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Monday, November 14, 2011

Keegan

Thomas Robinson MVP for KU

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In his nine seasons at Kansas University, Bill Self has coached more-polished basketball players than junior post man Thomas Robinson. But has he ever had a player as difficult to replace, as valuable to his team?

Not since Wayne Simien.

Sherron Collins as a junior and senior? Close. Collins broke down defenses with the same relentless spirit the late Joe Frazier took on taller, faster opponents. He opened up scoring opportunities for everybody and gave his team an edge off of which teammates fed. But when Collins sat, Kansas often became a better defensive team.

Brandon Rush? When Rush hit the bench, KU missed him defensively, on the boards, as a scorer, and in transition in both directions. The man never grew tired. But every team on which Rush played had more talent on the wings than this season’s post depth.

Darrell Arthur? He always had Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson to share the load up front and had Julian Wright his first season, Cole Aldrich his second.

Robinson ranks right there with Simien and Collins as the sort of difference-maker who completely changes the team when he’s on the floor.

Even against schools with bigger, thicker, more skilled frontcourts, KU can take comfort in knowing it has the nation’s best rebounder battling for possessions, except when foul trouble forces Robinson to take a seat.

The dropoff in frontcourt production when that happens projects as enormous. Robinson has no peer on the team in terms of rebounding, defending the goal and scoring on the blocks.

Avoiding foul trouble always presents a challenge for an athlete who plays with such passion.

A coach can do only so much to minimize a player’s fouls. One way Self likely will do so is to shelve a staple of recent seasons, big men moving to the perimeter to trap the ballhandler. Blessed with quick-afoot big men, Kansas has been one of the few schools able to execute it consistently in recent years. But it can lead to fouls, and KU can’t risk that with Robinson. Plus, Jeff Withey’s not a player that tactic suits.

Self can give Robinson a quick seat on both sides of media timeouts to reduce fatigue fouls, but the rest is up to Robinson to keep his head, avoid technical fouls and learn how to play defense while staying out of foul trouble. To hear Self explain it, the art has a counter-intuitive element to it in that the earlier and more aggressively a post player defends on a possession, the less chance he has of picking up a foul.

“Thomas is a big key,” Self said before explaining where Robinson fell short defensively in Friday night’s 100-54, season-opening victory against Towson. “Thomas’ man is a pressure release. (The guard) can throw it to him whenever he wants to. He’s going through some things that when he gets two fouls, his idea of playing defense and not fouling is to not guard, when it’s even more important that you play your man before he catches when you get two fouls so he doesn’t put you in jeopardy.”

It’s nothing an eager, athletic talent such as Robinson can’t learn.

“We just have to spend some time and work on that,” Self said. “He wants to do it. He’ll try, but certainly, we’ve got to do a better job with that.”

Comments

missmagoo 2 years, 5 months ago

Sherron Collins is a d0ucher. T-Rob has more integrity in one finger than SC did in his whole body. That is all.

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FSUJHAWK 2 years, 5 months ago

Actually, TR is the most outstanding player whereas JW, KY and company will be the most valuable.

BTW, no love for KU coming from the brainiacs at ESPN; seems like yUKKK is the best thing since slice bread.

RCJHGKU !!!

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cajayfan 2 years, 5 months ago

I enjoy the Kentucky trolls. Those who whine the most, are usually the most insecure. I am actually missing them today...

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Scut Farkus 2 years, 5 months ago

Is this something that anybody didn't already know? On the negativity? Most blogs tend to trend that way. It's very easy to rip on someone when no one knows who you are. Then, those who like valid discussions, get frustrated and quit posting. But I don't see as much negativity here as I have on other sports forums.

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REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Cockroaches scurrying: that is a terrific analogy! Actually, I have grown amused at a couple of our persistent contrarians who pop off almost daily with featherweight jabs which rarely advance beyond a forearm block. Bill Self runs such a quality program, and has posted such resoundingly splendid stats that anyone with at least 70% brain function can recognize that he is and has been one of the 3 or 4 best recruiters and coaches in Div. I ball throughout his head coaching career. There is absolutely no other coach in the nation that most faithful Jayhawk fans would rather see on the Jayhawk throne. Bill Self must wear flame retardant skivvies to protect himself from the wayward bashers who attempt to place him on the hotseat. Idiots....

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Konkis Dongington III 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's get it done tonight, Sir Thomas. If you can put this KU team on your back and put this UK team in its place, you'll be a top 5 draft pick and National Player of the Year candidate in your second game of the season. The entire Jayhawk Nation is behind you and we believe in you. RCJH!!!!!!!

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bradynsdad 2 years, 5 months ago

I have a question for some of the older posters. I have been on here a few years but has there always been this many negative fans on here? It seems as though every article posted has far more negative comments about how self can't coach or can't recruit. I know people have their own opinions but if you were a parent to a child and were going to help that child pick a school and got on this website, what would your reaction be? Not saying everyone isn't entitled to a little criticism but look at what self has done here. There was a stat put up the other night that said self in the last five years was the winningest coach and second place was Roy Williams who was fifteen games behind him. I was just curious if there had always been this many negative posters?

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khekhen 2 years, 5 months ago

sherron from 08-09 was a much more of a centerpiece than robinson will be on this year's squad. besides cole(who was a soph that year), collins was the sole scorer on a team that made it to the sweet 16 and almost beat a michigan state squad that made it to the final four.

robinson is no-doubt our biggest star but he has more help in the scoring dept than collins did. tyshawn, ej and releford are going carry the load(they're gonna have to). sherron didn't have the luxury of 3 established perimeter scorers playing alongside him, and most nights pulled miracles out of his arse'. i'll never forget the showdown with willie warren at OU that year. classic!!

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William Blake 2 years, 5 months ago

The best way for Thomas to avoid foul trouble against Jones is to take the ball to Jones. Go on the offense. Foul Jones out first!

Lots of strong moves and big time fakes. Get Jones in the air and draw the foul.

It isn't rocket science. It is the path to victory!

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 5 months ago

FWIW, the reporters do NOT write the headlines in most newsrooms. Coming up with those is the copy editor's job, but there are often suggestions thrown around when it's getting late and brains are fuzzy.

As for TRob, here's hoping that you have a GREAT game and have some FUN in the Garden. You have certainly earned it.

Rock Chalk, Thomas!!

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 5 months ago

I get a little tired of criticizing Keegan's writing. I don't get some sort of pleasure in doing so...But. First of all, "quick afoot" is not hyphenated. Why does a pro writer not know this?

But more than a stupid grammar/spelling error, the mere title of this article shows his lack of ability. Come on, Thomas Robinson MVP for KU? That's like proclaiming that the sky is blue, and writing an article to support my claim. Of course T-Rob is KU's most valuable player- he's the one guaranteed NBA player on this team. That's the most obvious statement someone can make about this team.

Today's article by Bedore about the Kentucky game is great, and very well written. It's full of quotations, analysis, numbers and stats. Good stuff. Keegan, meanwhile, sits at his computer and passes off an obvious statement as his article for the day.

Again, bagging on Keegan gets old after a while. But it's hard not to sometimes.

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