Advertisement

Advertisement

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Self: Tall order for KU to replace Thomas Robinson’s toughness

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson is hugged by head coach Bill Self as he is recognized before the fieldhouse during the senior speeches.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson is hugged by head coach Bill Self as he is recognized before the fieldhouse during the senior speeches.

Advertisement

Former Kansas University forward/current Sacramento Kings rookie Thomas Robinson was trending on Twitter — his name momentarily flooding that popular website on Sunday night — after his spectacular, one-handed putback dunk over Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The dunk served as a reminder of some of the power to be missing from the Jayhawks’ lineup minus the 6-foot-10, 237-pound Robinson this season.

“The thing about Thomas ... we can talk about all the things he did well. He gave us an air of toughness. It made other players think they were really tough or fierce because he led by example,” said KU coach Bill Self. “If he got one mitt on the ball, I mean he was a fierce, tough competitive rebounder. He was unbelievable at 50/50 balls.

“That’s something we’ve got to get our guys to buy into: ‘If you don’t turn the ball over and if you outrebound your opponents and get 70 percent of the 50/50 balls, you are going to win because you’ll have a lot more possessions.’ We’ll miss that at least initially. I think we’ve got some guys that are very competitive and will get good at that before all is said and done.”

An obvious replacement in the toughness department would be senior pivot Jeff Withey.

“We need him to be a presence inside. We want to play inside/out. He’s a big reason why we can do that,” Self said. “Jeff benefited from having Thomas around, but I don’t know if you realize how much Thomas benefited from having Jeff around. He (Robinson) never had to guard the other team’s best big guy. (He said), ‘If I make a mistake, Jeff can clean it up.’ Offensively would be a question mark where he (Withey) needs to take another step.”

Withey acknowledges life will be different without T-Rob.

“Thomas is a beast and obviously (as) the No. 5 pick in the draft, a great talent. Losing him will be tough,” 7-footer Withey said of Robinson. “We have talented guys who will help me out. They may not be as experienced as Thomas. Kevin (Young, senior) has been playing a long time. He knows where to be, has great energy. We have guys like Perry (Ellis, freshman) who is really talented. We will miss Thomas but I don’t want to say we’ll be hurting because we have a lot of guys year in and out that step up in that position and produce.”

Wiggins to reclassify?: Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7, 190-pound junior forward from Huntington Prep in West Virginia, is thinking about reclassifying to the recruiting class of 2013, Rivals.com reports.

Recently, KU and North Carolina have joined the mix as schools with a shot at landing Wiggins, Rivals reports. Kentucky and Florida State had long been considered his favorites if he was a member of the Class of 2014. He’s currently ranked No. 1 overall in the Class of 2014.

Embiid has two visits left: Joel Embiid, an unranked 7-foot senior center from Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., who has visited KU, Texas and Virginia, will visit Florida and Marquette in successive weekends, Rivals.com reports. The Cameroon native who has played basketball just a year, is expected to sign with a school during the Nov. 14-21 signing period.

Gordon update: Aaron Gordon, a 6-8 senior small forward from Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, Calif., who attended Late Night in the Phog, has visited KU, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. The No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2013, plans on visiting Kentucky on Nov. 9-10 and picking a school in the spring.

“He acknowledged the love from the fans (on KU visit),” Gordon’s dad, Ed, told JayhawkSlant.com. “For me, it’s just the history of Kansas basketball that stands out the most. It’s the legends that have come through Kansas, and the legends to be. Aaron really hit it off with coach Self and the entire coaching staff. They are wonderful people and they have wonderful families. Aaron is very much a family person. We feel extremely comfortable with them.”

