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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keegan

Amazing ‘11-12 Jayhawks came far

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— Thomas Robinson left his feet and kept going higher, higher, higher than anyone could have expected an athlete to go so late in such a physical game. He grabbed the defensive rebound and secured it with two hands this time.

Did he really go up that high? Did I just see that? Yes and yes.

The rebound, one of 17 for Robinson in Monday night’s 67-59 national-title-game loss to Kentucky inside the rat-infested Superdome, so perfectly symbolized the 2011-2012 Kansas Jayhawks.

Did they really win an eighth consecutive Big 12 title with a 16-2 record? Did they really make it all the way to the title game? Yes and yes.

Robinson, a unanimous first-team All-American, was the best player on a team to remember, a relentless competitor on a squad that kept driving expectations upward.

Through bloodshot eyes, the players talked about how much it hurt to fall a game short, but they knew they cobbled together a remarkable season, knew how much they had grown.

Junior guard Elijah Johnson came so far in so many areas in his first season as a starter. He grew more aggressive and so under-control on drives to the hoop, finishing strong by protecting the ball with his body. He showed an eagerness to take the big shot and made many of them. And he became so much more comfortable during interviews. (The skills student-athletes hone fielding questions in the NCAA-mandated open locker rooms will serve them well throughout life).

Johnson referenced the team’s attitude coming out of the final media timeout, with KU on a 6-0 run and trailing by nine with 3:52 left and Robinson heading to the free-throw line for two shots. Robinson, such a strong force, the more the game started to test the stamina of others, would make both shots to stretch the run to 8-0 and shrink the deficit to seven points.

“We all came out of the timeout smiling,” Johnson said. “No one could tell us that we were going to lose, except for the scoreboard. That was our mindset. We smiled and realized that, ‘We only have four minutes left to play with each other.’ We just said, ‘Hey, if they’re going to beat us, they’re going to remember us. They’re going to feel the last of us.’”

The more enjoyable a season, the deeper it plays out, the tougher it is for players to kiss it goodbye with a loss. Johnson snapped off a nice analogy to describe the feeling.

“When you get a puppy and you watch that puppy grow up and it dies, that hurts,” Johnson said. “To see something grow up in front of you, to see something develop in front of you, that hurts, especially something that wasn’t supposed to develop into what it developed into. ... I’m proud of this team. I love this team. I’ll remember this team forever.”

He is far from alone in that sentiment.

Comments

actorman 2 years, 6 months ago

"He is far from alone in that sentiment."

Ain't that the truth.

What a beautiful, magical season, something for all Jayhawk fans to truly cherish.

Hank Cross 2 years, 6 months ago

We're sad because we know will never see a season like this again. From the brutal schedule, to Mizzou games, to TRob becoming Superman and leading this team to the FF - more memories in one season than we could've ever hoped for. But, sometimes the best stories don't have happy endings.

swkhawk24 2 years, 6 months ago

I think I'll miss Ty and T-rob more than any other players ever to put on a KU jersey. They both let us into their lives and throughout the year I felt like I knew them personally. I feel so blessed to be able to watch these guys grow and accomplish so many great things. Rock Chalk Tyshawn and Thomas, best of luck to you in the future.

simbahawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Just remember...a "less than average" KU team almost beat a pro UK team. The squid must be worried what a really talented ( at least as designated by the so called experts) KU team coached by Bill Self will do to him in the future. And to those who say we were very lucky this year, I say back " damn straight, we are very lucky to have Bill Self" !!!

fansincewilt 2 years, 6 months ago

So many adversities but so many overcoming victories - this team never quit. I agree that this team is one for the ages. They have so much to be proud of. They became warriors. More talent will not necessarily mean greater success. The future teams need to take a lesson from this one. Hard work and the belief in one another are also very necessary ingredients. Perhaps this team benefited from so many telling them they were not as talented as some of the other teams. Robinson with his 18 points and 17 rebounds was the player of the game regardless of what the experts said. There will never be another one quite like him.

GabrielMichael 2 years, 6 months ago

TRob you can come back if you want to... We won't mind...

kusayzone 2 years, 6 months ago

"rat-infested Superdome" ? Now where did that come from???

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess he was talking about Matta, Boehim, and Calipari being in the building. Did anyone see if Calhoun was there too?

FSUJHAWK 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe the Keegan Tom and others observed a few of those big boys in the Media Room.

If Keegan was on top of his game he'd post a few pics online.

BTW, thanks for the laughs Keegan Tom. The season wouldnt have been the same without your astute reporting and insightful commentary.

RCJHGKU!!!

