be TRob and some other "big" down low (maybe Withey, but hopefully a new recruit).

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

I was just thinking to expand his draft stock Marcus could lay the 3, he would cause all sorts of mismatches outside or inside.

But I have an odd feeling that the twins will be gone, but they aren't as normal as people think so who knows what they will do??????

Woody Cragg 10 years, 9 months ago

Everyone does things in life they are not proud of, so why are you so proud to incessantly point out how inferior intelligence is a theme of virtually all your posts? Just blowing your own horn? Now that's classy. Stay on line and you'll get hammered just like the other anonymous negative posters. We like to refer to it as dueling with an unarmed man. Come on down, there's always room for more.

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