Sunday, June 17, 2012

Russell Robinson savoring summer in Lawrence

Russell Robinson fires a three over the outstretched arm of Keith Langford during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic held Thursday, June 14, 2012, at Free State High.

Russell Robinson fires a three over the outstretched arm of Keith Langford during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic held Thursday, June 14, 2012, at Free State High.


Russell Robinson, who has played professional basketball in Spain and Turkey the past two seasons after a stint in the NBA Developmental League, says he’s thoroughly enjoyed competing overseas.

“The money is good. The competition’s good everywhere in Europe,” said Robinson, starting point guard on Kansas University’s 2008 NCAA championship team.

There’s been one huge drawback to earning six-figure paychecks, however.

“I miss home. That’s the biggest thing,” said Robinson, a 26-year-old native of New York. “I get away and enjoy it a little bit, but then I get homesick.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder returned from a six-month stay in Trabzon, Turkey in mid-May. He spent a few weeks with family members in New York, before heading to Lawrence on Thursday for the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity basketball game — one in which he scored 21 points off 7-of-17 shooting. He hit five threes.

“I’ll be here two weeks. I booked a one-way flight here. Maybe I’ll stay longer,” said Robinson, who plans on working out with KU’s current players, who are in town for summer school.

“I love to come back any chance I get. It’s always good to be around some love. With KU fans, you feel a lot of love,” Robinson added.

He averaged 13.4 points (off 47.8 percent shooting), 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season for Turkish League team Trabzonspor.


Sarah, right, and Mary Buckels are surprised when Russell Robinson walks up behind them before the start of the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic held Thursday, June 14, 2012, at Free State High.

“I had a couple minor things that nagged me,” said Robinson, who missed several games because of a dislocated thumb and sprained knee.

“That whole tournament run saved my season,” he added of the Jayhawks advancing to the national title game in the NCAA Tournament. “(Because of the injuries) I was a little stressed out over there. Watching them on TV ... seeing the guys do so well helped me so much.”

He wasn’t surprised the Jayhawks stormed past North Carolina and Ohio State en route to the title game appearance vs. Kentucky.

“They had two great players in Tyshawn (Taylor) and T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) and other guys playing well. And coach (Bill) Self, who is a great coach,” Robinson said in an interview at Self’s Parent-Child camp on Friday.

Robinson plans on playing in Wednesday’s Bill Self camp alumni game while finalizing plans for next season.

“I’ve got some things on the table now,” Robinson said. “The NBA ... I’m still trying to do that. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back over there (Europe). I’ve done (NBA) summer league four years. I’ve played for a lot of teams. We’ll see if that’s an option.

“Europe is always an option for me. I could always go back to the D-League. We’ll see.”


WichitaRaider 1 year, 10 months ago

Refreshing to hear about a player who doesn't believe he has an entitlement scholarship to NBA wealth and is willing to work for it. Same RussRob as he was at KU. Really hope that his dreams and aspirations come true! One of my all time favs!


chalked 1 year, 10 months ago

Always will be one of my favorite players. Tough kid who was willing to defer and learn. Best of luck in all your endeavors. You will always be welcomed in Lawrence, native son.


DDDHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Russell, we hope you will come back for visits forever! You are one of my all time farvorite Jayhawks!


William Blake 1 year, 10 months ago

A little plastic surgery and a fake ID... isn't Rusty Robin just a freshman?


REHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Welcome home, Russell. Stay as long as you can afford. Bank those dollars in order to purchase property so as to live someday in Lawrence.


Richard Benson 1 year, 10 months ago

"With KU fans, you feel a lot of love."

The guy gave us the heart of a lion.

He will get a lot of love and no end of respect in these parts all the days of his life.


KansasComet 1 year, 10 months ago

My favorite KU memory of Russell Robinson was the 3 that he buried against UNC in the opening minutes of the '08 Final Four. He was not known for being an outside shooter, but that was one confident stroke on the big stage.


Jeeveshawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Russel could try to go to the real NBA, and if he gets lucky he may get to play for the Knicks.

He is as good or better of a defender than anyone in the NBA, and he is a great ball-handler and play-maker. He is capable of hitting open shots, but that won't get him alot of playing time, although he has a shot at being in the NBA.

Also, how is Keith Langford not in the nba? He is definately good enough. He can defend, shoot threes and drive as good as anyone.


dylans 1 year, 10 months ago

Gary, thanks for explaining who T-Rob and Tyshawn and Coach Self are.


jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Russell Robinson would make a great, great, great coach.

Gosh, I hope he chooses the profession after he finishes playing.

One more thing about Russell.

He may measure only 6-1, as the story suggests, but that short neck of his lets him play 6-3 at least.

The longer I study basketball, the more I think that in choosing between two players the same height, bounce, skill set and swagger (admittedly a metaphysical circumstance), I would always go with the guy with the shorter neck. Shorter neck means longer body. Longer body means higher shoulders and likely longer legs. Higher shoulders means the arms start higher. Arms that start higher mean hands reach higher. Longer legs mean longer slides, longer drop step, longer first step on the dribble. These mean better defense and more dangerous offense.

All other things equal, give me the guy with the shorter neck.

Russell Robinson is nearly my ideal of the structural advantages of the short-necked player.

Throw in that he has exceptionally long arms, and its no wonder this guy could guard like he did, and strip like he did, and out play long necks 2-3 inches taller as he routinely did.

Russell, I love you and your short neck.

But I love what's in the brain case and inside the chest cavity even more.

Be a coach some day.

You have the tenacity, charisma, humor, work ethic, basketball IQ and generosity of spirit to be a great coach.

Since your playing days, I have dreamed of you, even more than Danny, someday becoming KU's coach.

Like Danny Manning, you embody the very best in KU basketball.

And you both have rings to prove it.


REHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Not wise, being critical of any aspect of Bill Self's coaching. However, I think that the squad might have benefitted from Russell's gleaning more playing time, esp. in Feb. of his freshman season. A very strong squad of seniors seemed totally exhausted, heading into NCAA tournament time. Was terrific to see Russell bite the bullet, then storm back so resoundingly his sophomore campaign...and thereafter. He is one of my favorite Jayhawks in the Bill Self tenure. With 2 or 3 more inches of height and a half step quicker acceleration, he might have been one of the draft selections who could have placed a handsomer face on a sometimes ugly NBA facade.


DrPepper 1 year, 10 months ago

It sure is great to hear he is happily doing well for himself.


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