VaJay 2 years, 6 months ago

Probably referring to Ratzo Izzo ;)

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 6 months ago

I was going to include him and Coach Ratface (aka Consonants (aka Krzzwzzwzsky)) but I actually have some respect for those two. Thus I mentioned those in my mind who are the most utterly dispicable in the profession today (with all due respect for Ben Howland who is near breaking into that rarified air of the lower echelon)...

I really struggle to come up with anyone to name alongside Calhoun, Boeheim, and Calipari. Matta may not belong in that group. Howland might be more deserving. Pitino as a coach is repectable, as a person not so much. Many people on this board have vilified Scott Drew, but I actually think he's clean. Not that he can really coach. I don't care much for Huggins just because I don't know how he landed Beasley and Walker at K-State (still seems fishy). We'll see if he enters the bottom elite after WVU joins the Big 12.

To me Calhoun, Boeheim and Calipari really stand alone as the jerks and cheats of college hoops.

deepind 2 years, 6 months ago

Regarding Huggins landing Beasley and Walker - well, he was not coaching in college for year! It means that he didn't have to play by the NCAA recruiting rules - number of calls/texts, number of visits, recruiting period, etc. He could have even wined & dined them! As long as they did not receive money or property that can be traced and tracked down, they are eligible "student athletes".

Disclaimer: I am saying that all that happened because obviously I do not know for sure or have any proof. I am just saying that things of that nature could have happened and it won't be a violation of the NCAA rules.

oldalum 2 years, 6 months ago

I would expect it to be rat infested. Everything else around there is. Either river rats or nutria are everywhere in that river city, about the size of cats.

brooksmd 2 years, 6 months ago

I retired from the USPS a year ago and worked at the main office down by the dome. Was out on the dock one night and saw a rat as big as a cat dragging a bag of mail off.

Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 6 months ago

Impressive season by all accounts. I couldn't be more thrilled..despite falling short in the title game for such an incredible season. This team should be proud. Fans should be even more proud of what they have done. Will miss this bunch.

HawkeyePierce 2 years, 6 months ago

Kentucky beating the Hawks just proves that sometimes, evil wins.

Displayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

They are the Oakland Raiders of college basketball, except they have white trAshley Judd as their biggest fan. Two reasons as good as any to hate them.

actorman 2 years, 6 months ago

I hate UK as much as anybody, but there is no reason to "trash" Ashley Judd, who has always struck me as smart and classy (not to mention beautiful). I would argue that she's the exception to the rule re UK fans.

actorman 2 years, 6 months ago

My comments are reserved only for Ashley, lol.

Displayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Have you seen her lately??? She is looking rougher than she used to. I also heard she made disparaging remarks about KU on her Twitter account before the game, so that's my reason for condemnation.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

Age has not been kind to Ashley. She is definitely not the cute chick she used to be.

hayjawk 2 years, 6 months ago

It is still possible that evil will lose out and we will be crowned. If Cal's past modus operendi surfaces (as per current inquiry), we may become the all time victories champ too. One can only hope...

kef104 2 years, 6 months ago

We do not get the crown if Cal and co. vacate their title. The argument is any team they played should have moved on and we do not know if any of them could have or would have beaten us. Thus the title is left as vacated.

Mel Clare 2 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, Colin Cowherds show on ESPN his lady associate(cant think of her name) and him were arguing about Cal........she said she can not like him because the Cats will be giving up thier wins and title in 3 years when the NCAA finds something against his recruiting style or a player or players and has to vacate it all.................I had to laugh!

Hank Cross 2 years, 6 months ago

As far as I am concerned the issue was settled on the court and we have to live with the result. I hate this vacating wins business. UK win should stand in same way KU's FB win over MU in 1960 should stand.

akgjenkintown 2 years, 6 months ago

Possible to vacate a season, but I don't recall if a championship could or would be transferred. I doubt it. The best shirts at the Final Four where worn by Louisville fans in reference to Calipari's past.

“Beat UK!” on the front and “So At Least Calipari Won’t Have to Vacate Another Final Four Win” on the back.

The design has a “Vacate” sign hanging over the “A” in Calipari, and a footnote that reads “Ask the folks at UMass & Memphis” along the bottom.

http://www.lostlettermen.com/wp-content/uploads/Louisville-Shirt-John-Calipari.jpg

There were a few of their fans wearing this shirt cheering for KU on Monday.

2 years, 6 months ago

Very funny and creative t-shirt :-)

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 6 months ago

I've got nothing against the players that suited up for Kentucky.

