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Blog from New York: It's time to dive into NBA Draft 2012

5:20 p.m. Update:

Closing remarks from today's Big Apple action.

• I really think that Robinson believes he's going No. 2. And I really believe that he thinks he should go there. In reality, he seems to believe that he should go No. 1, but that's not because he doesn't like Anthony Davis. After spending some time around the two this afternoon, it's quite clear that they're good friends and that Robinson has the utmost respect for Davis.

• One other note regarding Davis... People always talk about how skinny he is and how he needs to add weight. That's true, but that's almost entirely on his upper body. His legs are thick and strong and once he adds to his arms and shoulders he could be an absolute force. I believed this about him when I covered UK in New Orleans and I believe it even more now — Davis is a genuinely good dude.

• One of the most impressive players here today was Bradley Beal. So much confidence, so much charisma. The guy's a star in the making, and I'm not surprised at all that he's about to be picked in the Top 3.

• A good chunk of today was spent around three — count 'em, THREE — North Carolina players in John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. All good dudes and all great players. It just reminded me how impressive KU's Elite Eight win over the Tar Heels was.

• Back to Robinson, I really think that he believes his offensive skills are going to shock some people. He obviously is known for his motor and his rebounding and he prides himself on both things. But he says he's worked really hard on his offensive game these past couple of months and he believes he has a ton of potential to be a great offensive player, too. Here's a quote that best sums it up: “I think I’m better offensively than what a lot of people think and I’ve been working very hard on my offensive game. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get triple-teamed during my first year in the league, so I think I’ll have a chance to utilize my abilities.”

• It always comes out at this thing and Robinson did, in fact, field the video game question on Wednesday. When asked what he thought his rating should be on next year's NBA video game, Robinson's answer was classic: “I came off a pretty good college season so I hope they at least give me mid-70s. It doesn’t matter, though, because I’m just gonna edit it anyway.”

That's about it for today. The players will move on to pre-draft meals and more meetings with agents and endorsements and I'll retire to my hotel to bang out tomorrow's story, edit some photos and head out to a fantastic birthday dinner.

Barring some mid-day trades, things won't get going tomorrow until mid-to-late afternoon, but I'll be heading out to the Prudential Center around 4:00 (3:00 CST) to get set up for the evening.

Until then.... thanks for checking out the blog!

2:55 p.m. Update: By Jesse Newell

Here's video of Robinson working with some children at the NBA Fit event near Harlem, N.Y.

Also, here are a few photos from Matt from the event:

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts his hand in a break with children during the NBA Fit event near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts his hand in a break with children during the NBA Fit event near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. by Matt Tait

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson smiles while working with kids during the NBA Fit event near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson smiles while working with kids during the NBA Fit event near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. by Matt Tait

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson takes part in an NBA Fit demonstration near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson takes part in an NBA Fit demonstration near Harlem, New York, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. by Matt Tait

2:24 p.m. Update: By Jesse Newell

Here are some video highlights from Thomas Robinson's interview with reporters today.

2:06 p.m. Update: By Jesse Newell

Here are a few photos from Matt today:

Thomas Robinson speaks to reporters during interviews on Wednesday, June 27, in New York.

Thomas Robinson speaks to reporters during interviews on Wednesday, June 27, in New York. by Matt Tait

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson answers a question during interviews on Wednesday, June 27, in New York.

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson answers a question during interviews on Wednesday, June 27, in New York. by Matt Tait

Thomas Robinson walks through the NBA Draft media room on Wednesday, June 27, in New York.

Thomas Robinson walks through the NBA Draft media room on Wednesday, June 27, in New York. by Matt Tait

12:58 p.m. Update:

Just got done with interviews with Thomas Robinson. He was great. Very loose, very funny, very excited.

I shot a ton of videos of some of Robinson's best answers and Jesse's working hard to get them on the site as I type this. We've had some issues with the site during the past couple of days so bear with us.

