Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Elijah Johnson: T-Rob’s KU career ‘all over’

Kansas players Jeff Withey, front, Travis Releford and Conner Teahan leave the court as the Kentucky players celebrate their 67-59 national championship win on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.

Kansas players Jeff Withey, front, Travis Releford and Conner Teahan leave the court as the Kentucky players celebrate their 67-59 national championship win on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.


Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor post-game interviews

Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor talk about KU's loss to Kentucky and the KU team they love.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Kentucky coach John Calipari and players

Kentucky coach John Calipari and players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones and Darius Miller talk to reporters following the Wildcats' 67-59 victory over Kansas on April 2, 2012, in the national championship game in New Orleans.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson

Kansas coach Bill Self, guard Tyshawn Taylor and forward Thomas Robinson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 67-59 loss to Kentucky on April 2, 2012, in the national championship game in New Orleans.

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KU vs. Kentucky

Box score

— Kansas University junior Thomas Robinson, who is expected to be a top-five pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, obviously played his last game as a Kansas Jayhawk on Monday night.

Juniors Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey, however, indicated they’ll definitely return for their senior seasons.

“I’ll let him make the announcement,” coach Bill Self said after the 6-foot-10 junior Robinson went out with 18 points and 17 boards in a 67-59 national title loss to Kentucky in the Superdome. “I’d be shocked (if he came back).”

Robinson said “obviously” when asked if he had a decision to make. He added “no” when asked if he knew what the decision would be.

Noted Elijah Johnson about his roommate: “I’d be stupid in my head to think Thomas would be back. It’s all over, man, it’s over,” he added, indicating he felt so sorry his buddy came out on the losing end.

Withey, who had five points and four blocks, said: “I’m coming back. That’s the plan.”

Johnson, who had 13 points, said of returning as senior floor general: “I’m definitely thinking about next year already. I plan on taking a couple weeks off, then getting in the gym. I plan on getting to work and not sleeping a lot.”

Case loves Jayhawks: Jeremy Case, a backup guard on KU’s 2008 NCAA title team, said the 2011-12 team’s march to the title game was awe-inspiring.

“I’m a little nervous, but more just happy and proud they made it here,” Case, assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State, said before the game. “They’ve played great. I’m really pulling for the guys to win it all.”

He realized KU entered as a heavy underdog versus Kentucky.

“They’ve got seven NBA players on that team,” Case said of the Wildcats.

‘Keef’ proud: Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns ribbed his NBA teammate, Michael Redd, formerly of Ohio State, after the Jayhawks’ Final Four semifinal victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday.

“Of course (I did),” Morris told “He just keeps saying ‘You know, we should’ve won that game.’ I don’t know nothing. I’m going off what I watched.”

Of the Jayhawks’ run, Morris said: “I had my shot last year. I was there with all those guys that are there now. I know what they’re capable of. I knew this year would be a good year for them. I was happy for those guys. They fought hard.”

Faces in crowd: KU football coach Charlie Weis attended, as did former KU basketball players Chase Buford, Nick Bradford, Jeff Graves, Greg Gurley, Clyde Lovellette, Xavier Henry, Christian Moody, Moulaye Niang, Dave Robisch, Bud Stallworth, Stephen Vinson and Wayne Simien.

Interesting comments on Twitter leading up to game: From former KU guard Josh Selby: “Rock chalk do I need to say more????”

Former KU guard Rex Walters: “Who do you think the Walters Boys are rooting for tonight?”

Also from the San Francisco Dons coach ... “Sooooooo Happy!!!!!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!! Wave the wheat!!!!!” Walters wrote after the semifinal win over Ohio State.

Former KU forward Marcus Morris: “We gonna shock the world!!! KU we all we got!!!” Also ... “Since I have a game I’m gonna miss the championship :(.” And another: “Thomas Robinson is the next Chris Webber.”

Former KU guard Nick Bradford: “I think my son is confused today, his mama’s from Kentucky and prob will have him m some UK gear but n his heart he knows the deal KU haha!”