Heck, I hated Terrance Jones after the whole "hat fiasco" and reaching for Kansas, then wearing Washington, then committing to Kentucky. But I don't hate him anymore.

I never gave Anthony Davis any credit all year because I felt like he was billed as National POY just because he scored 14 points off of wide open dunks and because he collected a few rebounds and blocked a bunch of shots because his guards knew they could overplay the perimeter all year long. And the truth is, I was right in all of that. But he also did so much more for his team. He was a much better basketball player than I gave him credit for.

I still think TRob should have been POY just because he was the focal point of our offense and the focal point of every defense all year long, and he led the nation in rebounding and double doubles, and he excelled against the toughest opponents all year.

But I reserve all of my Kentucky hate for the coach. And maybe a little for the fans.

This Kansas team really made us proud. I hope that TT, TRob, Teahan, and Junnemann visit frequently. TRob will be in the rafters. TT maybe maybe not, but he'll be in the record books and in the hearts of fans for a long time.

Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 6 months ago

Agreed about the POY stuff. If their roles were reversed, and it was TRob playing with 4 first rounders to take the pressure off... I firmly believe he would outperform Davis.

JayDoc91 2 years, 6 months ago

He did outperform Davis: TRob- 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds per game Davis- 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds per game POY voters were drinking the Kentucky kool-aid, Thomas was the real player of the year. When Kentucky has to vacate the NC because they find the money trail to Davis' dad, will Davis have to vacate the POY as well for being ineligible?

Robert Brown 2 years, 6 months ago

Every year it takes some time to connect with a team. I think we all were aware of the flaws with this team. As a result, I believe I paid more attention earlier in the season than I normally do. The flaws- lack of depth, poor decisionmaking, no consistent outside shot- were on display in almost all of the key games. That the team overcame these flaws in most key games makes them all the more memorable.

Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 6 months ago

So much to be excited about!

We've got EJ, Withey, Releford, and Young returning as our Senior leaders and alot of fresh talent in McLemore, Ellis and White. Bill Self also just won the Naismith award, hopefully he's getting some more traction recruiting now than he was a month ago.

Oh, and Charlie Weis...

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

Last Monday night there was 12 of us watching the game; 7 KU, 3 KSU, 1 Texas and 1 MU...yea, I know...

What was interesting is the essentially all of us thought that the refs were extremely biased, particularly in the first half. when TRob and Withey were being pounded inside and nary a foul was called. The first foul on Kentucky was called more than five minutes into the game, and out of the seven fouls in the half, five came in the last 5 minutes of the half. There was also what we all thought was a goal tending, but Davis was credited with a block instead. I have been trying to find a video of that play.

All in all, the consensus was this time Calipari got an insurance policy; since buying the players proved not to be enough, this time he bought the refs too.

I don't mean to sound whiny or like sour grapes, but when even an MU fan agrees with KU fans, there must be something to it.

BTW, my MU friend was politely "asked" to wear my 2008 KU championship t-shirt over his MU t-shirt; his wife, a KU fan "insisted" and the smell of steak was too much for him to stay in the driveway. Probably the only time he will ever wear a National Championship shirt.

Alex Peekeaton 2 years, 6 months ago

As a UK fan watching the game, I saw the exact opposite when it came to the officials especially in the first half. The block from Davis on TRob was at its peak and was a clean block if you look at the replay from a side view. I have watched the replay several times and I thought Kansas benefited from these 4 calls.

  1. (13:40) Doron Lamb layup and foul...obvious goal tending call on Taylor with his hand going through the net was not called. Cost UK a point.

  2. (13:15) Withey makes 3 point play on layup and foul on Jones. Reverse angle showed Jones didn't even come close to touching Withey. Cost UK a point.

  3. (10:46) Gilchrest makes layup on loose ball but ends up on his back hitting his head. Replay clearly shows Wesley grabbing Gilchrest's shoulder from behind and pulling him to ground. No foul was called. Cost UK a FT attempt.

  4. (4:24) Davis called for charge. Replay clearly shows Young jumping into Davis as Clark Kellogg stated. Cost UK a basket plus FT attempt.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

BBall2012,

Interesting that you had every bad call marked to the minute; I lost count of the bad calls after the first 5 minutes of the first half.

  1. I only saw a quick glance of the replay, so I will not comment on that

  2. A foul no question about it.

  3. This is what Kentucky did the entire first half and no fouls were called. Every time that Robinson or Withey had the ball under the basket, they were hacked by several players with no call.

  4. Are you nuts? Davis clearly turns, lowers his shoulders and plows into Young. Way, way, way too obvious for the refs not to call it.

