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Sorting out Thomas Robinson's tough decision

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson comes down from a dunk against Nebraska during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks hung on for a 63-60 win over the 'Huskers.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson comes down from a dunk against Nebraska during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks hung on for a 63-60 win over the 'Huskers. by Nick Krug

Just for a minute, forget the twins and forget Josh Selby.

Most of the buzz surrounding the future of the Kansas University men's basketball program right now is on one man and one man alone — Thomas Robinson.

Robinson enjoyed a monster season in 2010, transforming from the few-minutes-a-game freshman he was last year into a sophomore with the ability to take over, and change, games.

In 33 games (2 starts) and just under 15 minutes per outing this season, Robinson averaged 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds for the 35-3 Jayhawks. Those numbers, while not amazing, should be taken for more than they are considering Robinson was playing behind Marcus and Markieff Morris, two all-Big-12-caliber big men who averaged 30.8 and 15.9 rebounds combined per game themselves.

In addition to the glamorous stats such as points and rebounds, Robinson delivered 22 blocks (third on the team), 14 steals, a .601 field goal percentage and more rim-rattling dunks than anyone in the Big 12. The obvious question here is why didn’t Robinson play more? The even-more-obvious answer is that the only way he could have played more is if the twins had played less. And there aren’t a lot of people out there, including KU coach Bill Self, who saw that as a good option.

That leads me to my point and it has to do with Robinson’s upcoming decision whether to stay in school another year or bolt for the NBA Draft.

At the beginning of the season, this wasn’t much of a question. Sure, people saw Robinson’s long-term NBA potential, but the key word there was long-term. Few thought he would be ready after just two years of school and, really, that’s still the biggest question here. Is Robinson ready?

That depends on what you mean by ready. Is he physically mature enough to bang with the post players in the NBA? Sure. Is he athletically gifted enough to not look lost out there? Absolutely.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson elevates for a bucket between  Arizona defenders Lamont Jones, left, and Kyryl Natyazhko during the first half of the Las Vegas Invitational, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010 at the Orleans Arena.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson elevates for a bucket between Arizona defenders Lamont Jones, left, and Kyryl Natyazhko during the first half of the Las Vegas Invitational, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010 at the Orleans Arena. by Nick Krug

The list continues: Is he mentally ready for the pace the NBA offers, not to mention the grind of traveling night-after-night from city to city? Nobody but Robinson knows the answer to that one. And, finally, would coming back to school put him in a better position to be more ready in any of those departments next year or the year after? Who knows?

There’s so much to process and so much to consider. And, really, only Robinson’s answers are the ones that matter.

Unlike many KU players before him, Robinson’s in a unique position here. For most, whatever decision a player makes has an obvious reaction. For instance, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry would’ve been crazy to come back. No matter how much they liked KU and enjoyed playing with their teammates, both were lottery picks and returning to school would more than likely have hurt their stock instead of helping it. And think about Nick Collison or Kirk Hinrich. Either could’ve left college after their junior seasons and been drafted, but both came back and both wound up being lottery picks the next year.

In Robinson’s case, it’s easy to see that either path could be the right one. Take a look at where a handful of Internet mock drafts have him ranked at the moment, with the most recent update in parentheses.

• NBADraft.net (3/30) — 23rd in 2011 draft
• NBADraftInsider (3/28) — 15th in 2011 draft
• HoopsAddict.com (3/23) — 27th in 2011 draft
• TheSportsBank.net (3/23) — 22nd in 2011 draft
• MyNBADraft.net (2/5) — 20th in 2011 draft
• DraftSite.com (3/30) — 65th in 2011 draft
• DraftExpress.com (3/16) — 17th in 2012 draft

