Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Thomas Robinson’s game (not head) expanding



Bill Self weekly press conference: Jan. 9, 2012

video thumbnail

Kansas head men's basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media at his weekly press conference Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Thomas Robinson and Travis Releford talk before Texas Tech game

KU forward Thomas Robinson says he doesn't have the green light from KU coach Bill Self to take it coast to coast after getting a rebound. "More like a yellow," Robinson said with a laugh. He and KU small forward Travis Releford talked to media members on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Two days after Thomas Robinson freed himself late during a coast-to-coast drive with a behind-the-back dribble, and five days after ESPN’s Dick Vitale chose him as his mid-season college basketball player of the year, teammate Travis Releford talked about an advantage to Robinson flying solo.

“We can just take off,” Releford said. “We don’t have to wait for the pass.”

So, Thomas, do you have the green light to dribble the whole way?

His smile answered the question before he did.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Robinson said. “More like a yellow.”

Once a game, Robinson will do something he hadn’t done before, such as Saturday’s behind-the-back dribble in transition in the victory in Norman, Okla. Afterward, he’ll smile and make sure to say he won’t make a habit of it.

He has hit a three-pointer, has played the point in transition setting up others for easy buckets and routinely has hit elbow and baseline jumpers, demonstrating how far his game has come so quickly.

Rebounding and scoring close to the basket remain his bread and his butter, and he hasn’t forgotten that.

Robinson (12.1 per game) ranks second in the nation in rebounding to Siena’s O.D. Anosike (12.4) and is tied for third with 10 double-doubles.

Averaging 17.5 points per game, Robinson has the same number of dunks (39) as the rest of the team combined. He’s shooting .534 from the field and .659 from the line.

None of those statistical achievements could be attained without Robinson’s most obvious, least talked-about improvement. He doesn’t commit personal fouls nearly as frequently.

As a freshman, Robinson got whistled for 5.5 fouls per 30 minutes, 4.2 per 30 as a sophomore and 2.7 this season. Avoiding foul trouble has enabled Robinson to average 30.9 minutes per game, second only to Tyshawn Taylor (32.1).

Robinson has had passive defensive games, none worse than Davidson, but overall his coach has no complaints.

“I think he’s playing better defensively, I really do,” ninth-year Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I think he’s playing his man a little better before he catches it, and he has done a good job of staying out of foul trouble, knock on wood. I think he’s getting smarter.”

As a team, depth-challenged Kansas has avoided foul trouble.

“Against K-State, in a game in which there’s usually a ton of fouls called, we were able to play pretty consistently with our feet and our head and not do a ton of reaching and grabbing inside,” Self said.

The coach said he hasn’t talked to Robinson about Vitale’s mid-season award, which shows he doesn’t fear his best player’s head will swell from it.

“It’s a great compliment to hear that,” Robinson said. “But the Player of the Year’s not given out until the end of the year, so I’ve still got a lot more work to do. The whole focus is to get the conference championship and then win the tournament.”


jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

The next step is for TRob to hang a 30/20 on a first tier team within the flow of the offense.

He will do it, after EJ gets untracked sometime during the next 5 games.

TRob needs everyone on the perimeter respected to have a career night against a top team.

This will happen soon.

utahjayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Good job jaybate, good points and brief.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

I am actually working on brevity.

I am just retaining length, too. :-)

I have always gone short and long, but the long one's attract more attention and responses, both positive and negative.

So: I am trying to get better at going short, so they attract as much response, as the long ones.

Actually, I am always trying all kinds of things. Some just aren't apparent, or effective. :-)

John Gallup 9 years, 10 months ago

This team will peak at the right time and we know who the best player in the country is. RCJH

lothario64118 9 years, 10 months ago

Peak in time to get knocked out by another mid-major.

Question: How has Self changed the hi-lo this season? Still appears to be the same offensive play. Nothing has changed.

blackhawkjayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Right is right. Title or no, Self has also coached some of the most shameful losses in KU history. Own it.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

Anyone that knows anything about college basketball considers Self an elite coach. He's won so many games that it's fairly undeniable. Look at what he's done this season! I like how you pulled the arbitrary "well, he should have at least two final fours by now." Right. So how many final fours make an elite coach? How many National Championships? How many one-and-dones should he have signed? Is 84% winning percentage at an elite program not good enough to be an elite coach? Please tell me, I'm dying to know.

baldwinjhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

That is only because an elite 8 appearance is unacceptable in lawrence. They make elite 8 dvd's and sell them in Manhattan and Columbia... wait....I don't think dvd's were out yet the last time mizzou went to an elite 8..right?