Former KU forward Nick Collison: “Jayhawks have had an incredible year.Overachieved the whole time. Coach Self &staff have done a great job & the guys have really stepped up”

Former KU forward Paul Pierce: “Here we go KU , UK lets do it JayHawk nation bring em on”

Also from Pierce, “I need to go put Rondo in a headlock right now to let him kno what it’s gonna be like tomorrow Rock Chalk.”

Return: KU officials said the Jayhawks were to leave New Orleans for the flight home at 5 p.m. today. A welcome home at Allen Fieldhouse will be approximately 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Bonuses: USA Today pointed out in Monday’s editions that a national title would mean $350,000 to UK coach John Calipari, $200,000 to KU coach Bill Self via contract incentives. Calipari received $400,000 in bonuses for winning the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16, Round of Eight and Final Four. The $750,000 in performance incentives would move his earnings for the season to more than $6.1 million. Self received $200,000 for winning the Big 12 regular-season championship and reaching the Final Four. The $350,000 in incentives for winning it all would have moved his season earnings to more than $3.9 million.


Jeff Kilgore 2 years ago

Tyshawn will be missed. My entire family raved about his play for KU all year because of the great team player and great teammate he was. I'm excited that he'll walk the hill in May. So many kids don't see how important this is.

The championship game was only sad for me in that we won't see Robinson and Taylor play in a KU uniform ever again. Having Self as head coach makes our team a perennial Top 5-10 program year in, year out. This year proved that without a doubt.

There is more to come. Lots more to come. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.


simbahawk 2 years ago

I have been saying to my friends who say "sorry for the loss " ...."our less than average KU team almost beat a pro UK team!!!". So I am sad for our players but so proud of this team, this university. The squid can load up all he wants with one and dones, but he will always know his pro team almost lost again to a Bill Self team. And to those jerks who told me KU was lucky this year, I say "damn right! We are VERY lucky to have Bill Self!"

Can' t wait for our future.


JayHok 2 years ago

Wow. Did he really tweet that?

If Robinson stays---Talk about a loaded team.


brian33 2 years ago

Trob tweeted, "thinking about staying, love my team!!". Followed by, " and I promise to bring back the trophy!". Don't play with our emotions TRob!!


IBRONNIEB 2 years ago

I only want to say Thank You, to each and every player on this team! You are all champions! You make me proud to be a Jayhawk fan! And to TRob you are, and will remain, my favorite player. Good luck at the next level. Dam proud to have had a chance to watch you play. RCJH


Alohahawk 2 years ago

Neighborhoods change over the years. Players move in. Others move on. If TRob decides to enter the draft, the Jayhawk Nation's neighborhood will no longer be the same. There will no longer be a 'Mr. Robinson's mailbox' located here. However, for those basketball fans who can remember one of the best power forwards to play in the NBA - Carl Mallon (sp), of the Utah Jazz - I can imagine TRob becoming the new 'Mailman' in the NBA: Mr. Thomas Robinson, a muscular power forward with a desire to win and prove he's the best at his position.

Thomas: Whether you stay or go, it's your decision, and yours alone, because it will effect the rest of your life. Let no one else influence that decision. No matter which way you decide, count me as one who wishes you the best.


GabrielMichael 2 years ago

For the record Mr. Robinson... we will love and respect you whatever you decide... but if you decide to come back we will support that too!


illuminatironin 2 years ago

All I can say is that we are going to be even more awesome next year. We are in good hands. I would bet that in the next three seasons we see more FF's that Kentucky. Crapapari caught lightning in a bottle this year but eventually it will catch up to him.


Michael Luby 2 years ago

Great, Great season! Way over achieved all year long. I'll miss TRob and Tyshawn but those 3 guys coming back will be our experienced anchors and ALLLL those outstanding freshmen coming in next season will give us the depth, balance and talent we need to chase another ring next year! Those boys will be great again, I just know it. Starting 5 off the top of my head: Elijah PG; Ben Mac SG; T Rele SF; Perry Ellis PF, Withey C. Plus all those other guys off the bench, look out, 9th straight conf Champ and final four contender! RCJH4Life


mgphill 2 years ago

I'm going to miss Tyshawn. It's strange that despite him playing 4 years, it feels like only 1 because he was so different this year.

Hope he can break the first round.