It should be noted that a quick scan of the web took me to about 20 different mock draft sites. Those listed above were the ones that had Robinson included, but nearly twice as many did not have him at all.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson waves to the Fieldhouse crowd as he leaves following the Jayhawks' 90-66 win over Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Robinson erupted for 17 points to help lead the effort just two days after the funeral for his mother Lisa Robinson.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson waves to the Fieldhouse crowd as he leaves following the Jayhawks' 90-66 win over Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Robinson erupted for 17 points to help lead the effort just two days after the funeral for his mother Lisa Robinson. by Nick Krug

That’s what makes his situation so interesting. How can one site have him 15th in this year’s draft — that’s the first pick outside of the lottery — and others not have him in this year’s draft at all. Maybe some aren’t ranking him because they’re expecting him to stay at Kansas for the 2011-12 season. Maybe some aren’t ranking him because these things aren’t an exact science and there is no precise formula. And maybe some aren’t ranking him because he’s not yet shown himself to be a complete player. His jump shot is inconsistent, he struggles at the free throw line and he plays out of control too often.

In college, thanks to his size, strength and motor, Robinson can overcome those things and still be a stud. In the NBA, it might not be as easy to do that.

That doesn’t mean one choice is right and the other is wrong. It just means that both paths could provide some interesting results.

The guess here is that Robinson comes back, plays like a man possessed and becomes a lottery pick in the 2012 draft. But if enough people are telling him that he’ll be a first-rounder this year, I can see how it would be tough to pass up the opportunity for guaranteed money given the situation he and his sister are in.

Should-I-stay-or-should-I-go is not an easy decision for anybody. But the one Robinson has in front of him is as tough of one as I can remember seeing.

Good luck, Thomas.

Thomas Robinson, center left, and Josh Selby, center right, enjoy the final minute of the Jayhawks' 90-66 win against the Kansas State Wildcats, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Former KU star Wayne Simien had his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony at the game.

Thomas Robinson, center left, and Josh Selby, center right, enjoy the final minute of the Jayhawks' 90-66 win against the Kansas State Wildcats, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Former KU star Wayne Simien had his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony at the game. by Mike Yoder

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Comments

baldwinjhawk 3 years ago

Can the trio ( the morii and selby) declare for the draft but not contract an agent and still be eligible to play next season? If so, that seems like the smartest thing to do with lockout talk being thrown around.. right?

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kirkhinrichflow 3 years ago

if u cant come in a make a significant impact against teams like VCU then ur not ready for the NBA

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Vic Janeway 3 years ago

stay in college get degree in case of injury......a degree will help for pay, and since Jayla is part of your responsibility now, you have to cover all bases. Most here dont remember those injured and NOT playing pro.

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dnvrhawk 3 years ago

The reason one site has him highly ranked, and the others not ranked at all, was because of his inconsistancy. One game TRob is in beast mode, the next he has three fouls before half, and plays a total of 10 minutes for the game. Until he can bring it day in and day out, I think he's better off playing in the college ranks. When you can dominate at one level, you're ready for the next. I don't think he's there yet. But yes, he has tons of potential, which is what the NBA looks at.

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Lebowski 3 years ago

I think TRob could go very early. But I think with the lockout situation, it's a no-brainer to stay.

His game can't afford to sit around and play pickup basketball for a year. And that all-enticing money wouldn't be there.

Those guys that the NBA would consider projects who have more development they need to go through have the most to lose from a lockout. This also makes me wonder how anyone can even mention Selby's name in the same sentence as NBA draft. If he does go, would be the single biggest draft-decision mistake I've ever seen. What NBA gm could get excited about him right now? Forget about weaknesses... what's he shown as far as a real area of strength?

The twins just need to stop being delusional about one thing. They aren't playing on the same team. There is a chance they might not be playing on the same continent.

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Ralster Jayhawk 3 years ago

Total hear-say, but I saw a post from someone in the past week here on this site that suggested there was "over $2million" in the fund for Jayla. About a month ago, at the bottom of one of the LJW stories, SirThomas quoted as saying "I dont know how much is in/or how the fund is doing...maybe I'm not supposed to know...".