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


Self won a ring.

Getting upset a few times is just the luck of the draw, when Self gambles and sends them out flat for midmajors in order to amp them for majors.

If anything, having been upset a few times now, Self's luck is apt to change for the better vs. Midmajors.

Cantkeepagooddudedown 9 years, 10 months ago

God Jaybate... i'm not entirely new... you know me... and we have been "cool"... but you got to get off of that "Self won a ring" thing....

I didn't like Self at first... i didn't like how he handled the players he inherited. But I grew to become a big fan... gave him some credit for that selfless, defense-first team that won it all.

But over time... i think these are the truths that can't be avoided:

1) Self was far more luckier than his predecessor in winning a ring... it had nothing to do with coaching skill and everything with luck.

2) Self coaches an ugly brand of basketball that isn't as fun to watch... which is all good if it guarantees a farther run in the tournament... which it clearly does NOT!

3) Self hasn't gotten upset a few times against mid-majors in the tournament... he's gotten upset EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!! Davidson doesn't count. They had Curry and they beat the crap out of a lot of good teams before they ran into KU.

4) He is ONE MAN! If he got offered the OSU job the same year he came here and took the OSU job... where would we rank him as a coach?!!!!

There ain't a soul on this website that would rank him in the top 20.... that is a mother F ing fact..

People puffing him up because he is... HERE!!!!

He would not have all the WINS and CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS he has here. He has those because he's at KANSAS.

That's a fact.

I believe that with another coach... we probably lost one or two big 12 conference championships... but i also believe we make it to more final fours. How is it right to criticize someone for believing that?

I'm a huge, HUGE KU fan. There isn't one bigger. But I'm just open to the idea that there "may" be a better alternative.

Is that completely asinine and wrong?

Dick Murdock 9 years, 10 months ago

I think you are missing the fact that at KU basketball programs are measured in decades, not 8 1/2 years. I hear this same argument about poor recruiting classes. If those folks from Columbia get to you with their mid-major put-downs maybe you should stop reading the Star. And finally, are there better coaches out there? Maybe. But I sure wouldn't want to put a tremendous program in jeopardy by going out to see.

John Randall 9 years, 10 months ago

You have an amusing definition of the word "fact", but I don't accept the premise you follow – that what he wins doesn't count, and any slip-up defines his career.

What is "fact" is that nothing you say is anything more than bovine fecal matter.

Cantkeepagooddudedown 9 years, 10 months ago

So your saying if Bill Self went to Mizzou instead... they'd have all these conference championships and we'd be wishing we'd hired him.


He'd be sucking hind tit and KU would still be winning with the other good coaching hire they made.

That is a fact. So eat that fecal matter.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

Self won the championship entirely based on luck? You're an idiot. Nobody has ever done that. It takes both luck and skill to put all those wins together at the end of the year for a National Championship.

"Davidson doesn't count." Why, because it pokes a gigantic hole in your logic? You're an idiot.

"He would not have all the WINS and conference championships he has here. He has those because he's at kansas. That's a fact." No, that's 100% opinion. 0% fact.

Who is the better alternative you speak of? Greasy Calipari? Roy (who had plenty of chances to win the big one already at KU)? I'll take my chances with a guy that wins 84% of the time.

Your logic is severely flawed.

Cantkeepagooddudedown 9 years, 10 months ago

highly intelligent post.... i'm an idiot and my logic is flawed because you disagree with it?

Meet me in person and I'll show you who the idiot is.

It is a fact... Self would not have won every conference championship at another big 12 school.... F-A-C-T.... KU would not be on a long 0-conference championship run because OSU exploded as the dominant conference force because Self started coaching there.

If you are saying that... then we all know who the idiot is.


HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

Uh oh ladies and gentlemen, we have a tough guy!

First, your logic is flawed because of the reasons I posted above.

Second, it's not a "fact" that Self wouldn't have won every conference championship at another big 12 school. I agree that it's not probable, but it isn't a fact. Do you know what a fact is? It's a verifiable truth. "Kansas Jayhawks wear blue uniforms." That's a fact. Your opinion on whether or not Self would have as many conference championships at another school is just O-P-I-N-I-O-N.

