Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ryan Robertson comes ‘full-circle’

Former Jayhawk guard bonds with son at Self’s parent/child camp

Ryan Robertson, right, poses with his son J.D. at the Bill Self Parent/Child camp on Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Ryan Robertson, right, poses with his son J.D. at the Bill Self Parent/Child camp on Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.



Ryan Robertson, right, poses with his son J.D. at the Bill Self Parent/Child camp on Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Ryan Robertson, who attended Roy Williams’ Kansas University Basketball Camp as a freshman at St. Charles (Mo.) West High, on Friday was back in Allen Fieldhouse for Bill Self’s Parent/Child camp.

“It’s full-circle now,” said Robertson, a 36-year-old former KU combo guard who played for the Jayhawks from 1996-99. He and 6-year-old son J.D. are in Lawrence for basketball and bonding this Father’s Day weekend.

“When we walked in the fieldhouse for the first time with J.D. as a player, he went over there and shot at that goal, and that was the goal I shot on for four years during practice,” Ryan Robertson added of a side goal on the southeast side of James Naismith Court.

“I’m passing it down a generation.”

Robertson, who scored five points while playing for the winning Blue team in Thursday’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, said, “Like all the other dads here, I’m here to have a good time, be with my son. It’s going to be a good couple of days.”

The 6-foot-5 Robertson and his wife, Andrea, a 5-foot-10 former University of Missouri soccer standout, live in St. Charles with their three children — J.D., Kylie and Rex. Ryan is regional marketing director for Goldman-Sachs.

“I’m trying to get college paid for. J.D. is 6. In 12 years, college is going to be too expensive for me to afford,” Robertson joked.

Robertson played one year with the Sacramento Kings following his graduation from KU. He played pro ball in Holland, Greece and France for four seasons before entering the business world.

“I was done,” Robertson said. “I got to the point I was ready to move to the next step, do something different, so it’s what we did.”

Of his appearance in the Roundball Classic, in which he hit one three, Robertson said: “I was mad at Pollard (Scot) and Gurley (Greg, Blue team coaches) for not playing me more. I’m getting old. There were a lot of younger guys there. It was fun. We put on a good show, I thought, raised some good money (for two youths with cancer).”

Former KU guard/current Perry-Lecompton coach Jeff Hawkins, who scored 13 points at the Classic, also is attending the Parent/Child camp with his son, Mav.

Looking back: Robertson, who is the No. 45-leading scorer (1,055 points) and No. 11 assists leader (485) in KU history, played in one of the most star-studded McDonald’s All-America games of all time.

“There were a lot of great ones in that game,” Robertson said. “You had Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Stephon Marbury, Antoine Jamison, Vince Carter, ‘Tractor’ Traylor ... I’m missing some others. We had a lot of big names.”

Others in that game included Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ron Mercer, Wayne Turner and Jelani McCoy.

“I knew Garnett was special,” Robertson said of knowing at the time Garnett would be a phenom. “After playing with Paul a few years (at KU), you knew Paul was going to be special.”

Daddy Ryan: The Ladue News in late February did a Q-and-A with Robertson. A sampling ...

Q: How do you approach basketball with your kids? A: It’s my biggest struggle. I can’t remember how serious I am supposed to take it. My daughter is in second grade and my son is in kindergarten. Do I ask them to practice layups in the driveway? I have to enjoy it — they have to enjoy it.

Q: Are MU fans still razzing you about choosing KU? A: Four years ago, I walked into a Bread Company in Columbia. I had my suit on and was doing business. I ordered my coffee and bagels. My head was down, and as I am walking out, there was a table by the door with four frat boys, who started to boo me. I smiled and waved, and walked out.

Q: Your most rewarding game against Mizzou? A: My senior year. We were ranked No. 1 or 2 my first three years that we went to Columbia. We had great teams, but Mizzou always won in Columbia. So my senior year, we traveled to Columbia...and we won the game. I think I had 18 points.

Wiggins update: Andrew Wiggins’ dad, Mitchell, spoke to CBC Sports about Andrew’s decision to work out at KU this summer instead of play for Canada’s Under 19 national team.

