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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Keegan

Thomas Robinson dominates atypically

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson stretches out while awaiting a couple of Jayhawk free throws after a technical foul against Texas Tech during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson stretches out while awaiting a couple of Jayhawk free throws after a technical foul against Texas Tech during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 81-46 victory over Texas Tech on Jan. 11, 2012, in Lubbock, Texas.

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Highlights: KU vs. Oklahoma

— Thomas Robinson’s national Player of the Year tour hit a pair of speed bumps that limited his time on the United Spirit Arena floor to 19 minutes Wednesday night.

Foul trouble kept Robinson to nine first-half minutes, and a lopsided scoreboard prevented him from logging more than 10 minutes in the second half of Kansas University’s 81-46 domination of young Texas Tech, the favorite to reside in last place all year in the Big 12.

Robinson plowed through the bumps and stayed right on course as the leading candidate for national honors.

Playing not quite half the time, Robinson still created his usual barrage of highlights and typical line in the box score (19 points, 12 rebounds). And yet again, he left us asking ourselves, “Did I just see that?” and “How much better is this guy going to get?”

Yes, we did just see him running the point in transition, tossing a spontaneous lob pass to guard Elijah Johnson, who soared to heights seldom reached by guards and flushed it with his right hand.

Yes, we did just see Robinson swish a three from well behind the top of the key. He catches everything thrown to him and is right at the rim for nearly every opponent’s missed shot, giving nobody else a prayer at the rebound. And on this night, he ran the floor hard, at times beating the entire team down the floor.

An immovable force in the post, Robinson blends strength and quickness and a variety of moves to get where he wants to go and has grown so much in sensing when it’s time to bust a scoring move and when it’s time to keep the ball moving.

This season, he has added guard skills, handling the ball, feeding the ball inside and stroking jumpers, but he’s not overdoing it. He still knows where he’s needed most, where he’s most unstoppable. Besides, he enjoys dunking. Who wouldn’t?

“I thought the second half he showed a lot of people how talented he is,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of the junior forward from Washington, D.C. “I thought he was terrific the second half.”

Robinson had 14 points and seven rebounds in 10 second-half minutes. He certainly has an abundance of talent, but more than that is required to bring on such rapid improvement.

“He works hard in the weight room,” Self said. “He’s trying to become a student of the game, trying to understand. You know I struggled with him early in the season. Not from a bad standpoint, just from a standpoint I didn’t think he was understanding how he should play to give us the best chance.”

In the season’s opening weeks, Self offered words of caution on making too much of Robinson’s numbers.

“It seems to me since Christmas the light’s just come on,” Self said. “It seems like he’s more poised. He’s more patient. He’s looking for others better. He’s not trying to score out of doubles, and he’s just making the game so much easier for himself right now. I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

With improved understanding came a line of teammates following him.

“His energy level is so much better than it was early in the season,” Self said. “I mean, it was awful at times. Now it’s like everybody feeds off him. We can talk about Tyshawn (Taylor), Travis (Releford), all that stuff. Hey, when Thomas is turned up, that automatically turns everybody up.”

When Robinson’s poise, patience, power and passion percolate, pity the poor power forward playing against him. Guarding him is tougher than saying, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickles,” 10 times really, really fast.

“He’s scary, almost, when he gets turned up,” Self said. “He can fire everybody up.”

That passion used to lead to foul trouble. It seldom does anymore, although it did against the Red Raiders, when Robinson committed his second foul with 11:25 left in the half. He checked back in later in the half and played a few more minutes without getting whistled for a third.

“It was just me trying to learn a lesson because I’m pretty sure it’s not the last time that I get two fouls in the first half,” Robinson said of being sent back into the game. “I don’t want it to happen, but it probably will. It’s just me learning how to play smart with my hands and feet when I’m in foul trouble. I put my team in a bad position. Coach put me back out there, so that’s just him gaining trust in me, I guess.”

It’s amazing what great athletes can accomplish when they know teammates are depending so heavily on them.

“Just knowing how important I am to my team,” has helped Robinson stay out of foul trouble, he said. “In the previous years I can go in and hack somebody and nobody cares, still got the twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) sitting over there or Cole (Aldrich). Now if I sit out with two fouls in the first half, we’re playing a team that’s coming at us pretty tough, it might be a problem.”

Robinson didn’t have any trouble conquering any problem that came his way. In other words, he had a typical night.

