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.

• (3/30) — 23rd in 2011 draft
• NBADraftInsider (3/28) — 15th in 2011 draft
• (3/23) — 27th in 2011 draft
• (3/23) — 22nd in 2011 draft
• (2/5) — 20th in 2011 draft
• (3/30) — 65th in 2011 draft
• (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


justinryman 10 years, 9 months 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.


Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months 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%.

hawk316 10 years, 9 months ago

If money is not a pressing issue (and we don't have all the information in order to speak to that intelligently), TRob should most definitely return for one more year to refine his game. If he improves as much his junior year as he did last year, he very well could be a lottery pick.

SaulGood 10 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. So many variables. I hope you're right about 100% support. No question, he deserves the right to be respected, whichever way he goes.

bangaranggerg 10 years, 9 months ago

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

John Boyle 10 years, 9 months 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.

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 9 months 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.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

Let's be clear that while Self wants the best for his players, there is no way he plays Marcus at the 3 as prep for the NBA. Not gonna happen. If you're a college coach and you have a guy that dominates as a 4/5 and he decides to stay, you're going to keep him at that 4/5 position. Self isn't going to move Marcus to the 3 so that he can learn the position, especially given that Marcus as a 3 in the college game would have limited benefit to him because other college 3's can't hang with Marcus. He'd outsize them by 3-5 inches, and that is in no way prep for what awaits him at the NBA level.

Doug Merrill 10 years, 9 months ago

Don't be so sure. We are going to need shooting help at the 3, no matter who signs in this class. HCBS will do what is best for the team and for the player, team first of course. But I do think that time at the three will be in the best interests of both and that is why HCBS brought it up. He wouldn't have brought it up if he wasn't thinking of it as an option for next year (how good an argument for staying does he make to Marcus by saying "you need time at the three to advance up the draft ladder, but I am going to keep you at the 4"?).

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 9 months ago

You apparently don't read much. That was Self's intention this year. He stated it clearly for much of the season that he wanted Marcus at the 3. When that didn't work out cause Withey didn't develop, he thought he'd use Mario and Marcus to create mismatches at the 3 spot... but Mario's bust messed that up and Self was forced to play Marcus solely as a 4.

Playing a big man against a smaller 3 gives you such an advantage. Marcus can shoot outside, he can dribble and create his own space, and he's good at getting rebounds even when he's outside. He's fast enough to defend guards and strong enough to switch off and guard forwards. You move him out, give him a chance to create his own shot, and he can still battle inside with the bigs (like most traditional small forwards do). Memphis did it in 2008 with Chris Douglas-Roberts - a 6'7" small forward with the exact same skill set as Marcus (Marcus lists at 6'9" but we all know that is horse----. try 6'7-6'8". Roberts listed at 6'8" in 2008 according to Memphis and that's not what the NBA says he is). Roberts averaged 18 pts a game that season (23 over his last 6) and was a pain in the --- for Kansas to guard in that NCAA Final. If he hit some free throws, KU would still be a 2 Championship school. I think if you give Marcus that shot, he scores just as many points and out rebounds Roberts.

You may not think playing outside is NBA prep for Marcus but it is. It's not about the competition. He's played against bigs for 3 years. It's about developing his outside game, allowing him more opportunities to create space, and forcing him to play more outside defense, something he has to further develop if when entering the NBA, he's moved to the 3 spot.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

So in other words, Brady was better as a starting 3 than TRob would have been as a starting 4 (w/ Marcus at the 3)? I mean if all of this is true, then he should have simply started TRob over Brady and then Marcus could have received his "3" minutes.

And if you say that he didn't do this because there wasn't anyone on the bench to come in and help at the 4/5 spots (although Mario played as much 4 as he did 3), then my response is how will it be any different next year? Next year you lose Mario but have Wesley (and we don't yet know what he's capable of), so how is Self going to convince Marcus that if he stays another year, he'll get the 3 spot when the situation won't be that much different next year? So next year he'll start Marcus, Markieff, and TRob but this year he wouldn't?

And if you do in fact make that pitch, then there goes DeAndre Daniels, who is probably a 3 himself. And yes, I realize Daniels may not come anyway.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

If Twins stay, TRob comes off the bench, guaranteed. Zero chance all 3 start.

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 9 months ago

So little vision. Glad you're not coaching.