“The last couple of years have been very taxing on him,” Mitchell Wiggins told CBC. “We talked to (Canada senior national team GM) Steve Nash and Bill Self and we tried to come up with a program that fits everybody, but also gets Andrew some rest because, at the end of the day he’s 18. The biggest thing was having Steve, Canada Basketball and coach Self on the same page. He’s committed to the Canadian national program, but we just felt this was best route for him to go.”

Wiggins is expected to be in Lawrence as soon as today. Per NCAA rules, he won’t be allowed to do media interviews until fully enrolled in and attending classes.

“I think the route he’s chosen to go is the right way because, after this year, he’s not going to have a lot of (down time). He’ll be playing on the national team and, hopefully, in the NBA ... he’s going to be fresh, he’s going to be healthy and his commitment is there as far as Canada Basketball,” Mitchell said.

Self discussed a delay in getting Wiggins to campus Friday on 810 radio WHB.

“With international kids, it’s not quite as easy getting student visas updated and a lot of other things updated that could potentially expire and make sure have no problems when you get here,” Self said.

“Also, he’s in a situation where you reclassify going from a junior to senior ... there’s things like the high school computer getting everything right on the transcript, some things going on that aren’t major. Trust me, they have nothing to do with him, but it’s been a little more time-consuming than we thought. There’s no reason to come until we get that stuff fixed. He couldn’t do anything when he got down here (until paperwork is in order).”

Recruiting: Charles Matthews, a 6-4 junior-to-be from Chicago St. Rita, tells Eric Bossi of he plans to visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog. KU, Arizona and Illinois are believed to be atop the No. 9-rated player’s list, Bossi said. ... Kelly Oubre, a 6-5 senior from Bush High in Richmond, Texas, tells Bossi he likely will visit KU and Louisville. The No. 27-ranked Oubre is transferring to Findlay Prep in Nevada for the upcoming season.


David Leathers 5 years, 10 months ago

You know, Ryan Robertson was cool until he married a Tigress. Shame on you Ryan, shame on you!

MimiHawk 5 years, 10 months ago

If it makes you feel any better, Ryan nicknamed his son, J.D., BabyJay. His wife had NO idea what Baby Jay meant until seeing the Baby Jay display at The Phog. She looked at the exhibit, and turned to Ryan, and exclaimed, "Is THAT why you call our son, Baby Jay?" You gotta love a man who is willing to pull that one over on his Tiger Bride.

Greg Lux 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course he pulled it over on his wife ... duh .. she a MU Grad .. enough said..

741hawk 5 years, 10 months ago

I married a Tigress. . . . and converted her. My Dad thought it was my greatest accomplishment in life! She wears blue on game days.

As Coach Fam would have said, "I'm sure she is a very nice person. She just made a most unfortunate decision!"

David Leathers 5 years, 10 months ago

That is a great accomplishment! Of course my comment was made as a joke, and I hold no grudge against Robertson for choosing his life partner. It is true what they say, opposites attract.

MimiHawk 5 years, 10 months ago

I knew you were just funnin', but I thought you would like that story about Ryan's "Baby Jay." I wonder how many years he planned that? There's a video of Ryan and his wife telling the story around somewhere.

David Leathers 5 years, 10 months ago

You know, Wiggins was cool until...

Ok, he's still pretty awesome.

Jesse Johnson 5 years, 10 months ago

"...and, hopefully, in the NBA ..."

I see where Andrew gets his humble attitude from. Dear Mitchell, no worries, rest assured your son will play in the NBA for many years.

jaybate 5 years, 10 months ago

• Each year at this time, when the players come to Lawrence, I recall what a gigantic moment it was, when I loaded up my old car and drove only 40 miles to Lawrence to "start my life," as I recall thinking to myself. It felt momentous, like the beginning of the voyages of my own private star ship enterprise.

In some ways I look back and think how silly I was, for I was so much so, but in truth it really was the beginning of the voyage of my one small life in this tiny world in this universe in the journey that ends for all in unforgiving, usually gruesome, uncontrollable, and generally profoundly crappy death, regardless of what one believes may, or may not, come after.

I know these young basketball players are effectively supermen in comparison to what I once was (and remain); that they are remotely observed, statistically improbable outliers in talent and work ethic; that they will live lives that exceed mine in many ways. And yet this much we share, this team we are both on: we have both--they and me--we--have cast off for Lawrence--have started the voyage by a sail there.

"And then went down to the ship..."