Kellogg is a former OSU player and did a horrible job in the previous game (OSU-KU) and was still smarting from the loss of his team. Did you notice that he kept track of every single Davis block and he failed to do the same with Withey's even when he tied and then broke the all-time NCAA tournament record? Can you spell anti KU bias? CBS should have had someone else without an agenda call the game.

I believe your Kentucky blue colored glasses do not allow you to see clearly; I know my Crimson And Blue sometimes get in the way.

Having said that, I appreciate the tone of your post, you stand by your team and I respect that. Some fans from other schools that occasionally post here tend to be rude and obnoxious and have little or no knowledge of the game.

Now, a quick question for you:

Which comes first, Calipari jumping to the NBA or the NCAA vacating the title? I have my money on Calipari going to the Knicks first.

Alex Peekeaton 2 years, 6 months ago

JayHawkFanToo, No rose colored here...I have been more critical of the refs (especially the charge calls) over the year and believe its only getting worse. I wish we had NBA refs to call these games. If you get a chance a view the plays that I identified, you will see. Its funny how you want to throw out the lack of fouls on the UK big men being physical with TRob (not Withey - didnt have to) when his entire game is to bang his defender off the block 4 feet from the basket, catch a pass, and then dunk the ball. TRob was very effective against smaller teams, but thats not going to work on UK's Jones who is 6'9 255lbs. I absolutely laughed at the story of the story appearing on KUSports on TRob stating "UK Bullied Me in First Game" considering that is what he does every game to his opponents!!! Coach Cal isn't going anywhere - he has been there, done that with the Nets. Number 8 is Great....

Alex Berger 2 years, 6 months ago

First off, I appreciate that you aren't throwing blind insults about the team or our fans. Though, I must disagree with you not wearing rose-colored glasses. Everyone (aka the entire United States) hated Kentucky this year because they were extremely physical and taunted opponents worse than most teams. When TRob was talking about Kentucky bullying he wasn't talking about their tough play, he was probably talking about how Kentucky still went for our players after the whistle was blown and there were several hard fouls that I was shocked UK didn't get any technicals called (didn't see that as much in the 'ship though). Terrence Jones and Teague (I think it was him, but I particularly remember Jones) tried to start a fight with Robinson on multiple occasions that game. What TRob does during game isn't "bullying," it's backing down your defender because you are stronger than them. He wasn't complaining about that. If you watched KU basketball you would know he enjoys good competition.

I want to be fair though and say that Kentucky was easily the best team in the country. I think Anthony Davis is as classy as a player as you can get. But when our team is getting hacked and slapped consistently it's hard to not get upset and probably leads us to not see it on the other end. Most teams have gotten away with hacking at Robinson because he is able to out-muscle opponents with his lower body so it has been frustrating for us fans all year.

Congrats on your 8th title, UK was the best team. But try and take off those glasses in the future and see the game for what it is. Your team was good, but man are they easy to hate.

Alex Peekeaton 2 years, 6 months ago

First and foremost, have nothing but respect for KU program and most of KU fans...Self is a class act and deserves all COY awards given to him...second point, did you see TRob do a T-Bag on Terrence Jones in the first meeting at MSG? Not only did he do it to Jones, he did it against T-A&M and K-State as well. You want to talk about a "Thug" or a "Bully", going around T-Bagging players is the perfect definition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhip_P... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwtqYm...

I have watched the game several times now and just don't see the fouls...I will be watching the replay with a huge KU fan to possibly enlighten me in what I am possibly missing!

Alex Berger 2 years, 6 months ago

Haha well I guess I can get the T-Bagging thing but it's not like that is new in sports and that is barely offensive when its a simple walk over. TRob didn't linger over his head like a lot of football players do. He just walked over him. Plus, Jones deserved it after that flop...

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

BBall2012, I believe that the new circle in the paint is responsible for an inordinate number of bad call. The refs look at the feet of the defensive player at the time of contact and call it at charge if they are outside the circle, even if he slid under the offensive player. The circle has made the refs lazy as the can get "plausible deniability" based solely on the position of the players in relation to the arc.

As far as Robinson being a thug, nothing could be further from the truth. I understand that you have not seen a lot of KU games. Most posters have seen every KU game and we have seen how many times opposing players have tried to get Robinson into a fight, and he invariably lifted his arms and walked away...not exactly what a thug would do. If you follow the Big 12, you would know that Robinson is not considered a thug or a dirty player; in fact it is quite the opposite.

sad_lawrencian 2 years, 6 months ago

Keegan is st---d. Oops I can't say it because it would violates the site's terms of use. Gasp.

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