4Runner 2 years ago

Another point to consider,,, No amount of money can buy you back the senior season experience as a Jayhawk basketball player. No amount of pressure should deny you that experience. There is no other program that once a player, a player would want to walk away from. How many millions of dollars does one need to comfortably live and support a family? The millions will be there for TRob,,, his decision is when does he need to start collecting that paycheck next year or the following years.


kdeutch 2 years ago

Even though I don't want to see him go, Jeff Withey should go to the NBA because:

a) He's been slightly injury prone (remember what happened to Roderick Stewart, and that was just in the lay-up line!).

b) Withey is going to be a 5th year senior, and for some reason the NBA loves you when you're 18-19 & hates you when you're 23-24.

c) Under HCBS's offense the 4 & 5 become the go to guy. This year Withey has played along side TRob & TRob was "the man". Unless McLemore or Ellis can be "the man" as a 1st yr. player, Withey must be "the man", and he's risking a drop in draft value if he fails.

d) If Withey has an extended NBA career, then next year would be one less year for him to earn millions of dollars in his professional career.

e) He definately should leave if an NBA team guarantees to take him in the 1st round. Personally, I don't think that he can play his way next year to lottery draft status. It looks like the only possible for him to go is down.


4Runner 2 years ago

There is an NCAA insurance policy for players that are projected lottery picks that stay if they get hurt. Its not as much as he could make, but enough to take care of him for life. TRob will only increase his value by staying.

Ask yourself this,,, what would KU basketball be today had Danny left? I bet the Morris twins would have given anything to have been part of this years run. It was their choice not to be here. It's decisions like this one that can make history and become part of the fabric of legacy programs.

Elite college players can either follow the herd of early departures, or make a statement. You can either be on the outside looking in next season, or on the inside sporting the Crimson & Blue competing with your Jayhawk brothers. No matter your decision TRob, you have always been, and will always be appreciated and beloved by Jayhawk nation! Rock Chalk Jayhawks, Forever KU!


kdeutch 2 years ago

Faces in crowd: I also saw on TV former Jayhawk coach, Ted Owens, sitting next to current Syracuse coach, Jim Boehiem!


Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

Loved watching this team all year.

Congratulations are in order for a terrific year. We could have won that game last night, but we can't live in the past.

Best wishes to TRob, Tyshawn, Teahan, and Junnemann. TRob is a lock for the NBA Lottery and probably top 5. I hope Tyshawn breaks into the first round he deserves it. I know that Teahan and Junemann will be successful in whatever the future holds for them.

Meanwhile, the future is bright for KU Basketball. The Bill Self coaching tree is alive an d well, and we will have a solid team next year with Withey, Johnson, Releford, Young, Tharpe, and Wesley returning, and the additions of BMac, Perry Ellis, Jamari (J-Train) Traylor, the kid from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Texas, etc.... Along with the expected development of guys like Merv Lindsay, Niko Roberts, and Christian Garrett.

I have been day-dreaming all morning of the length, strength, and athleticism of this potential best lineup next year: Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore, Travis Releford, Perry Ellis, Jeff Withey.


FLJHK 2 years ago

Of course it would be wonderful to have TRob back. He is no where near his ceiling as a basketball player and it would be great to watch him develop another year in a Jayhawk uniform. But TRob is a man and has huge responsibilities. I'm 99.9% certain that means he goes pro. And good for him. What I'd really love is for him to someday make his home in Lawrence. But wherever he is, he will always have a home and a place in the heart of Jayhawk Nation.


akgjenkintown 2 years ago

Withey, who had five points and four blocks, said: “I’m coming back. That’s the plan.”

Please, please work out in the off season and get stronger. You can block shots, but that will not be enough to replace T-Rob's production next year. You need to become more explosive around the rim on the offense and tougher on the boards. You kept UK's AD wondering how to score, but then let the opponents rip the balls out of your hand and you did not finish strong around the rim. You have to help lead this team next year as a senior, but you need to become a more complete player.


Bill Kackley 2 years ago

The hawks did us proud. Never quit. Definetly one of my all-time favorite teams. As a former coach, I've got to love these guys.