Comments

SaltyJayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Thomas Robinson might finish this season as my favorite Jayhawk ever. Rock Chalk!!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 8 months ago

  • 1 In the modern era, he's well on his way. (All time, Chamberlain will be difficult to surpass.) Would love to see TRob receive 1st team All American honors. Wouldn't that put his name and uni number up in the rafters? That, and POY award, as well.

Must say that KU's "TR" tandem of Robinson and Releford are making some dynamic waves this conference season. At season's end, when first team honors are announced for the Big 12, they'd both deserve it up to this point.

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

You mean (All Time, Danny will be hard to pass), right?

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Garry Wright 2 years, 8 months ago

Danny was ONE of the greatest All Time, probably # 2. Chamerblain was the greatest All Time. TV announcers talked about who was the strongest Jayhawk ever in referring to Robinson. He's a stud, even looks like a stud. But would have to say that Chamberlain was the strongest Jayhawk ever, in all sports. He didn't look muscular like Robinson, but his strength was phenomenal.

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Wilt was the better pro. Danny was the better Jayhawk. Not even close.

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Jeffrey Nichols 2 years, 8 months ago

Really? Wilt wasn't permitted to play as a freshman. Average out his numbers per game compared to Danny's, and I think you'll see that from a statistical standpoint, what isn't even close is Manning's stats to Wilt's. If you subjectively think he is better, then you are entitled to your opinion. Nobody at KU has ever come close to Wilt's numbers on average, not even Danny. Wilt average 29.9 ppg, 18.3 rpg. Danny was 20.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg. They didn't keep assists and blocks in Wilt's time. In only 48 games Wilt had 1433 pts and an amazing 877 rebs. In 147 games Danny had 2951 pts (also incredible) and 1187 rebs. Wilt scored basically 1/2 as many pts as Danny in less than 1/3 as many games. Imagine the records Wilt would have set if he had played 4 years. They would have been unsurpassable.

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Not disagreeing that Wilt was great.....but Danny played four years for KU, and delivered a national championship. You can't credit Wilt for "what he might he have done", only what he did - which was substantial. He might be a solid number 2.

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cojayhawk99 2 years, 8 months ago

agree! No arguing how great Chamberlain is/was, but I think blackhawkjayhawk's points are good.

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Sam Brockert 2 years, 8 months ago

Different times bread different players. Trying to decide who is better by stats is an impossible task... That is only applicable when they play the same kind of talent.

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Michael Auchard 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, but Wilt did carry the team in '57 with that triple-overtime loss to UNC. He has claimed he was so embarrassed with that loss that he didn't want to come back to Lawrence for decades.

Far be it for me to argue Danny's Jayhawkishness, but Wilt seems to have cared about this team, too.

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sfbevo 2 years, 8 months ago

blackhawk I respect your opinion, however to state that Manning was better than Wilt is totally inaccurate. I've seen both play. Wilt had to deal with racism on and off the court. Wilt was the total focus of all teams and would be mugged, tackled, pushed, hacked to extent that a normal person would have cracked. Danny was better from the outside, especially with his ball handling. Wilt was dominate the entire game. This topic would be a great subject from someone at the LJW to tackle and compare the KU greats.

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HawkinPA 2 years, 8 months ago

I think the only people who could actually make the comparison are people like you who have seen both play. I never got to see Wilt play at all (too young) but I wish I could have. I can't imagine anybody being better than him with hearing about how he dominated and he seemed to be a true Jayhawk. TRob is quickly becoming my favorite Hawk of all time too though. Not saying he's the best all time, just my favorite.

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Travis Clementsmith 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't think he was stating that Manning was a better player than Wilt. I think his point was he was a better Jayhawk. Danny had the national championship he pretty much willed to happen. Danny is our all time scoring leader. Now, if you project Wilt out over four years and add a NC, I think you could argue Wilt. As far as just "pure player", I don't think anyone, past or present, college or pro, was better than Wilt.

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Gregor Southard 2 years, 8 months ago

Danny won a NC. Wilt didn't. That counts for something

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Jim Roth 2 years, 8 months ago

We were lucky to get Danny for 4 years. Today, he wouldn't stay a 4th year. And we wouldn't have been National Champions.

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Jim Roth 2 years, 8 months ago

T-Rob has the potential to be Danny-esque, but because it's a different era, he won't stay that 4th year so we'll never know.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 8 months ago

Based on what he has done on the court but even more so how he has conducted himself off the court, he is already my favorite Jayhawk of all-time if he never plays another minute.