"Self said Marcus Morris could benefit from coming back and playing more at small forward, which would be his natural position in the NBA. He said Robinson could be more consistent, and that Selby needed more repetitions to become an NBA-ready point guard."

That was just earlier this week. He said it numerous times during the pre-season and season that he wanted to play Marcus more at the 3 but he couldn't due to injuries, slow development and the Mario situation.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

If I were Coach Self, I'd say that, too, because it's probably the only way you're going to convince Marcus to return. Hell, I'd tell him he can skip boot camp if it means he stays. You have to sell Marcus on a reason to stay because "sticking around for another title" is probably not going to do it. "Playing with your brother" might work, but that only works if Kieff doesn't leave, as well.

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 9 months ago

So little vision. Glad you're not coaching.

"Self said Marcus Morris could benefit from coming back and playing more at small forward, which would be his natural position in the NBA. He said Robinson could be more consistent, and that Selby needed more repetitions to become an NBA-ready point guard."

That was just earlier this week. He said it numerous times during the pre-season and season that he wanted to play Marcus more at the 3 but he couldn't due to injuries, slow development and the Mario situation.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

First, it's not my vision, so you can leave out the ad hominem put downs.

I'm stating what Coach Self will do, not what I think he SHOULD do. If he wanted all 3 to start all this season, he would have had all 3 start at any point this season. The 3 of them on the floor at the same time (thereby having Marcus play the 3) has absolutely nothing to do with Withey or Mario, as either of them STILL would have been on the bench. Your logic doesn't make any sense there. You could have said it was due to Robinson's inconsistency, but that wasn't your rationale.

Again, I'm not saying I think Marcus SHOULDN'T play the 3 or that the 3 of them SHOULDN'T start. I'm saying all 3 of them starting won't happen under Self. The 3 of them could see the floor at the same time, but he won't start them that way.

And there's no need to try to dismiss me with a superior tone just because you disagree.

I disagree with you, but I don't see the need to try to reduce your opinion with condescension.

Laurence Cooley 10 years, 9 months ago

if all three stay there is no reason to not start all three. those three in the 3,4 and 5 spots and TT at the point, it doesnt matter who fills in at SG, we could dominate the floor even more so than we did this year (last game excluded). i think that would be a line up that no team would know how to prepare for. i hope they all stay and come out to compete for a national championship. and if they do, this is a line up that i think HCBS will strongly consider in the exhibition games and will have worked out by the conference games.

FreddyinLA 10 years, 9 months 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.

xfitter 10 years, 9 months ago

Exactly what i was thinking when I read that comment

Dale Kroening 10 years, 9 months ago

I disagree, most all mock drafts have the twins as non lottery, they come back another year and improve, they are both top 10 picks. You also have to consider Marcus name will be in the rafters in 5 years, and Kiefs wont, how do you put one there without the other ? I think they come back, improve theyre draft stock, and Kief wins Big12 POY and his name in the rafters with his brother in 6 years. I know Im dreaming, but it is possible.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

I have to respectfully disagree. Why do you think the Morri will move up in the draft by staying around? They already dominate the game, their "potential" is established, this is a supposedly weak draft year, and they're clearly not going to get younger. The Morri coming back and being All-Americans won't suddenly make them Top 5 picks. It's the same reason Harrison Barnes won't come back and why Kyle Singler is no higher of a pick this year than last. Once you're a star in college, there's no much upside to prove to scouts. Would LOVE for them to return but I think aside from their personal desire to play together, there'd be no point to it.

As for the rafters comment, yeah that's not happening but you said you're dreaming so it's all good. Marcus could be a rafter guy but they won't both be.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

The lockout could be a strong reason to stay, but otherwise your points are quite valid.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm with you. These kids went to prep school and three years of college, making them 22 or 23 by the time they get drafted (I don't have their birthdate in front of me). We all know the NBA drafts largely on potential, and 23 or 24 year old draft entrees don't get the love that a younger player with more potential does. Reason number 1,128 why the NBA sucks!

Dale Kroening 10 years, 9 months ago

Due to Marcus winning Big12 POY, he will be a rafter guy. Kief has not met any of the criteria. We can argue all day on whether its good for them to stay or not, but in the past, players have helped themselves by staying, as well as hurt themselves, so it goes both ways. And we havent even talked about the likely lockout, and how that could hurt these kids that leave early.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

I'll take the bet that if Marcus doesn't stay, he doesn't ever get in the rafters. He didn't win a title, wasn't All-America 1st Team, and isn't even Top 15 in all-time scoring. Yeah, not happening.