It was for a brief moment, so very lonely. I could think of it only briefly as I drove away from my folks house--the white house with black shutters.

And then the adventure began and the great camaraderie of young men and women trying to find their ways began and then the life was on.

And it never ends until the end.

Take your time Andrew. Savor your moments and your place together, mother and father Wiggins. All one really has is time and place for a short time.

KansasComet 5 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, this was one of your classics that help get me through the off season, thanks.

Ludwig Supraphonic 5 years, 10 months ago

My Son was moving his stuff out of the room he has lived in since he was 5 recently. He had one last look and said "It feels like I'm leaving childhood".

Lance Hobson 5 years, 10 months ago

Oh man, now I'm thinking of the 747 I got on to fly from Japan to KU for my freshman year, what a leap. I was holding back tears leaving my girlfriend and fun high school existence. I walked into my dorm room at Oliver Hall and my roommate was sleeping and wouldn't get up to meet me. Well, it was one of the best years of my life followed by a few more and I'm sure it will be for many of KU's new class this year.

Michael Bratisax 5 years, 10 months ago

Nicely stated jaybate, with all the reality that comes from life, I still regard Kansas as one of the best times in my life. Unfortunately, I have made it back only once and that was just five years or so after graduation '82.

Nothing I would rather be than to be a Jayhawk.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 10 months ago

September of 1966, my Mom and Dad dropped me off at KU to start my college career. After they spent the day with me meeting my roommate, checking out my Hall, they took off. I can still remember that feeling as they drove away down 14th Street.....Holy Crap, I am truly on my own!! It was a daunting feeling, to say the least.

But by the next day, I knew I had made the right decision..a five year decision that has had nothing but positive effects on my life from that day till present. [PS architecture is a five year program...I didn't dog it for a year. :) ]

Anyway, Andrew will truly understand when he get into Lawrence for good that he too has made a very, very good decision.

Also, I wanted to foillow up JB's post because in one form or another, I think we all went through a similar experience. Although I have to make the point that my time at KU, 1966-71 probably saw the greatest transition in University Life. In 1966 someone burnt down an effigy of the football 1970, someone burnt down the Student Union.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 10 months ago

PS Ryan Robertson is still, to this day, reviled in St.Louis as a turncoat and traitor by the Misery surprise, I guess!!

Jack Wilson 5 years, 10 months ago

Curious, is McLemore viewed the same way?

Tony Bandle 5 years, 10 months ago

Surprisingly, may be the fact that we no longer play each other, but more likely Norm Stewart was an a$$hole about Ryan going to KU and took every opportunity to besmerch Ryan's rep.

Michael Bratisax 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't think that McLemore or Rush were held in contempt with nearly the loathing and maliciousness that Robinson was subject to. I still remember Robinson jumping up on the sport writer's table and shouting back to all the Missouri fans in what I think was his last game in Columbia.

Good for him.

NavyJayhawk70 5 years, 10 months ago

In 1966, my family also dropped me off at the Hill -- Ellsworth Hall -- after a trip by car from the East Coast. As a Navy brat and after a career in the service, I have much to thank the Navy for -- but nothing more than sending me to KU!

You are absolutely right -- 4 (or 5) years there was an experience that stays with you for a lifetime. Wiggins or any athlete -- or other student -- should feel privileged to wear the Crimson & Blue!

You're also right about the changes we saw -- the burning of the Student Union, National Guard in the streets, Bill Cosby in Hoch Auditorium on the night MLK was killed, Bobby Kennedy speaking in Allen Field House a few months before being killed -- formative years for us and for our University. Throughout that period and since, one binding factor has persisted -- Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Jack Wilson 5 years, 10 months ago

Got to the message board late yesterday.

Still trying to comprehend Keegan predicting that Mason would start over Tharpe (saying Mason would start the most games at point -- he'd be surprised if that didn't happen). Then listing his starters to include Mason.

With all due respect, Keegan's opinion without any rational basis here. If Keegan has an inside source, ok. But if that was the case, Tharpe would have transferred. Seriously, if someone inside KU hoops was so sure that Mason would start, Tharpe would know that. And why would you stick around if you were Tharpe, heading into your junior season if you won't start the next two seasons? So there is no inside source. And there has never been any indication in any other "story" that Keegan has an inside source.