Sally Presson 2 years ago

I'm so proud of our team, you will live in our hearts always!! I want to comment on how TRob & Tyshawn conducted themselves on the lockeroom interview. those sports writers are ignorant!!! I hate it when they ask the losing team how they feel, well, they feel like crap, they should not be able to ask such stupid questions to the guys on the losing team. I hope this next week the team will realize how proud the KU fans are of them and what a tremendous team you all are. You will go down in KU history. Calipari bragged on how classey his fans are---REALLY!!!?? Is turning cars over and setting fire a classey act? He also bragged about them not storming the court because they expected to win. I don't recall KU fans ever storming the court or turning cars over and setting them on fire. Our fans not only love the Jayhawks forever, they would never be distructive. Time will ease your pain guys and reflect on how great you are. I can't hardly bear to think of TRob leaving and not seeing him in a Jayhawk uniform, but he has so much on his plate, I wish him the very best, just know we love you TRob, & Tyshawn--you are a bright spot, I'm going to miss your amazing plays and your smile, best of luck to you. Come back and see us when you have a break


ku_foaf 2 years ago

This is the day you realize it truly is over. You suddenly remember no one else has still been playing for awhile. It dawns on you last night was the final time you will see some players in a Kansas uniform.

Yes, Thomas will move on. I would do the same in his place.

Thanks Thomas, Tyshawn and Conner. You had a great final year!!

Congratulations Coach Manning, we will miss you greatly.


milehighhawk 2 years ago

Anyone who is even suggesting Thomas should come back is being naive and selfish. TRob has bigger stuff to take care of, and gave us something special this year. Now is a time to express appreciation.


Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

Also EJ should be able to raise his Draft Stock in moving over to the primary full-time PG now too.


67jayhawk19 2 years ago

TROB--Look what Manning accomplished in his last year a KU and still made a lot of money in the NBA with the first pick of the draft.


gchawk 2 years ago

Elijah, in my opinion you and your teammates didn't come out on the losing end. You had one whale of a successful season, you just came up a little short in the final game. My cup runeth over with pride for you guys, a successful season can't be measured by the final game.


jayhawkinATL 2 years ago

Only makes sense for Withey to come back. Right now, he's projected mid to late second round. He needs to develop more strength so that he's not stripped of the ball as much as he is and so he can finish more consistently on the offensive end. I'm sure he will be sent to as many "big man" camps this summer as possible. Easily see him working his was to the mid first round next year.


Gil Ek 2 years ago

TROB will be back. He gets it here! Don't give up a senior year in college with this group of friends/teamates. Develope even more here. Look at the stats. Aldrich, Morris, Wright, Henry, Selby, and others. Benchwarmers, D League, sparse minutes. You will be playing for a team that was bad this year in The NBA. Looking back I wouldn't trade my senior year to rush into my career. It will be there next year. Think of another run as a JAYHAWK!! THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!


jhox 2 years ago

Anyone else annoyed at the CBS announcers failure to recognize Withey setting the single tournament block record? Guess they were too busy with the Anthony Davis love fest to notice that no only did Withey break the record, he also held Davis to 0 of 9 shooting from the floor while he (Withey) was in the game. The one Davis made came against Young, with Withey on the bench.

Great season, Jeff. Work on strengthening those hands in the off season. We're going to need a lot of scoring from you next season.


Jason Keller 2 years ago

Thomas Robinson,

We love you Thomas and we will never forget you. Don't you even think about coming back for your senior year. Of course we would love to have you but you have given this University enough. Go get paid and take care of your little sister. Whoever drafts you is automatically my new favorite NBA team!! Come back and see us!!


Michael Pannacciulli 2 years ago

Having Withey back is huge. EJ also.


Bob Forer 2 years ago

The best of the best. This remarkable season made us all so proud. The pleasures and wonderful memories of this great season will always be with us.


Robert Moore 2 years ago

These guys are what being a Jayhawk is all about.


phogphan2000 2 years ago

Jeff it's exciting to know you broke the NCAA tourney blocked shots record and are coming back for your senior year. Not only that you'll be back to anchor the defense and work hard to improve yourself as a player, but that all the young big men we have coming in will have a warrior to look up to and learn from. I hope you cherish the leadership role you'll be in along with guys like EJ and TRel.


Hail_To_Thee 2 years ago

Mangino = Nuff Said



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