Cantkeepagooddudedown 9 years, 10 months ago

and yeah dip$hit... he did.. unless he was the one out there injuring Brandon Rush's knee... unless it was him that hit the last second 3 against Memphis... unless it was him that made the guy miss the last second shot against davidson... unless he had something to do with Memphis' missed free throws.

The point is... people say Bill got us a ring and Roy didn't... he was LUCKIER than Roy. Roy put KU in a lot better position to win it a lot more often. Pretty sure that was my point, too. But you're one of those A-holes that will make my point out to be whatever you want it to be so you can flame on it.

You try saying i want calisleazy... F you moron. You don't know crap about me. I'm really a happy mother-f'er who can't stand most of the uptight, self-righteous pricks like you and has no problem voicing it. If you have a problem with it or wanna keep trying to call me an idiot, you name the place buddy. I'll try to squeeze you into my schedule.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

So it was Bill Self's luck that got Rush to stay around for another season? I'd call that a bad thing (for Rush) that turned out to be a good thing (for everyone). Bill Self's luck had very little to do with it. Self designed a great play and gave Chalmers the green light to stroke a huge three against Memphis. That's coaching skill. And Memphis missing their free throws...that's a lack of skill, considering their FT% sucked all year.

Bill Self is a highly skilled coach. Look at his resume at all of his previous schools. That's not luck. That's a proven formula for winning. A lot. He wins conference championships everywhere he goes.

"Roy put KU in a lot better position to win it a lot more often. Pretty sure that was my point, too." Well, you should have said that. And to be clear, that's your opinion. Not a fact at all.

I'm not going to meet you somewhere to fight you. I can't help but laugh as I type this, because it just sounds so stupid. I stopped doing that when I was about 5 years old.

And I'm still waiting to hear who you would rather have coaching at KU.

ku_foaf 9 years, 10 months ago

I most definitely think he is in the Top 20. I think he has proven he is in the Top 5.

I don't think the program makes the man. It is the man that makes the program. Success is not guaranteed by the quality of the program left by the previous coach.

There are 3 coaches that have one two championships in the last 8 years. Very unusual given the overall history.

Florida (Donovan) 2 NC (Williams) 2 UConn (Calhoun) 2 Kansas (Self) 1 Duke (Krzyzewski) 1

Self has 1 Final 4, 2 Regional Finals, 1 Sweet 16, 1 2nd round exit, 2 first round exits.

To put it in perspective, from 75-'85' we didn't make it past the Sweet 16.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

TRob's 5.5 fouls per 30 minutes as a freshman should remind Justin Wesley that he will get it nailed down next season.

jayhawker_97 9 years, 10 months ago

jb, i have just finished reading your comments on the other article about Justin and thats' exactly what he needs to learn/know. he'll bring depth to this team, i'm sure.

for TRob, there's always rooms for improvement. i also think TRob can do a better job in rebounding. sometimes i notice he's not giving his 100%. he also needs to improve his % underneath the basket - especially when being guarded face to face. a lot of expectation, even though he's improved a lot. aim higher, reach for the rim!

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

The dude has the second most rebounds of anyone in div1 basketball right now.

But, yeah, that's an obvious flaw that he should work on.

Comment fail.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

The truth on TRob?

He is still learning to be a D1 starter.

He is not hugely ahead of where Cole was Cole's first season starting. TRob's edges on Cole are more experience as a sub before starting, starting as a junior instead of as a sophomore, and more athleticism.

But there is no short cut to being a starter. Once you are on the job, you've got to climb the learning curve.

It is scary to think how good he could be next year, when he wasn't having to do everything for the first time.

But he is so strong now, the L will take him Number 1, if he shows well in March.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

One other point: TRob was playing on a bum knee without much bounce until 4 games or so back.

Since his bounce is back, I think he will become increasingly active.

His rebounding, good as it already is, likely will spike.

He is one of those great natural rebounders, so good that like Bill Bridges he can keep glassvaccing better than most even without hops.

Thad Daugherty 9 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate's diatribes are so long it takes that long to read them.Seriously they are usually longer than the article and I just skip over them.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Great. Keep skipping the long ones.

I go short frequently, too. Read those if you wish.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 10 months ago

Give us all a friggin BREAK dude! Tyshawn or other players might not be able to say this, but I can say that I'd like to see how your DERRIERE would stand up to 35 minutes each game!

(Note that I would have liked to have used another word akin to derriere but I would have been sensored.)

John Randall 9 years, 10 months ago

Nice of you to remind us that you could really be crass.