Comments

mikehawk 1 year, 6 months ago

So back to Withey. Well, he isn't and never will be T-Rob. Knowing the KU fan base, they will expect a one to one exchange/fill-in, and he will never be able to do that for obvious reasons. Not as athletic, not as mobile, no comparable hops. The hope is he can develop and use a step out jumper effectively in more of the European style, while being able to maintain his use of blocking potential from defensive end. A little hook would be nice as he isn't really quick footed enough to get around decent big guys, but he can get over the top on them. I don't really have a feel for his passing acumen, but that would help if he is adept at finding cutters once he gets the ball in deep. He really needs that other big to step up to give defenses something else to think about and I have serious concerns about that right now. If Ben is the slasher ala Brandon was, and Perry Ellis can become a consistent scoring threat around the basket, Withey should have quite a year. If he has to play long minutes and bear the brunt of the offensive load, it will tough on the big fella.

0

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

BBall2012, Frankly, it has been very interesting to follow Calipari's wheelings & dealings & movements over the last 5-6yrs. I cant speak for others here, but I dont have jealousy regarding Calipari. I like Bill Self. But I would definitely give Calipari the crown for being the #1 top recruiter in college bball. My KU alum brother-in-law showed me the video of the new KY bball dorm, guided tour by Calipari. I came away with a reinforced notion that Calipari is extremely charismatic in his approach, and just as relentless in his pursuit. And this isnt a knock on Self or Roy or whoever...just an observation on Calipari. I think he has grown as a coach. I also got a flavor for Kentucky during that video. KY basketball is religion-like to many of its fans, and I (&many of us) can relate absolutely to that. Also, specifically, KU fans can never really get downright ugly with KY (or UNC) to that anti-Mizzou level, for 2 reasons: 1)Too much shared DNA. Adolph Rupp, way, way more than any other man, helped make KY the blue-blood that it is. (Same thing applies to UNC with Dean Smith, now add Roy). 2) KY is a fellow royalty program. The mere mention of "Dean Dome" or "Rupp Arena" should honestly make KU faithful actually proud, as that whole museum-like entrance to AllenFieldhouse is about basketball tradition. Obviously, blueblood fans hate to lose, but any given game is in the hands of current coaches+players, and those games will play out over the years as they do, but that is small-pix stuff. Now John Calipari has brought KY right back to national prominence in a major way. He will do it his way, and by winning a Natl Championship, he has vindicated his system, to a large extent, on the face of things. My only concern with Cal's system, is that if he does NOT land 4 frosh every year that are literally ranked high enough to play immediately, then what? That is a hypothetical question only--it hasnt happenned yet for us to judge. Also, I think if the NBA OAD rule becomes "2 years", that only can help Cal, as it adds the experience factor (which KY had this last season with Doron, etc...), and it also helps Self. It changes the recruiting pressures and timelines. Very, very interesting stuff this is when we consider KU, KY, Duke, and UNC. And I will watch UCLA closely this year for obvious reasons. The 3 other schools I keep an eye on are MichState/Izzo, Florida/Donovan, and Syracuse/Boeheim.

0

Michael Luby 1 year, 6 months ago

TROB putback dunk = SICK SICK SICK!

0

Priest Fontaine 1 year, 6 months ago

--Embiid replaces Withey --Gordon or Wiggens replaces B-Mac --Randle replaces Mason or Lucus' scholarship

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...!

0

RecruitHawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Doesn't hurt at all that Wiggins older brother is a Junior at Witchita State. Could bring his brother near him for a year before he graduates and Andrew goes NBA.

0

texashawk10 1 year, 6 months ago

I like seeing some of these highly ranked guys waiting until the spring to make a decision, but I do wonder if you know you're going to wait until the spring, why not take official visits during basketball season and get a feel for each program on a gameday weekend. Because of that, I think KU's chances of landing Aaron Gordon are hurt more than with Julius Randle because Gordon has already taken 4 of his 5 official visits and is waiting until the spring so none of those 4 visits will be very fresh in his mind. Julius Randle on the other hand has only taken 1 of his official visits so if KU gets him in for a visit to the Texas game in Feburary, I think KU's chances at landing Randle go up in the spring because his visit to KU will be more fresh in his mind and he will have seen AFH in person during a big game atmosphere (College Gameday is going to be in Lawrence for that one) if KU is able to get Randle to campus that weekend. Joel Embiid on the other hand has said he would like to sign during the early signing period which starts in about 3 weeks and hopefully he sticks to that because if he pushes it back to the spring, Florida is going to be hard to beat to land him. Tyler Roberson is also supposed to make his decision in November, but I have a hard time seeing him leaving Big East country.