Further, last July, Keegan was on the Jamari Traylor bandwagon claiming it was conceivable that he'd make the most impact of all of the freshmen, and that he was the best fit next to Withey. But look at the basis for that opinion. Keegan said "Jamari Traylor, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound red-shirt freshman from Chicago, hits the boards and anybody in his way hard. He’s explosive, runs the floor well and has the look of a guy who will play with a mean streak. Practices are closed to the media, so his game remains a mystery, but those who played against him and with him in practice raved about his explosiveness and strength."

So, he never actually saw him play.

Here's how Keegan answers the question of "why" when suggesting Mason would start more games at point than any other player "He’s physically developed beyond his years, is explosive and has a natural feel for how to put pressure on a defense and set up a teammate when defenders collapse. Mason’s a pure point guard, something Kansas didn’t have last year."

Ok, how much has Keegan actually watched Mason. Right, the scrimmage. He watched one scrimmage.

Keegan says KU did not have a point guard last season. Hmmm. Here's what he said about Tharpe in February - "Tharpe put extraordinary pressure on the defense, sending passes in all directions." And "... he did a brilliant job of doing what point guards are supposed to do, which is to bring out the best in the other four players on the floor."

This was a story about how Tharpe played a big part in ending KU's three game losing streak. To be fair, it didn't mean Keegan was sold on Tharpe. But I would argue that starting in early December, Tharpe did exactly what Keegan said he did in the game reported on -- and did so very consistently.

I'm not saying the guy isn't entitled to his opinion. He is. But what I think is reasonable is to give us something of substance to back up the opinion. For KU fans, to hear the sports editor say Mason will start over the junior Tharpe is a big deal. It deserves much more than we got.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 10 months ago

HEM..we gotta love ya....always on the ramparts guarding our sacred trust. Keep watch, brave and noble warrior!!

Jack Wilson 5 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and I will be very quick to apologize to Keegan if my response here proves incorrect. I am very interested to hear the detail of the "why."

Michael Bratisax 5 years, 10 months ago

As much as I enjoy Keegan's articles, he is at heart an editorialist. I would imagine that he purposely writes or takes the position that goes against the grain that the majority of Jayhawk fans might take.

Mason will not start next year. We have seen how Self keeps his freshman guards on very short leashes. With a team lacking experience, why would you start a freshman over a junior who started the year before.

I can easily see Mason getting more minutes as the season moves into conference play but this isn't his year to start.

Kay Jensen 5 years, 10 months ago

Ryan was my college crush! How could you pick a mizzou girl over me! :)

Jim Chastain 5 years, 10 months ago

I live in St Louis and -- as such -- seen many a low moment from Tiger fans. However, I'd have to say that booing Ryan Robertson incessantly for four years has to rank as the most classless of all moves. (Even lower than the Antlers trick this year of creating a traffic jam in front of the Arkansas bus so the team would be delayed getting to the game... in order to stick it to Mike Anderson).

Ryan Robertson has to be one of the classiest, nicest people I've ever seen in the world of sports. There is no one who better exemplifies what a student athlete should be. Here's to hoping that all your kids become Jayhawks.

wrwlumpy 5 years, 10 months ago

Ryan said that each time he would drive home to STL and back to Lawrence over his 4 years, it would be difficult to drive through Columbia until his senior year when KU won and immediately after the game Ryan ran to the Antlers area and put his hands on his hips and stood there as the Antlers screamed at him. Robertson was high scorer that day with 17. The game had been on TV and for some reason the Camera actually stayed on Ryan as he continued to smile at them. Then Eric Chenoweth came over to scream at the Antlers while Ryan walked away.

Why is that so many of these articles show us how good our memories are about the past, but remembering where your phone or keys are is very frustrating.

wrwlumpy 5 years, 10 months ago

This from the Shiver 40 minutes ago.

Let him be treated as a fellow student on campus. Let him be a kid away from the court. My daughter told me stories that some of her sorority sister would wait in certain spots around campus because Raef would walk by. In an interview before the McD All Star game AW talked about that where ever he goes he hears people whisper after he walks by, "That's Andrew Wiggins".

He looks like a really, really good kid. Welcome to KU.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 10 months ago

This all reminds me how how shameful it was for MO to leave the Big 12.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 10 months ago

Can we see J.D. Robertson donning the Crimson & Blue on a KU scholarship someday?

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