Here's a quick recap of what Robinson had to say:

• Which NBA player is he most looking forward to facing off against?
Two answers, here. He first listed Kevin Garnett because he's old school and he admires KG's effort and passion. Next up, he said Amare Stoudemire because he would like to do battle with a guy who has a similar build. Robinson also was asked about being a bulkier forward instead of the taller, more slender guys that seem to dominate the college game today. His answer was priceless: "Hopefully I've got these for something," he said about his muscles.

• On his recent comments about Kentucky center Anthony Davis, the likely No. 1 pick in the draft:
"If you thought I was serious, I was serious. If you thought I was kidding, I was kidding." Robinson did not seem to like the few questions he got about Davis today and chose to take the high road and not answer most of them. He handled himself well in that regard.

• On if being the No. 1 or No. 2 pick matters?
Robinson said he didn't think there was much of a difference between the first and the second pick or the first and the fifth pick. All of the guys in the draft can play and he just wants to be on the right team.

• On his workouts:
Robinson worked out with only three teams — Cleveland, Washington and Charlotte and said two of the three went well and one of them went great. The latter was Charlotte, which owns the No. 2 pick and may very well be looking at taking Robinson there. Robinson said he'd be happy in Charlotte but also added that he had no clue as to what was going to happen. The biggest reason? All of the trades that have happened or could happen. "Our agents don't even know what's going to happen," Robinson said, "So you can imagine how we feel."

• On who will be in the Green Room at Thursday's Draft with him:
His sister Jayla, her father, his agent, his best friend from Washington D.C. and Angel Morris, the mother of Markieff and Marcus Morris, who promised Lisa Robinson, Thomas' late mother, that she would take care of him after Lisa was gone. During the interview session, Angel and Jayla were shopping on 5th Avenue and Robinson said his little sister was handling all of the attention and exposure for her big brother just great because she was loving the shopping. Although they won't be at the table with him, Markieff and Marcus also are in NYC to support Robinson. Both KU coach Bill Self and former KU assistant Danny Manning were unable to make the trip.

Headed over to an NBA Cares event on the west side. Hopefully we'll have the video clips from Robinson's interviews up soon. In addition, I'll try to get some stuff from the club.

Stay tuned for more....

Original post: By Matt Tait

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gives teammate Tyshawn Taylor a hug, at the end of regulation play as the two combined for a total 55 points against Baylor on Monday January 16, 2012 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gives teammate Tyshawn Taylor a hug, at the end of regulation play as the two combined for a total 55 points against Baylor on Monday January 16, 2012 in Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

For the third year in a row, fans of the Kansas University men’s basketball program have a rather compelling reason to tune into the annual NBA Draft — two of them actually.

Although it’s unlikely that former Jayhawks Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor will become the third consecutive pair of former KU stars to be drafted with back-to-back picks — Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry were picked 11th and 12th, respectively in 2010 and twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris went 13th and 14th, respectively last year — it seems safe to say both will be picked.

What’s more, it seems possible — perhaps even likely — that Robinson, a first-team All-American and runner-up in most national player of the year votes, will become the second highest Jayhawk draftee in school history, behind only Danny Manning, who went first in the 1988 draft.

A decade later, the Denver Nuggets picked Raef LaFrentz with the No. 3 pick in the 1998 Draft, and, in 2002, Memphis made Drew Gooden the fourth overall selection.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson makes his way through the hallways of CenturyLink Center as the team prepares for practice on Saturday, March 17, 2012.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson makes his way through the hallways of CenturyLink Center as the team prepares for practice on Saturday, March 17, 2012. by Nick Krug

Robinson, it has been rumored, could go as high as No. 2 to Charlotte, one spot behind Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, who is all but guaranteed to be the top pick.

The way things look today — and, remember, it’s the Draft so things could change A LOT between now and Thursday night — Robinson appears to be the pick for Charlotte as long as the Bobcats keep their selection. If they trade out of it, which is a distinct and increasing possibility, Robinson may drop a couple of spots, but most believe he’ll be at least a Top 5 pick no matter what.