Alex Berger 10 years, 9 months ago

Despite the fact you obviously have not looked at next year's non-con schedule (see Hawkfromhays), I think you are underestimating how much the Morrii enjoy not only playing on the same team as each other (this might be the last year they ever get to do that) but also how much they love their teammates.

What has been their motto all year? F.O.E.

With that being said I would love for them to come back but I could not fault them for taking advantage of a weak draft class.

Michael Auchard 10 years, 9 months ago

Like HawkfromHays said,

Next year's schedule may be the toughest 'Hawk schedule in a decade or two. It's ridiculously tough.

Thus, the reason we need these guys, at least T-Rob and Selby, to come back. It's a double whammy next year if we're in complete rebuild mode and have to face this titanic line up.

Also, this year's schedule, while not elite, was not "creampuff" (sic). It was ranked top-50 by 's well-respected standards. Yeah, I would have liked it even tougher -- it wasn't exactly murderer's row -- but it wasn't this cup-cake city fantasy you're making it out to be.

I'd say the real red flag for the program, recently, has been "fans'" ugly, negative reactions to an amazing league-championship team falling one game short of the Final Four. Also fans' castigation of their team and their future hall-of-fame coach is disturbing.

eway12 10 years, 9 months 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.

KU_alum_2001 10 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, put a million dollar check on one side of the room and "character" on the other and see which wins out.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that these guys grow in college but I highly doubt that makes any impact in his final decision.

SaulGood 10 years, 9 months ago

You're're so right. However, I know which one I would have chosen at his age. I'm not sure I wouldn't still choose it. It's easy to see money as the answer to problems, especially heartbreak.

gorilla10 10 years, 9 months 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

d_prowess 10 years, 9 months 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.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 9 months ago

Trouble is, being in the NBA involves a killer travel schedule. It would be pretty hard for him to make a home for Jayla, no matter how much money he has, if he is off playing games all the time. Maybe there is a girlfriend waiting in the wings who would stay home and take care of Jayla. If not...

d_prowess 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't necessarily mean that he will be able to physically care for Jayla. But instead be able to provide all of the financial assistance that she, his brother, and her father may need. Given that her father just got out of prison, I doubt they have a lot of resources at their disposal.

Steve Brown 10 years, 9 months 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.

Carl O'Hair 10 years, 9 months ago

You are the first and only one to give that good advice about not signing with an agent. He needs to play it safe by not doing that since you can always change your mind if you haven't done so by present rules. So many make that mistake of signing with some fool who is only interested in making money for himself and not the kid involved.

Sound advice for any of them.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

Yep! Thank God Brandon Rush didn't hire an agent when he went pro the first time!!!

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree with you, but keep in mind that not signing with an agent just allows them more time to change their mind. They still must withdraw their name before draft day in order to be eligible to return to college. If the draft comes and goes and they are not picked, tough luck, but your eligibility is gone.

I hope they all stay, but I am guessing the twins are gone. I think Selby and TRob will be back. Just my opinion.

khekhen 10 years, 9 months ago

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

most 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!!!

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

The funny thing is, he can handle the ball, saw him do it this year many a times. He would catch in the high post and then dribble to his right and then spin left and be there for the dunk, he actually is very quick with putting the ball on the floor.

Just because you didn't watch closely enough doesn't mean he can't do it.

Then again, haters will be hater.

gorilla10 10 years, 9 months ago

You do realize the NBA drafts on potential right??? No doubt in my mind TRob will someday be able to do all of the above! good try.....

Gregor Southard 10 years, 9 months 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.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

LaMarcus Aldridge? He's averaging almost 40 minutes per game.

Oooohhh, you meant Aldrich.....

tydon27 10 years, 9 months 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.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months 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.

KGphoto 10 years, 9 months ago

Off topic: Painter out. Shaka in?

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

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

NC State probably will have inside track.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

Better conference. Chance to match up with Roy and Coach K at least 4 times a year. It's closer to Richmond and his recruiting base there. NCS does have a legacy - 2 NCs.

d_prowess 10 years, 9 months ago

I will take the risk of Shaka going to MU! He has been a coach for 2 years and beat KU with the previous coach's players. He is completely unproven with the exception of this tournament run. He finished 4th in his league and wouldn't have even made the tournament if not for the expansion to 68.
Please have MU take a risk on this guy!!

