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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

KU basketball notebook: Reports rolling in about Robinson leaning toward skipping school

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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Reports are starting to roll in that say 7-foot center Mitchell Robinson, who recently was given a release by Western Kentucky University, may be considering sitting out the 2017-18 season altogether.

That’s what Jon Rothstein at FanRag Sports says “multiple sources” told him earlier this week, and Yahoo’s Pat Forde reported Tuesday that Robinson was “not expected to play college basketball this season.”

According to Forde, “one source familiar with Robinson’s recruitment said he has not been in contact with Kansas since last Thursday, and another source said New Orleans has been informed that the 7-footer does not plan to join the Privateers and instead will work out in preparation for the draft.”

If that is, in fact, what Robinson elects to do, it likely will send Kansas into the 2017-18 season with one unused scholarship.

Robinson, who has made visits to LSU, Kansas and New Orleans during the past couple of weeks, was rumored to be deciding between KU and UNO. But this latest development, should it be the direction he goes, would mean that the McDonald’s All-American would sit out the season to prepare for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Even if Robinson were to choose a school — other than WKU — he still would need a waiver to become eligible to play right away. If that request were denied, Robinson would have to sit out the 2017-18 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, but would still be allowed to practice with his new team.

A consensus Top 10 prospect in the Class of 2017, Robinson is projected by ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony, formerly of DraftExpress.com, to be on the fringe of the draft lottery and a solid first-rounder.

Azubuike back in town

As expected, Kansas coach Bill Self confirmed to the Journal-World on Tuesday night that sophomore center Udoka Azubuike was back on campus Tuesday.

Azubuike, who missed all but 11 games of his freshman season, arrived back in town from summer break a couple of days later than most of his KU teammates, as Self said was the plan.

The Jayhawks began classes for the fall semester on Monday.

Big man on campus

According to the Team Loaded AAU Twitter account (@teamloadedaau), Class of 2018 big man David McCormack was on the KU campus this week for an unofficial visit.

McCormack, 6-9, 290 pounds, plays at Oak Hill Academy, and was a teammate of current KU freshman Billy Preston last year.

Ranked No. 41 in the class according to the 247 Sports composite rankings, McCormack also lists Duke, Georgetown, UCLA, NC State and Oklahoma State among his favorites.

Matt Scott, of 247 Sports site TheShiver.com, caught up with the No. 2-ranked center in the 2018 class shortly after his trip to Lawrence.

“It was a great visit,” McCormack told Scott on Tuesday, adding that he had yet to schedule any official visits. "The facilities and campus (were) amazing.”

Wiggins splits with agent

Shortly after watching his BDA Sports negotiate a five-year, $148 million max deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves on his behalf, former Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins terminated his relationship with the only agency he had worked with during his three-year NBA career, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday.

Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick who would become the first player in that draft class to sign his rookie extension, filed the paperwork with the league shortly after the contract was sent to his agent, Bill Duffy, chairman of BDA Sports.

Class of 2014 players are eligible to sign their extensions through October, but it is now unclear how quickly Wiggins will sign the deal or if anything will change with the terms.

Comments

Bryce Landon 4 weeks ago

I'm not sure how Robinson thinks he can be prepared for the NBA if he doesn't get some exposure by playing for a college team between now and the 2018 Draft. I'm also not sure if he's someone we should be recruiting. What does it say about us when we're right up there with an FCS school like UNO on his list of potential choices to play?

Marius Rowlanski 4 weeks ago

Playing at KU is easily his best option. Too bad. I'm not sure what is says about us..he is the one incapable of making a decision and sticking to it.

John Fitzgerald 4 weeks ago

He's a top ten recruit and a 7 footer. Every school in their right mind would recruit him. Also, I'm not sure what answer you're looking for when you ask what it says about us for recruiting a guy that's also being recruited by UNO. Again, he's a top ten recruit, Whitman left unexpectedly which left us with an open scholarship, and a top ten 7 footer all of a sudden became an option. And if you know any thing about KU basketball you'll know we're slim at Center. If Self didn't try to recruit this guy he'd be dumb.

Bryce Landon 4 weeks ago

The shocking part of your answer is that you made it through it without getting off your usual insults to my intelligence.

Yes, I know we're short a man; we are reminded of that in the article. But just because Robinson is a 7-footer doesn't mean he's talented enough to play at a place like KU. I'm not buying into the notion that he's a "top-ten recruit". Top ten recruits don't end up at lower-tier schools like Western Kentucky or consider going to UNO to play; they end up at Power 5 schools. If we're going to be in recruiting battles for players, I prefer to be in recruiting battles with fellow Power 5 schools like our fellow Big 12 schools or Duke or Michigan State or, well, you get the idea, not with afterthoughts like New Orleans.