This un-substantiated tidbit (about the $2mil), is the biggest reason TRob simply may not have to go early--period. If it's true. I do know from the acknowledgement letter I got from SNR Denton in Washington, DC (who manages the fund), that these donations are not tax-exempt, since they "are for the use of an individual". That means Jayla + her family. It is unbelievably rare the NCAA allowed us to help a player's family like this. If the amount is anywhere close to the truth, I am truly shocked and amazed by Jayhawk Nation. Again, if true, this monumental 'show of support' from his KU "family" simply cannot be ignored by SirThomas, IMHO...

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Kye Clark 3 years ago

Anybody see OU is working out a deal with Lon Kruger? Not exactly a hire that's going to fire up the fan base. Solid, but kind of vanilla.

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grayhwk 3 years ago

Is anyone curious how much money is in the donated fund for Jayla?? Does Thomas know? I suspect there is quite a bit, at least enough to pay for her college and probably more than that, i just wonder how much if any this effects his decision too.

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Andrew Dunlap 3 years ago

Thomas Robinson is the perfect example of a hardship. How is he going to provide for himself and his baby sister? I'm sure he will receive some death benefits from his mother but that won't go far. Even if he gets drafted late in the first round or even be a second round pick, he satnds to make at least 400K. that's a lot of money. But- and there is a big but- if he goes early, he may never be more than a journeyman. It all depends on whether his immediiate situation dictates him coming out early. If The twins leave and he has a monster year, he could be a lottery pick and could be looking at 10X the money long term. Either way, the kid has a bright future.

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phoghawker 3 years ago

T-Rob, NBA now = good money 1 more year with Danny Manning = PRICELESS!

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REHawk 3 years ago

Here's one thing upon which 99% of the Jayhawk Nation can probably agree: No matter whom Bill Self recruits and signs, no matter who else departs or transfers, if Thomas Robinson returns for a third year, KU hoops is in for another exciting energypacked season! What a sad nightmare to witness his sitting on that San Antonio bench after those three quick fouls. Almost a microcosm for the defeatherment of the entire squad. TRob is a player who, esp. if one or both twins should depart, represents the hopeful future for 2011-12 team success and exciting viewing. Would be a crushing blow if his family situation dictates his having to depart while yet so partially developed as a very memorable Jayhawk star. Not only Kansas but all college basketball would wave goodbye to one of the greatest emotional players and life stories in Division I Athletics. Among all the tarnished or glorified stories in high school, college and professional sports, the Thomas Robinson saga leaps forth as a rare jewell for anyone who delves beneath the level of on-and offcourt headlines and statistics. My eyes moisten at even the thought that this kid might feel he has to move on.

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Scott Smetana 3 years ago

Players do not 'develop' on the bench for the NBA. X, Cole, JuJu, etc would have developed millions times better under Self and be having more successful NBA career$$.

PS - Nobody really cares about the nba except ESPN (and a few fans on the coasts) which just so happens to own the NBA TV rights under Disney.

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Jack Wilson 3 years ago

To me, this isn't even a decision. TRob is not a guaranteed first round pick. Don't go. Going too early assures you of a life earning money playing ball in Israel and Turkey. Ok for some guys, but not for one needing to help care for his sister. Things I'm sure will be fine for his sister for then next year.

His draft stock will soar being the featured post-man, and he will surely get better in the off-season. No way. Don't go.

On the twins, they are first round guys. I get it if they go.

Selby - see TRob. He can explode to top 10 material with a stud sophomore season.

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TommieSmithElbow 3 years ago

Marchphog88: Agree with both points, especially the 2nd. I wouldn't mind Shaka going to Missouri because I think we would punish him year in, year out, and while the incentive to try to rectify what his team did this year will only last a few years (then it will be new recruits who can't relate to the loss), he would find out what it is like to have a winning program versus getting hot for a few games. The latter is reiminiscent of K-State, and even they are a better program than Missouri.