Hope the censors get those sensors installed soon.

tonyjayhawk35 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh Wow!Trobs' first year starting he is way better than Cole.Cole doesn't have near the skills Trob has.The guy can lead the break,has a good mid range jumper.

hawk316 9 years, 10 months ago

I've been very impressed with TRob's ability to avoid fouls this season. Just one more area of significant growth that we've seen in his game. Wow. I would love to see him play as a senior, but we know that's not going to happen.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

TRob's doing so many good things it is kind of hard to believe.

He has cut back his fouling.

He has turned himself into a respectable free throw shooter.

He has adapted a weight lifter's body into a lithe big man who can move around the floor.

And he has retained all his brute force, too.

Just these accomplishments alone rank him as one of the most improved players in a single season in quite some time.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Dis-illuminator, if you are much of a reader, and really care about detail regarding everything Jayhawk hoops, then you are missing some fine stuff by skipping jb's posts. At least a quick scan is well worth the investment, I always discover.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

It is a good thing to give writers feedback.

But "your writing sucks" doesn't give him much to get better with.

I've read Tom Keegan for about five years now, and he has kept getting better, and he has been making his staff get better.

What exactly is it about his writing that you dislike?


If you say it, and it has substance, he will change it over time.

I cannot tell if it is a conscious thing he does, or if it is a kind of interactive osmosis, but he has grows as a writer, and so does his staff, and often they grow in ways that readers have been giving valid criticism about.

Keegs and his staff have embraced interactivity about as rapidly as they can. They have a long way to go not because of a lack of trying, but because the technology creates a long way for both pros and readers to go.

I remain excited about where the experiment in interactivity is going.

Keegs green lighted the Newell Post Live, which still is massively under recognized as a pioneering effort in sports journalism. Newell Post Live ought to be receiving tons of awards, but the concept is still so new that the awards in journalism still aren't even created for it.

There will come a time 30 years from now, when persons will look back on Newell Post Live and talk about it being an example of the first golden age of interactive sports journalism.

Its incredible really.

So: be specific about what you dislike and if it has a solution, I suspect Tom will get around to it in due time.


Michael Leiker 9 years, 10 months ago

Just don't think you can call Robinson elite until he is shooting better than 53% from the field. Not trying to take anything away from him, but historically he just is not on the level of other POTY big men.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Maybe he is not quite as efficient as he might be, but Self is asking him to move around the floor and not just sit on the block and only score when he is open.

If Sullinger moved around as much as TRob does, Sullinger would not be shooting the percentage he is either.

And remember that TRob has not been a credible jump shooter until this season.

He's come a long way in a short time on the floor.

He's apt to get better, rather than worse, too.

Michael Leiker 9 years, 10 months ago

I'd just like to see him pass on some of the not so great shots he the two 17-18 footers he shot in the last 5 minutes of the game on Saturday mid to early way through the shot clock.

Agree with all your points though...except that he is a credible jump shooter. No stats to back it up but if he is shooting better than 40 percent from outside the lane, inside the arc I'd be surprised. If you'd like to research that for me I'd be much obliged.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

By the end of this season, I feel that TRob will be one of the most "NBA Ready" players in Kansas history. Height, length, movement, power and desire......he has it all.

It would be awesome to see him somehow matched up with Durant and the Thunder!!!

AsadZ 9 years, 10 months ago

Just watched HCBS PC from 1/9. He had some great comments. One that struck me was on players getting better over the years. He said something like lot of times coaches get credit for players getting better over the years but the biggest reason for improvement in their game is that they want to get better themselves.

This comment was in response to a question pertaining to players staying at school and also red shirting like Travis R.

AsadZ 9 years, 10 months ago

I am worried about Iowa State. They have some pieces and can score from many places. They are deadly on trey which has been KU's problem this year. KU will have to play very good D especially on perimeter to win on Sat.

JJHawq 9 years, 10 months ago

I'll agree with JB here that LJW has taken it to another level the last 12 months from a journalism standpoint. There is some incredible talent at the paper now with Newell and Tait. The coverage of the conference and coaching changes this year have been amazing. The "jayhawks in the league" blog is SICK.

if you follow kusports or jesse or mctait on twitter - you're in for another treat as well. i'm out there as @jotajotahawk on twitter - and not only do they interact on the blogs and message boards - but they are replying to messages on twitter as well.



FoCoCoHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Let's not forget Nick Krug and his awesome photographs. More than a few are truly works of art.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.