All that said, it would be awesome to see Self land someone in November and then land a player in the spring. I think Self is probably focusing a little more on Embiid right now because he fills a bigger need for KU than Roberson does and then make a big push for Randle either at the expense of Mason, McLemore being good enough to go pro, or one of the current bigs on the roster. I wouldn't complain about landing Gordon or Roberson either because they are both great players and Self can make it work with whatever he has on his roster, but an Embiid in the fall and Randle in the spring combo fills the needs of the team more than two more perimeter oriented 4's do.

1

gthejayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Hawklaw, Julian left after his sophomore year and the 360• dunk was in the big 12 championship game against Texas (I was there). But I don't recall if it was in Dallas or OKC. I THINK it was OKC.

0

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Man, the pride in Bill Self's face towards Thomas Robinson in the photo is just overwhelmingly heartwarming.

2

Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

This coming season appears to be the year of the combination...combo forward, combo guard, etc.

If I may interject a few more.....point center, power guard, glue-guy sixth man, off-center center, center-forward, stopper combo guard/forward, forward forward, point forward, shooting center, center-forward-guard, forward center guard, guard-forward-center, combo glue-guy, shooting glue-guy, shooting stopper combo, ad infinitum.

How about a couple of big guys, two ball handlers and a lights-out shooter!!

0

Adam Gerval 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm a KU student from Chicago, and I was listening to ESPN Chicago this morning. The Bulls beat reporter was talking about Marcus Teague this morning and he did not have glowing things to say...Along the lines of, and I'm paraphrasing, 'Teague is a project and the Bulls understand that. It is going to be a long process for him to get on the floor and he has a tremendous amount of learning to do before that's even close." They proceeded to question the draft choice and if it was worth it... Anyways, my point is that it doesn't seem like much development was done for him at UK, and Teague is a good example because when you're looking at guys like Derrick Rose, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, and Anthony Davis, what did Calipari do to develop those guys? They could've gone to the NBA straight up. So for guys that need to develop, what is alluring about UK? All in all, I just find it amusing and with the non-Calipari talk, and UK questions, I just thought I'd mention it.

3

jgkojak 1 year, 6 months ago

Translation of "family person" - he wants his son going to a place like Kansas where he will be in a family atmosphere and not a part of the semi-pro ranks like Kentucky.

0

Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

For Kansas to be considered by the top recruits is important.

To be prepared for them not coming, is even more important.

In all sincererity, I do not feel that Randle, Robertson, Gordon or Wiggins are coming to Kansas. This doesn't mean we don't try, but it does mean we have to have a back-up plan.

And, to me, that back-up plan is Jo Jo. I feel that Joel Embiid may be a crucial recruit for KU's long term success and that we should do everything possible [ non-Calipari, that is] to put this young man in a Kansas uniform.

As always, I have great respect for my fellow posters opinions and would love to get your feedback.

2

Ethan Berger 1 year, 6 months ago

Let's say some how we get Wiggins, That means we would have two highly ranked wing players coming in. Would Greene decommit? Also what does that mean for post players. With Gordon we would have some time, because he would be a spring guy and we might be able to free up a schollie, but how bout Embid? Would he commit with a promise from Self there would be a spot? It seems to be we have our back court for 2013 in place, hopefully we could full out our front court. But then again, getting top players is nothing to complain about.

0

livinginlawrence 1 year, 6 months ago

By the way, I very much hope I'm wrong about Marcus going to the D-League. When he was initially sent down there the Rockets talked about how they were viewing it as a means to get him more game experience against NBA types than he would as a reserve, sitting on the bench at Rockets games. So maybe they'll try a similar approach with the new rookies, and Marcus will get more PT...I'd sure like to see that.