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Sam Constance 3 years ago

A couple things:

1) The fact that Robinson's mock draft status is all over the place is a huge red flag. It basically means none of the draft prognosticators really have any idea where Robinson would go. Which means that there haven't been many (if any) NBA teams inquiring about Robinson. Of course, he could go have some awesome workouts and increase his stock, but nothing is guaranteed for him right now, and if he goes in the 2nd round and then there's a lockout, he would be SOL. I'd say the risk is much higher of going now and missing out than the risk of returning to school and suffering a career-ending injury.

2) Missouri can have Shaka Smart. He is a prototypical media-overreaction to the immediacy of current success. Has his team's run been amazing? Of course. However, a HUGE part of their run has involved an ability to shoot 3-pointers at a far better rate than the rest of their season. In the 5 games VCU played in the tournament thus far, they exceeded their season-long 3-pt percentage in every single game. Over those 5 games, their average 3-pt percentage has exceeded their regular season 3-pt percentage by 7-8%. That's a big factor, and I'm sorry, Smart doesn't get credit for "coaching" his team to make shots. The fact that a team that is clearly athletic and skilled had such a mediocre regular season--to the point of potentially missing the NCAA tourney altogether--should be a huge warning sign. Winning a regular season requires consistency, resolve and endurance. Winning in a tournament requires those things as well, but in a smaller sample size, any lack thereof can be masked by great shooting.

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Joseph Kuebel 3 years ago

The payoff isn't next year, it comes in contract years 3-8 anyays... ya maybe they getyall get chosen 5 picks higher which isn't that big of a difference. But your first 3 years y'all aren't get paid big money anyways. Y'all will be out after 4 years, or be sitting there making 10 mil year in yr 7... that's clear as day ... sho y'all a r dominant, but 1 more year makes 5x as likely to prolong your career into the "big money contract years come in year 4-7"...

Stay, Win, and Eat gentlemen...

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Joseph Kuebel 3 years ago

+50 ... Rush stayed for his title and this team is stikingly similar to the make-up of our 2006-07 team. If everyone stays 1 more year, everyone will eat and we'll have 6 NBA draftees after we win next year (just like our 07-08 title team , if they leave early I unfortunately see Wrght, Arthur, Aldrich and Henry repeats...

Stay, win, improve, and y'all will ALL BE EATIN!

Morris, Trob, Morris- Stay and you'll be paid NBA money for 10 years- not border line D-leaguers like Aldrich sitting at home in 4 years. Guarantee yourself a title, and guarantee your future for some real money... you got Jayhawk nation behind you either way, but I won't say this is I hadn't seen it every year besides the year we won, you all have the potential to actually play AND STAY like Rush, Hinrich, (collison got hurt- but our bigs that stay will be the future LaMarcus' not Coles)... be smart, don't be a re, u wanna sit on the bench for 4 years and be dumped off like aldrich and d arth?

Stay, win, and EAT 3x the NBA money after next year...

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BrockIII 3 years ago

I would be really surprised if the "Law Firm" returns for a senior year. There is no guarantee another year dominating the Big 12 will improve their draft stock. It will no doubt further strengthen their games, but there are numerous factors at play in addition to a solid freshman class coming in that has NBA GMs licking their chops.

If Robinson leaves, I have no qualms due to his personal situation, but we may be looking at a very rough season next year and another great test for Self. Losing Aldrich, Collins and Henry was substantial. Losing the Morris twins, Robinson, Selby, Reed, Morningstar and Little could be devastating. Regardless if you add Tharpe, Daniels, McLemore and any others, this may be a true rebuilding year. I hope at least Robinson and Selby return - they still have quite a bit to learn.

Also, the class of 2012 is what Self is keying in on. That's where the recruits are. The elite, difference making players in the incoming class are gone, unless some signees at schools where coaches have left are able to opt out and are interested in KU.