Taylor’s draft prospects are a lot more uncertain, as most scouts and analysts I’ve talked to see him going anywhere between 22 and 42. People seem to be split on whether Taylor is a first-round guy or not and there are even those out there who believe he might not be drafted at all.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor signals "three" after a bucket against Iowa State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor signals "three" after a bucket against Iowa State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

From where I sit, based on who I’ve talked to, that would be nuts. It seems clear that he’ll be picked and my gut tells me it’ll be closer to 30 (on either side) than 40.

Time will tell, but in order to help us get to that point, here’s a quick look at what’s in store for the day. As has been the case during each of the past two drafts, I am on the ground out here in New York and I’ll be spending time with Robinson and Taylor throughout the day.

As a sure-fire lottery pick, Robinson has a lengthy list of NBA-affiliated obligations today, including a media session from 11:30 to 12:30 (central time), an NBA Cares event with a Boys and Girls Club and a rookie initiation hosted by the league. That’s to say nothing about endorsement opportunities that his agent set up and all of the photo and video shoots for draft night and various video games. It’s a crazy day every year and I’ll try to tag along for as much of it as I can.

In addition, I hope to spend some time with Taylor — either in the city or back in his neighborhood in New Jersey — and also have lined up a few interviews with people from Taylor’s past, who watched him grow up dreaming of this moment.

Stay tuned to the blog throughout the day for video clips and photos from the Big Apple. Naturally, I’ll also be live at the draft on Thursday night, blogging the picks and getting Robinson’s reaction right after he’s selected.

I’ll be pounding the pavement and hopping onto trains and into cabs a lot throughout the day, so getting to the computer could be a challenge at times. Jesse Newell will be back at the office helping me get the videos and photos posted to the blog. So be sure to check in often for updates.

In addition, I’ll be using my Twitter account — follow me here — to provide updates while on the go.

As always, it should be a blast of a day and I’m hopeful that it will deliver some great stuff.

Before, we get to it, here’s a quick look at some other notable Jayhawks who were selected in the first round of previous drafts. In all, KU has produced 27 first-round picks, including 11 since 2002: Paul Pierce (10th) in 1998, Kirk Hinrich (7th) and Nick Collison (12th) in 2003, Julian Wright (13th) in 2007, and Brandon Rush (13th) in 2008, along with old-school standouts Clyde Lovellette (9th) in 1952, Wilt Chamberlain in 1958, Wayne Hightower (5th) in 1962, Walt Wesley (6th) in 1966, JoJo White (9th) in 1969, Bud Stallworth (7th) in 1972, Norm Cook (16th) in 1976, and Darnell Valentine (16th) in 1981.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Thomas Robinson get airborn as they celebrate the Jayhawks' 80-67 win over North Carolina to advance to the Final Four on Sunday,  March 25, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Thomas Robinson get airborn as they celebrate the Jayhawks' 80-67 win over North Carolina to advance to the Final Four on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. by Nick Krug

Comments

Hawkshock55 2 years, 5 months ago

I dont see any reason why Tyshawn Taylor is not an early 2nd Rounder if not a late 1st rounder. He has length, blazing speed, and athleticism.

David Leathers 2 years, 5 months ago

He also has ego. That's the biggest problem with Sherron (coupled with his lack of heighth). He failed to realized that the NBA is serious about their weight requirements until now and has paid for it by playing overseas instead of for the Bobcats. Hopefully Taylor's senior year is an indication of his growing maturity and he won't relapse into the star studded PG who fights with his own school's football team (over an impermanant GF, for that matter).

David Leathers 2 years, 5 months ago

I meant, "That's also the biggest problem...."

jhawkrulz 2 years, 5 months ago

You know you can go in and edit your comments now.

Joe Joseph 2 years, 5 months ago

How seriously are the wizards looking at Trob at #3 if he's not taken second? I'm surprised this possibility hasn't received much buzz considering Thomas is originally from DC. Right?