James Whittington 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Just remember that Frank Mason and Devonte Graham weren't recruited by "power 5 schools". Just because a kid is recruited by major programs doesn't mean they have to attend them. Micheal Porter ended up at Mizzou!!!! Rock Chalk

John Fitzgerald 3 weeks, 6 days ago

There is a reason why recruits are ranked where they are and it's because there are professionals whose careers are to analyze them. Also, if Self is interested in a player I'll take his word over yours a billion out of a billion times. I think you try to hard to find a reason to hate Self and it's starting to get really sad. Also, I don't need to insult your intelligence any longer, you do it enough in your posts.

Eliott Reeder 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Yes, he's a top-10 recruit. Scout #9, 247 #9. And he's also the #1 ranked center on both of those sites. He was a McDonald's All-American. He is a highly recruited, highly ranked player. Just because a kid considers going to a smaller school close to home does not mean we shouldn't recruit them.

Mike Greer 3 weeks, 6 days ago

What I think it says about KU is that we get enough really good players, that good players leave the program to get playing time and we have ended up a big man short, with little notice. What else it says about KU is that we are a basketball program that interests just about any and all top recruits, that's why he took a look.

What really matters is what is says about Robinson. He's obviously not happy with initial choice (it was poorly made and for the wrong reasons) and he is now left with "Hobson's Choice" and he doesn't like that. So if he doesn't want to go back to WKU, UNO is a way to stay home (he's not going to play games this season), Chalamette is a 20 min drive from the UNO campus. Obviously he doesn't even find that a tenable solution, so he's just going to "work out". If that's the case, would he really gain anything from coming to KU? Coach can provide the opportunity, but the players have to do their part if they want to improve.

Robert Brock 4 weeks ago

Robinson is a mess - not worth fretting over. Meanwhile, David McCormack would be a good get.

Jonathan Allison 3 weeks, 5 days ago

sounds like Robinson doesn't want to go to school if he's not eligible to play. It's definitely time to move on. If he doesn't want to go to class then we need to stay away.

Dillon Davis 3 weeks, 6 days ago

This is another example of how flawed the NBA draft rules are...what happens if this kid gets seriously hurt this year while he is training? He won't be enrolled in college so he has nowhere to go back to school to (i.e Brandon Rush after soph year). And whatever "training" he may do this next year it won't be the same exposure and same benefit as it would if he were playing against college competition. Whether he got the waiver or not, he would be practicing and getting better every day with good players and a great coach. And maybe he would be granted the waiver and get to play against good Big 12 competition and in the NCAA tourney. And yeah there is the chance he could get hurt at school too but at least at that point he would have the trainers and the option to come back to school if he needed to. He's taking advantage of the system that is in place and the system is the problem.

Tim Orel 3 weeks, 6 days ago

I have not read where he's hiring an agent, talking about receiving payment for something sports related or in any other way doing something that would ruin his college eligibility. I do not think this kid will be attending college at this late stage, but maybe some college would be willing to take him for classes and help him make up whatever he needs for eligibility. Even if he gets injured, it would probably be worth a college's investment to try to get him in to play for them, should he still be eligible.

I agree - college basketball or even a foreign player contract would be better for him than working out on his own for the year, but as Mike said above, the player has to want it. I'm not sure he does at this point, since if he did, he'd be in school someplace, signed an agent or otherwise be moving forward.

Harlan Hobbs 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Agreed, Mr. Brock.

He'll probably show up in Europe assuming he can cut the apron strings. Otherwise, sitting out a year is not conducive to being a high draft choice. Of course, some NBA team will probably take him next year just on "potential." Hard to pass on a 7 footer, even if he will likely be a bench sitter at first.

Eliott Reeder 3 weeks, 6 days ago

I'm guessing he didn't want to sit out a year and then play a year and enter the draft. He probably would have been willing to come to a school like Kansas and practice and get the tutelage of a great coach for a year, but no school would want him to do that and then not stay and play for the next year. It's a tough situation. Either sit out a year, play a year, and enter the draft a year later than projected, or do what he is doing.

Matt Stone 3 weeks, 6 days ago

I am conflicted. I tweeted him July 31st asking him to consider KU and to call Self and that him joining this team makes us a Final 4 lock. But his leaving 2 schools and not joining KU quickly as the only good choice he has, makes me think he may have too much baggage and may disrupt team chemistry at this time.

Yonatan Negash 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Robinson is not eligible to play this year.

It's my understanding he started his official college career at Western Kentucky by taking and completing summer classes.

The minute he decided to leave Western Kentucky, he became an official transfer student. Which means he has to sit out a year. Obviously, his plan is to play one year and then go pro. For those reasons, LSU stopped recruiting him.

I would think Kansas opened the doors for a discussion to gauge his interest in the possibility of sitting out this year. It's clear the kid didn't buy in or KU didn't see him coming back after sitting out. Therefore, it would a wasted scholarship.

Matt Stone 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Transfer rules would prevent him, barring an unusual waiver clearance, to be eligible for 2017-18 at a different school since he had enrolled at Western Kentucky. So the waiver clearance is what KU fans were hoping for so he could play this year.

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