KGphoto 10 years, 9 months ago

I'll just say this. If KU were in the market for a coach, I would definitely want them to take a chance on Shaka Smart. Just listen to the guy talk. He's a natural motivator. He's young.

To say he's unproven except the tourney run is like saying his tourney run isn't happening. What will you say if he wins it all? This team is no fluke, at some point the light switched on, and he's most likely the reason.

If KU finished 4th in the conference every year, but still made the Final Four every year, would you take that? I mean he spanked a Kansas team with four 1st round NBA draft picks. Spanked us!

I don't want this guy at Misery.

Kye Clark 10 years, 9 months ago

I think it's a valid argument to call into question his recruiting prowess. Could he field a team to compete at this level year in and year out? That's still too much of an unknown to bring him to Lawrence.

If KU was in the market for a coach right now, I'd be looking at Brad Stevens and Sean Miller. If neither pans out bring back Larry Brown until Danny can take over.

d_prowess 10 years, 9 months ago

I will take the risk of Shaka going to MU! He has been a coach for 2 years and beat KU with the previous coach's players. He is completely unproven with the exception of this tournament run. He finished 4th in his league and wouldn't have even made the tournament if not for the expansion to 68. Please have MU take a risk on this guy!!

LAJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Shaka has to go somewhere. His entire team will basically be gone next year, and his stock couldn't possibly be any hotter than it is right now.

Sort of reminds me of Carlos Beltran... he will receive a big offer based exclusively on what he has been able to do over a 3 week period.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 months ago

Shaka will probably go to NC State. My bet is Missouri ends up with someone we have never heard of or someone with minimal experience. They have whiffed twice now (Anderson and Painter) and Alden will need to go after someone that can't say no so he avoids the embarrassment of having yet another high profile coach use the Tiggers for leverage to re-negotiate with their current school.

Thank goodness for Missouri. Whenever I'm suffering as a KU fan, they do something to take the attention off of us and place it squarely on them...usually in a negative manner.

Sean Doherty 10 years, 9 months 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.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 9 months 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.

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

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

tis4tim 10 years, 9 months 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?

Dirk Medema 10 years, 9 months ago

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

Chayse Patrick 10 years, 9 months ago

TRob, Marcus, Kief and Josh and all you guys had a spectacular year. I've watched all your games and I watch alot of NBA. The NBA is big time and you will all have your day in the pros. College. especially at KU with millions of fans that love you with a capital L is a experience you can't pass up. Stay, improve your skills, get a title and then go make millions!!!!!!! RCJH

GabrielMichael 10 years, 9 months 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!

Mike Kendall 10 years, 9 months ago


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.

SaulGood 10 years, 9 months 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.

FLJHK 10 years, 9 months ago

SaulGood: Good post and I tend to agree with you. It is a private matter and I just want him to seek advice from people he trusts and make the best decision for him. Although I would love to see him back, it's none of my business.

However, regarding sausage and politics, you actually should care about how the latter occurs. I've been in the trenches to some degree on that, and while I grant that it's as ugly as sausage making, an informed citizenry should demand to know.

SaulGood 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for your insights, FLJHK. I respect where you're coming from as it pertains to politics :) I try to care, but it takes a split second for politics to move past my poor brain.

Robert Brock 10 years, 9 months 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.

SaulGood 10 years, 9 months ago

"Law Firm" - hehe. I hadn't heard that one, maybe I missed it earlier.

I love the honesty and personality of your post, Brock. I have the same concerns about next season.

As long as we're all there to support them...

Joseph Kuebel 10 years, 9 months 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...

Joseph Kuebel 10 years, 9 months 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...

Sam Constance 10 years, 9 months 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.

TommieSmithElbow 10 years, 9 months 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.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months 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.

Scott Smetana 10 years, 9 months 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.

REHawk 10 years, 9 months 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.

phoghawker 10 years, 9 months ago

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

Andrew Dunlap 10 years, 9 months 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.

grayhwk 10 years, 9 months 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.

Kye Clark 10 years, 9 months 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.

Ann Oneill 10 years, 9 months 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.

Vic Janeway 10 years, 9 months 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.

baldwinjhawk 10 years, 9 months 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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