Clarence Haynes 2 years, 5 months ago

Might be difficult for the DC product as the Wizards just acquired Okafor and Ariza from New Orleans and already have a ton of forwards including Seraphin, Booker (Clemson), Singleton (Florida St), and last year's first round pick, Vesely from the Czech Republic. They also have at center NeNe who came to the Wizards from Denver. T-Rob would be great story for DC and the Wizards and from what I read, the ownership and management liked him a lot. Moreover, like T-Rob, I attended KU and Eastern High and would love to see him here. I just feel that they are top heavy at forward and savor Beal to be alongside Wall.

jhawkrulz 2 years, 5 months ago

If the Bobcats don't take him...he'll likely fall to the 4-6 slot.

Kristen Downing 2 years, 5 months ago

Why is Self not going to be there? I got the distinct feeling from previous interviews, Self does not approve of the agent selected. I always think it is great advertising for the school if the coach is there. I guaruntee Slick Calipari will be there.

oldalum 2 years, 5 months ago

I can't imagine that stopping Self. It seems more like he has something he can't get out of, and he trusts the agent to take care of him. Maybe a recruiting date. It's no trick to talk to him or text him from somewhere else. But I agree that it's good if the coach gets a little face time, and that we'll probably see a lot of Calipari's face.

kujaydoc 2 years, 5 months ago

I was wondering the same thing. A head coach being seen and maybe interviewed on national TV after another one of his players becomes a lottery pick seems like a pretty good recruiting tool.

notjustbread 2 years, 5 months ago

Microphone hogging Calipari will likely get more air time than air Jordan did on his draft day.

justinryman 2 years, 5 months ago

Love that Angel Morris is going to be in the green room with Thomas and Jayla.

Also nice to see the twins supporting Thomas as well.

F.O.E.

master16 2 years, 5 months ago

TRob to the Kings would be awesome, but that would be the 5th pick and for some reason I just think he should be top 3. Also him going 5 could mean Barnes goes before him, which would be absurd.

mikehawk 2 years, 5 months ago

If Tyshawn goes late, or isn't drafted, it has to do with their not believing he can hit the NBA three with regularity or when needed. He does not have a pretty stroke. Also, another knock is he isn't the best passer out there. Not yet, anyway.

buckleyhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Would have to think that Taylor's biggest knock is the combo of poor decision-making and not-great-shooting. If he shoot as well as he did and was a great passer/decision-maker, or vice versa (he was a lights out shooter with his current decision-making skills), he would probably be borderline lottery.

And...just because there was no other place to put it, Frankamp getting some pub on si.com:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/frank_burlison/06/26/top-2013-recruits/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_wr_a2

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 5 months ago

So did Brannen Greene...in the same story...

oldalum 2 years, 5 months ago

A lot of sportscasters still say "he turns the ball over too much" which I suspect is because the only game they ever saw him play was that early game against Duke. And they only watched that one because Duke was playing. Now they just parrot that back without ever looking to see if there has been a change.

Ted Toulouse 2 years, 5 months ago

Happy birthday Matt! Mine is tomorrow! Thanks for the great coverage, especially football. Planning on getting out to the WVU game this fall. Hope to see you there.

TKHAWK 2 years, 5 months ago

Awesome bball insight, Matt! Thanks! Request for an article though when you get back from the big apple (no rest for the weary), while you were gone we learned that the NCAA is going to a 4 team playoff system with a selection committee. Now that the domino has fallen, would love your take on things. Does this slow down confernce expansion? Does this mean BigXII more likely to stay at 10? But for tonight, its all bball! Many prayers for Trob and Tyshawn! Jayhawks for life!

Jason Keller 2 years, 5 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor was STOLEN at 41 or whatever it was. Elite PG size, speed and athleticism. A proven winner. Played at a top 3 program and for top 3 coach. So, he tried to do to much at times, jesus. What else do you want in a backup PG?

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