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Oread420 3 years ago

Marcus is the only person on the team capable of being drafted in the first round. Markieff, Thomas, Josh, and Tyshawn all need to come back to further develop their game and improve their chances to sign a second contract in the NBA. Hinrich and Collison were smart enough to develop to their highest capabilities in college and it's a good reason why they still have good careers in the NBA. Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Aldrich, and Henry are great examples of being stupid and leaving early. Any of them will be lucky to resign and get the real money that awaits at that level. Anyway, who doesn't enjoy college? You got the rest of your life for the professional careers.

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kirkhinrichflow 3 years ago

he needs to develop more

hopefully no un-explained called press conferences before the banquet

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SaulGood 3 years ago

I'm not mad at anybody when I say this, but I really wish we all just didn't know about his personal life the way we do. It's nobody's fault for knowing - for pete's sake, it's unavoidable - but when Craig Sager slipped up and said that Jayla was in Lawrence, I simultaneously freaked out a little, and felt my heart sink.

I want to believe in the best the Jayhawk Nation has to offer, but there's still a lot of people in Lawrence who wouldn't leave her alone. It just wouldn't be right for her to have to be a celebrity without any say, and under these circumstances.

On the other hand, during my time at KU, the players were pretty well left alone on campus, so who knows? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I just know how some people just fawned over funeral pictures, and that really bothered me. It's just simply not our business.

And now, it's not really my business either, nor is it anyone else's. Right now, if I were in Thomas' shoes, I would certainly be unhappy with people speculating on the future of my family as if they had a right to know, or had any clue.

Bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, this is a business decision that I don't need any behind-the-scenes on. I will wait patiently for everyone's decision. I'll be eager to know, but it's politics-and-sausage as far as I'm concerned: I don't want to know how it's made.

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Mike Kendall 3 years ago

Matt---

Love your articles, just like I love Jesse's articles, too. Selfishly, I would love to see T-Rob stay and refine his game but don't know the situation with his sister, Jayla. I am sure HCBS will give some guidance. Good luck with your decision big fella.

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William Blake 3 years ago

If I was looking at Thomas without knowing of some of his personal situation I'd think he should return.

Upscale?

Will he continue to improve as a Jayhawk?

That's a no-brainer. He improved dramatically this year (from last) and we can all make a list of areas where he should improve for next year, and will, if he returns.

Will his stock go up or down if he stays another year?

As long as he stays healthy, how can his stock do anything but go up?! He's bound to improve his FT%... and help his stat line by developing more. Plus... and this is a big plus, he is bound to earn more playing minutes next year. That will dramatically help his stat line and get him so much more attention. Even if the twins stay, Thomas will earn more minutes because every year he gains in value to the twins. The gap is reduced and he will be counted on for more production... more minutes.

It is pretty difficult to sort out his personal life without being him. I've heard Jayla will move to Lawrence, but I'm not certain that is fact. If Jayla moves to Lawrence and is adopted by Angel, I would expect Thomas and the twins to stay for their senior year. It would seem to offer the most stable family situation for both families.

The only thing waiting in the NBA is money. Everything else is a complete hassle. There is no way any of these players will beat the quality of life they have right now at Kansas, and being BMOC.

In general, I don't agree with guys jumping early, except for just a few exceptions.... Kevin Durant... Derrick Rose... But most should return and take their chances. There is more to life than cashing in on a short run. What about education?

Many of these guys come from a rough neighborhood and they would prefer not returning to that neighborhood. Going NBA there is no guarantee they won't do the full circle. Gaining a college education offers a much safer, more reliable path that stays clear of the old neighborhoods.

We tend to look at these players like a piece of meat. Are their bodies ready for the NBA? Are their playing skills developed enough? Well what about their intellectual development? How many of these OADs go on to have the good life (even if they make some big money)?

I bet Danny Manning is happy he finished at KU and earned his degree... he made it well in the NBA and has set himself up well. Most of that happened beyond the question "is his body ready for the NBA?"

Without knowing more I suggest Thomas, the twins, Josh, TT should stay for their own good.

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GabrielMichael 3 years ago

Just so we are clear T Rob (in case you read this)... your Jayhawk family would love to have you back! You make us proud!