0

livinginlawrence 1 year, 6 months ago

If by Shelby you mean Selby, he is on the Memphis Grizzlies. Xavier Henry is on the New Orleans Hornets, and Darnell is on the training camp roster of the Utah Jazz. As for Marcus Morris, a trip back to the D-League sounds likely given the current makeup of the Rockets' roster--they've added a few more guys who are expected to compete for PT at his position. It seems that not all players get along well with the Rockets' coach, Kevin McHale, which makes me wonder if that may be the case for Marcus as well. Who knows.

0

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 6 months ago

Are they doing a Hawks in the NBA again this year? Anyone know if Jackson, Shelby and X make teams? Is Marcus D-League? Would love a recap of who is where.

1

ohjayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Speaking of Jayhawks now in the NBA, does anyone know why Mario Chalmers has a "DNP - Coach's decision" in every preseason game so far? If someone is out because of injury they list it as "DNP - (insert injury type here)". Seems very odd that just months after being the starting PG on an NBA championship team, he's not getting any PT. Ok, I did find a recap from the 10/18 game where it says he didn't play because of a "minor injury". I hope it's just that they're being overly cautious.

0

Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 6 months ago

Btw...that Robinson dunk....sick.

I wish kusports could assemble a reel of his best KU dunks...

1

Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 6 months ago

Really trying to not read too far into Gordon's dads comments...but sounds very promising.

Why is Embid looking at Marquette...is that anew school on his list? I still have him going to Florida.

0

KansasComet 1 year, 6 months ago

This is a different year and a different KU Team. Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are gone. There is no replacement for either. What we have is a five star recruit in Elijah Johnson that has proven he can handle the big moment. He is our point guard. He was absolutely clutch in the NCAA Tournament last year. What we also have is Perry Ellis, the National High School Player of the Year, and 4 time State Champion. This young man is a proven winner. He may not be as "tough" on the boards nor dunk as "hard" as Robinson, who cares? Last year is over with. This is the 2012-13 Kansas Jayhawks, last year is over and Ellis brings a lot to the table. He can rebound, lead the fast break, pass, and finish at the basket, making us a lot more hard to guard. I think this year's team is an upgrade over last year's team. If AW3 has a confident stroke at home and on the road, this team has a chance to be special. I see upgrades all around for this year's team. I am not saying that Robinson won't be missed. He was a great player, but it is time to move on and embrace what we have.

3

jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

• Is it true Doc Sadler will be asked to give up his job to make room for Wiggin?

• Rebounds schmee-bounds, Toughness schmuffness. Thomas was the greatest thunder dunker in Kansas modern history. Noone had more posterizations than him. Thomas could have dunked on King Kong! Even young Wilt would have had to watch out for Thomas shoulders as he rim ramming on the lob!!!!!!

• What we all need is a time machine to get us through these two exhibs to the start of the season.

• Fizzouri being gone feels as good as never seeing your ex again.

• Tom Keegan needs some slack. He appears to be standing up to The Complex along with Self; that could get very lonely in a hurry in the media.

1

Alohahawk 1 year, 6 months ago

If KU could get one of any of the three - Randle, Gordon or Embiid, it will make that a tremendous class, and quite an accomplishment on Self's part and staff. Agree with phogphan2000, Embiid's signing would relieve a lot of pressure.

0

phogphan2000 1 year, 6 months ago

I think the team should make a deal with Self that if they can get 70% of them he has to call them 70/30 balls in an interview and say "I call them 70/30 instead of 50/50 'cause my guys are unbelievable"

Glad Gordon enjoyed the visit and hit it off with the staff. I think it will work out well for KU if a few guys like Gordon and Randle wait to pick. Definitely want to see Embiid sign in November and relieve a lot of the recruiting stress from the staff so they can be more focused on the season at hand.

1

madamhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

T-Rob = a bad mofo!!!

Wiggins = small chance of a commit to KU.

Embiid = Yes, please!!!

Gordon as a family person = KU.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.