[Heaven help us. Lord, that's just an expression of admiration. Please let TRob play for as long as he wants. (OakvilleJHawk now kneels in Tebow fashion)]

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kubiggestfan 2 years, 8 months ago

I just love this kid too....Way to go Thomas, your mother would be proud. You have developed into a fine young man, and a great Ball Player. Continue to make everyone proud.

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Nathan Scholl 2 years, 8 months ago

Keep it up T-Rob! Rock Chalk! You're a beast!

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actorman 2 years, 8 months ago

"When Robinson’s poise, patience, power and passion percolate, pity the poor power forward playing against him."

You've got to hand it to TK, that's one of the best lines he's written. I got a kick out of that one.

We all thought T-Rob would be good this year, and maybe even be an All-American, but could any of us have foreseen the incredible versatility he's showing? Truly remarkable.

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mattiesdad 2 years, 8 months ago

A perfectly preposterous paragraph.

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SaltLakeHawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Pandora! ...err... wait... d*mnit.

I'll leave now.

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Benjamin Jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Not perfect--the phrase is "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." And Keegan p'ing all over the sentence is just juvenile writing.

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ardy682 2 years, 8 months ago

If Keegan write more articles like this I would have nothing to make fun of during the week. Jokes aside, Great article!

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Cole Hogan 2 years, 8 months ago

At the end of last season and the beginning of this season, we were all thinking it was time for 'The Rise of Tyshawn Taylor." However, as the season has progressed, I think this team has become more and more of Robsinson's team, partially due to TT's sometimes-poor play-style, and partially due to TRob's utter dominance on the court.

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Kye Clark 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, there may have been some thinking it was time for "the rise of Tyshawn Taylor", but from what I remember in the comments people were more excited about TRob and what he was going to be able to do. I agree that this is and should be more Robinson's team than Taylor's. Mainly because I think the other players wouldn't necessarily respond if Taylor got in their face if they were playing poorly, because Tyshawn play's poorly often himself. And that's the next step for TRob in becoming a leader, if Tyshawn is out of control for a long spurt in a close game, he needs to go over there and get him re-focused.

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addlime 2 years, 8 months ago

I think this season is working out well. Tyshawn tends to rise when needed, and that is how he plays his best. Trying to do too much will get anyone in trouble. KU won a few games early in the season because Tyshawn stepped up when they needed him to. I'm sure we'll see that again before the season is over.

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Kye Clark 2 years, 8 months ago

There was some mention of her a few articles back, when they were talking about TRob getting to see her over the holiday break. Said she's doing good, and that it was good for TRob to see her doing good & happy (or something to that effect, can't remember the exact wording from the article).

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LAJayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

I definitely understand the sentiment, but.... good God this team would have been ridiculous if the Twins would have come back...

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Alex Berger 2 years, 8 months ago

SF - Marcus PF - TRob C - Markieff

Awesome.

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Hawk62492 2 years, 8 months ago

+1 on the Tarc comment. I've mulled his decision over a thousand times and still can't understand his reasoning. Arizona is obviously one of the premier programs, but I think Sean Miller received too much credit for the development of Derrick Williams. Williams was simply an under-the-radar recruit who showed his chops once a high-major program gave him a chance. Additionally, Miller doesn't have nearly the kind of résumé that Kansas' staff does when it comes to preparing bigs for the pros — in fact, I can't think of an other C-PFs of note that he's produced. In contrast, Danny Manning somehow parleyed Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun's good-but-not-great potential into a spot in the NBA Draft, while readying Darrell Arthur with aplomb (Arthur would have been a lottery pick if teams hadn't had concerns about his health). And then of course there is the accomplishment of culling four lottery-pick bigs FROM THE SAME ROSTER in Aldrich, the Morris Twins and Robinson. In all likelihood, Robinson will be gone next year, and there will be room alongside Jamari Traylor on the block next season.

And you're telling me, Tarc, that this wasn't an attractive offer to you?

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Kye Clark 2 years, 8 months ago

Anybody up for messing with some other fans, there is a rather nauseating movement going on right now on an espn.com piece by Jason King. It's regarding the Wooden award, who is the leader and contenders, etc. In the comments there are hordes of Virginia fans clamoring for Mike Scott. Not like it matters or those people have votes, but it is rather sickening. TRob is his leader for the award at the moment. I showed my support for TRob, but was drowned out by the Mike Scott love-fest. Anyway, here's the link:

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/44271/jason-kings-wooden-award-ballot

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Jeremy Paul 2 years, 8 months ago

I think Robinson is the best player we've had since Collison. And he might even be better, who knows? But he certainly isn't better than Manning. It's a huge shame Manning had the knee injuries--we'll never know how good a pro he could have been. And without looking up his stats, I think he still played a good number of years and had his best seasons toward the end.