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Dirk Medema 3 years ago

Given the current state of the NBA labor relations, the only guarenteed money is at KU.

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tis4tim 3 years ago

On T-Rob: One of the big financial burdens that college players think about is taking care of their parents. Sadly, that is not a consideration in his case. Jayla, however, is a consideration. But what about all the donations that went to her scholarship fund? Is that only for education or is there money there for other things? If it can be used for daily necessities, then I would think some of the immediate financial burden for Thomas is lifted. Maybe someone else can provide some info on that?

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justinryman 3 years ago

Question: Does anyone know when the team banquet will be? Or have they not set a date for it yet?

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Clarence Haynes 3 years ago

I am sure that a lot of people are trying to get in Thomas' ear, but I can only pray that this young man makes what is the best long term decision for him.

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Sean Doherty 3 years ago

Looking at the last picture, image what an epic draft class 2012 will have from KU if everyone stays. Could we have three lottery picks and two high first rounders in our starting lineup? Markieff, high first round, as our 5 man. Thomas, lottery pick, as our 4 man. Marcus, lottery pick, as our 3 man. Josh, lottery pic, as our 2 man. And finally TT, high first round, as our 1 man. That's an epic win class.

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KGphoto 3 years ago

Off topic: Painter out. Shaka in?

If Shaka Smart takes the Missouri job, I'm gonna Shaka kill myself!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years ago

another thing people are not thinking about is the money in the nba doesn't come in your first contract. you get paid on you second one. and it's not really the nba teams job to develop your skills, they'll just drop you and go onto the next guy. so you can go to the league under prepared and make 3 mil and struggle on that next contract (X), or stay another year continue to develop so you are that much better when you first contract expires.

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tydon27 3 years ago

Although robinson might be physically ready to play in the nba the rest of his game is lagging behind at this point. He is a great rebounder and has a great motor a la blake griffin but his offensive game lacks consistency. This isn't a bad thing because you can teach effort like this and he'll get some minutes just because of that, but he doesn't have a consistent jumper or a post move that he can go to down low. Looking at his height is a bit under sized for a power forward in the nba which is why he needs to develope that consistent 15-18 foot jump shot.

Robinson should come back at least this year and work with d-manny and the morris twins to develope that mid range jumper and some more post moves which will turn him more into a blake griffin type player in the nba. Having said this I wouldn't be surprised if robinson did go pro based on his family situation and best of luck if he does but I selfishly hope he decides to stay just like all the others looking at the nba right now.

Think about this line up if all the hawks decide to come back this year. If marcus works on his ball handling and 3 point shooting he could be a natural 3 or small forward, markieff and robinson down low, and taylor and selby at the guard spots. Then rotate in ej and releford at the guard spots and withey and marcus subbing at the post spots.

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Gregor Southard 3 years ago

Not really a tough decision. If you're willing to get paid to sit on the bench like Aldridge and Henry then go. If you want to be NBA ready then stay another year.

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khekhen 3 years ago

DO IT TROB!! strike while the iron is HOT!! go NOW!!

most importantly...do it before anyone realizes you're way too small as a PF and not nearly productive enough as a SF to get any significant minutes.

do it before anyone sees that you cant put the ball on the deck or pull up for soft 15 footer.

do it before any GM's see that you wont be able to stop any of the legit SF/PF combos in the NBA since you cant guard anyone with consistency in college.

do it now while everyone's still ridin' your "story" and get PAID!!!

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d_prowess 3 years ago

Under normal circumstances, I think there is no doubt that TRob stays. But his situation is far from normal, and is what makes this so intriguing. My guess is that Robinson is not thinking about what is best for him, but instead what is best for his little sister. I think he feels like he needs to provide for her and the NBA is the quickest way for him to do that. Will he be giving up things by doing that, sure, but I think he will look at those as easy sacrifices when it comes to providing the best for his sister. Normally, I feel like these "leave-early" situations are all about weighing the money/success of leaving now versus after another year of college. This time, I think that is not nearly as important to Robinson.

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Steve Brown 3 years ago

if anyone needs to go pro, then do it. JHawk nation will support you doing the tough but right thing for your family.

However, buy insurance to reverse your decision by NOT signing officially with an agent. then you can recharacterize status if you don't land in first round.

PSS: do NOT take any $$ or premiums from anyone, really anyone.

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gorilla10 3 years ago

You only live once......Go get yourself a National Title in 2012!!!! Money can't replace history and if everyone stays, you will be a part of something great! Then, you will probably make even more money next year and have a title to talk about for the rest of your career!!!!!! Rock Chalk

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eway12 3 years ago

Here is something that no agent is going to tell TRob and that no one has mentioned yet on this thread. If he is going to build a strong family for him and his sister, he is going to need strong character, life wisdom and good friends a lot more than he is going to need money. KU is a much better place than the NBA to gain the first three.

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FreddyinLA 3 years ago

The Morris Twins will gain nothing by dominating another year against our creampuff non-conference schedule and the highly overrated Big 12. They are gone.

T-Rob and Selby are currently not NBA ready. If they leave then they are banking on developing faster in the D-League than at KU. Selby needs reps at the point and that has been given to TT. Will T-Rob next year be able to play through his early mistakes before dominating the paint?

This would be a red flag to the program if they leave. Both are great kids, never once complaining about how the rotation was being handled by Self.

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Jacobpaul81 3 years ago

If he stays (and based on Bill's comments the other day, I got the impression Bill believes it's in Thomas' best interest to stay), I am convinced Thomas will start. If the Morris twins stay, Thomas will still start. Marcus is ready to play the 3 and he needs the time at the spot as that's where he projects in the NBA. He couldn't do it this year, but Coach Self is after at least 2 Power Forwards with this seasons recruiting class: DeAndre Daniels, 6-8 from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.; Braeden Anderson, 6-8 from Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts; Stan Simpson, 6-10 from Bogan Juco in Chicago; Otto Porter, 6-9, from Scott County Central High in Sikeston, Mo.; and Jamari Traylor, 6-7 from IMG Academy.

If the Twins and Thomas stay, and we recruit at least 2 of the above, there will be a 5 man rotation underneath, with Marcus finally being able to move to the wing spot alongside Releford. Taylor, Selby and Elijah along with Royce, new recruit Tharpe and possible signee McLemore are perfectly capable of running the 1-2. If McLemore doesn't sign, I'd expect Coach to go after a 3rd power forward. A team with three starters over 6'8", all of whom can run, rebound and shoot, really would be impossible to defend. The key is getting guys to back them up from this recruiting class.

Of course, if Thomas and/or either of the Morris Twins go to the NBA, HCBS has gotta sign 3-5 power forwards and that could really hurt.

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John Boyle 3 years ago

These mock drafts have screwed KU players before. Unless they all have him as a lottery pick, he should stay and increase his stock for next year. Jayla will be fine for another year.

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bangaranggerg 3 years ago

Great article Matt, you get it. Almost lost me with the opener though, "Forget the twins, forget Josh Selby." {?!?!} Sacrilege!

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Hank Cross 3 years ago

Tough, tough decision. I guess it depends on how stable Jayla's situation is. It might even make more financial sense to develop another year at KU and lessen the risk being a failed experiment that is cast off in a couple of years. Whatever his decision KU fans will support him 100%.

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justinryman 3 years ago

Couldn't blame him for going, the money he could get to support himself and Jayla would be something of a life changer.

Yet he could stay and get guaranteed money if he becomes a lottery pick next season.

Staying would be understood as well, as he would be closer to Jayla day in and day out and be a steady part of her life and her a bigger part of his.

As much as he has been through in the past 4 months, to add this decision onto his plate, wow what a quandary. I can not blame him if he leaves, can not blame him if he stays.

Thomas just know this, you are and always will be a Jayhawk for life.

Good luck with your decision seek advise from everyone you are close to.

Godspeed

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