It's really tough to say who my favorite Jayhawk of all time is. Sort of like deciding which hair on my head is my favorite. There have been so many that I've loved: Kevin Pritchard (I used to pretend I was him while shooting buckets in the driveway), Archie Marshall, Mark Randall, Adonis Jordan, Alonzo Jamison, Steve Woodberry, Rex Walters, Jacque Vaughn (I had a cat named Jacque), Jerrod Haase, Scot Pollard, Russel Robinson, Chalmers, Rush, Jackson.....the list goes on and on. I really loved a guy like Christian Moody--not much talent, no speed, couldn't jump--but he played his heart out and he loved being a Jayhawk everyday. He knew he was never going to play pro ball, and he put everything he had into playing hard and enjoying every minute of his experience. It's hard not to love a guy like that. I'm also very partial to guys like Reed, Morningstar, Gurley--guys who grew up in Kansas dreaming of wearing the uniform and playing in Allen Fieldhouse and got to live out their dream.

I guess it would be easier to name the guys I didn't like, since the list would be so short: Micah Downs, JR Giddens.

Speaking of the alley-oop from Robinson to Johnson--gosh dang, exactly HOW high can Elijah jump? Dude is an athlete!

Sorry for such a long post. I love you all! Rock Chalk.

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Kye Clark 2 years, 8 months ago

No need to apologize for the length. If you don't run over the character limit and have to extend it into 2 posts, it's not long! And many of us on here like the multiple-comment posts from some of the regulars. Appreciate your contributions, and really like that list of favorites!

I think the only other person on the team that might have been able to dunk that lob from TRob would be Kevin Young, and only because he has a couple inches on EJ and a pretty long wingspan. I don't think Withey would have got it. You're right, EJ has some serious ups!

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Dale Stringer 2 years, 8 months ago

Great game guys. It was one of the few times when we didn't have the lull after halftime. But I have to give the Huslte award to Tech's Adams. Did you see how quick he closed on defense when whoever he was guarding got the ball? There's only one knock against this kid and it's not his deafness. At 5'9", he's just too short to guard against someone that's 6'6". I don't remember any of our guy being able to drive on him, but they did end up just passing it over his head. If the rest of the Tech team would have played like that, we would have had our hands full.

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Jeremy Paul 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm pretty sure he tripped over the cameraman's foot. Not totally sure, just pretty sure. I rewinded it a few times and that seemed to be the case.

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tonyjayhawk35 2 years, 8 months ago

I think so too,but I think Petteway touched him also so made it look worse than it was.Still you can't touch the ball or player trying to throw it in

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WilburNether 2 years, 8 months ago

I think Robinson is most comparable to Richard Scott in terms of attitude, effort, and approach to the game -- except Robinson is blessed with a much larger body and more talent.

What was that 7-footer from back east (Kaleb somebody?) thinking when he passed up the opportunity to be coached by Danny Manning? As has been the case with our other big men, you can see them start to do things on the court that Manning has taught.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 8 months ago

1] I am afraid the over-riding theme this season is going to be.... "did we win because of Tyshawn or in spite of Tyshawn?"

2] Travis has emerged just in time to give us that third scoring threat an elite team needs to have in order to compete.

3] TRob - 19/12 in 19 minutes!!??.......Yikes!!

4] Is it me or does Jeff look like he's moving quicker with better purpose?

5] Kevin works his butt off on defense, but he's still not quite there yet.

6] Conner...man, you've got to hit those wide open threes!!

7] Naadir...just pretend every team is wearing black and red with a big TT.

8] Justin...in the basket, man, put it in the basket.

9] Elijah, pretend that the hoop is your girlfriend...stay close!!

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AsadZ 2 years, 8 months ago

That was a good one, especially #9

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cajayfan 2 years, 8 months ago

Sheeesh, I agree with number nine. Why does Elijah shoot threes and only threes?! Is he afraid he'll show up his driving "twin" Tyshawn? Man, I wish he would develop the game I know he could have with his athleticism.

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tonyjayhawk35 2 years, 8 months ago

From where TROB was last year to now is crazy,and even from the beginning of the season is crazy.I used to be like he is going to try to go up and shoot in this double team,but you can see now how patient he is looking for the open guy.Last night when Kevin gave him that hook around after driving and TROB got the dunk,he just lets the game come to him now.Way to go TROB right now I think he is the clear cut fav for player of the year.I believe if he plays his usual minutes last night he hits th30-20 plateau again.

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