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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Apple of their eye

Robinson enjoys fans' Bronx cheer

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THE PREGAME INTRODUCTION OF KANSAS UNIVERSITY JUNIOR GUARD RUSSELL ROBINSON before home games has become the latest tradition to catch the fancy of KU fans while watching a game inside Allen Fieldhouse.

"And at guard, from New York, New York, No. 3, Russell Robinson!"

Kansas University basketball public address announcer Hank Booth always saves the best pre-game player introduction for last at Jayhawk home games.

In what has become a tradition, the long-time Lawrence radio personality with the booming voice bellows the first "New York" during Robinson's entrance, 16,300 fans the second, in one of the most creative displays of audience participation in college sports arenas today.

"I love that they do it. I appreciate it. It definitely gets me ready for every game," said Robinson, a 6-foot-1 junior guard from The Bronx, who has grown fond of the personalized 'intro.'

"I wouldn't call it goosebumps, but I have gotten very excited to the point I feel like crying, maybe. It's one of those 'happy tears' kind of things," he added, noting he's looking forward to hearing it again before today's 8 p.m. tip against Texas A&M; and more importantly, his parents experiencing it for the first time prior to the Texas game on March 3.

"It's good to be part of a new tradition. It's an honor for me for something like that to happen. I'm just thankful I've got something like that going on."

Robinson can't remember the exact game the fans started joining in with Booth, play-by-play announcer of Lawrence High football games the past several decades.

"There's been heavy emphasis on the 'New York' from the very beginning," Booth said of his impromptu introduction of Robinson, who started 32 games his sophomore year and 22 this season.

"When did the crowd start saying it? I'd say the start of the Big 12 season last year. I decided to lower my voice one game. They roared and I never had to say a second 'New York' again."

Audio clips

2006-07 Jan. 31 KU hoops presser

Booth said it's fitting the crowd does something special for Robinson, who coach Bill Self has called the "heart and soul" of the KU team.

"The classiest thing I ever heard from a player, and I've heard a lot of classy things, is when Russell Robinson made the comment he wouldn't 'get in it' with another player - he wouldn't argue with somebody (Iowa State's Curtis Stinson) because it would set a bad example for younger players. I thought it was impressive he realizes he has an influence on young people," Booth said.

Just as 16,300 who chant his hometown have an influence on him.

"I think this is the fans' way of showing their appreciation for me, so I don't take it for granted," Robinson said.

Many fans figured he would pack up and return to New York after a stormy freshman season in which, after a quick start, he scored just one point while playing mop-up minutes in KU's final 17 games.

"Hopefully I can hear it a lot more," Robinson said.

Robinson's teammates believe the former Rice High standout appreciates the attention.

"Russell is pretty quiet. He never has said anything about it, but you can tell it gets him pumped up," junior Jeremy Case said. "I think it's just because New York is a hard place to grow up. He relates to it. He's proud to be from there and to make it out of New York, I guess."

The soft-spoken Robinson, who usually leads by example, can't hide his enthusiasm during introductions.

Nor can his teammates.

"It's good that he's the last starter called. It's how it's been. We're used to it. It's how it should be. It would be kind of weird if he wasn't last," sophomore Julian Wright said. "He runs into the circle and gets all fired up. We know we can look to him for a spark. It's really nice.

"He's a big-city guy out here in Lawrence. He's become a good player out here. It's different, but he's made the adjustment and everybody respects that."

Bob Cousy Award finalist Robinson - he scored a career-high 24 points in an 83-73 win over the Aggies last January in College Station, Texas - figures to play a key role today if the No. 6 Jayhawks (19-3 overall, 6-1 Big 12) are to knock off No. 10 A&M; (18-3, 6-1).

He'll be matched against high-scoring point guard Acie Law, a 6-3 senior who averages 16.6 points and 4.9 assists compared to Robinson's 6.7 points and 4.6 assists.

"Acie is a great guard; a senior. He has nothing to lose. It's his last time in the fieldhouse," Robinson said. "I'm pretty sure he'll come out aggressive, his team as well."

Law has 98 assists to 55 turnovers; Robinson 101 assists, 40 bobbles.

"He's quick, their No. 1 option," Robinson said. "He has the green light (21 of 48 threes for 43.8 percent, compared to Robinson's 15 of 45 for 33.3). We've got to be ready."

If Booth's and the fans' vocal chords hold out ... rest assured Robinson will be ready.

"They have a great team, even better than last year. We have to come out with the right mindset and be ready to go," Robinson declared.

Comments

Jonathan Andrews 15 years, 3 months ago

Hats off to Russ for surviving the storm. Self always said you are a worker, and we need that "hardhat" attitude tonight!

betsy 15 years, 3 months ago

I really admire you, Russ Rob! So glad you're here.

GIHAWK 15 years, 3 months ago

I like the fact he is very grateful about his college playing days...When I was a kid I always dreamed about being introduced in AFH by the late Jim Gillespie. Take it all in Russ, because it will be over before you know it.

CasperCorps 15 years, 3 months ago

It was awesome the first time I heard his intro and any time Robinson has a good game we win. Rockem Hawks..

skragglydoo 15 years, 3 months ago

did i miss something here? yeah, it's great and all but how is this chant the one of the most creative audience participations in the nation? i mean, aren't we just shouting with the announcer? i like it, but i don't get why i hear time and time again how amazing it is.

Seth Peattie 15 years, 3 months ago

"i mean, aren't we just shouting with the announcer?"

  • skragglydoo February 3, 2007.

Joe Ross 15 years, 3 months ago

skraggly...

No offense intended, but uh...you must not be from Kansas.

lawrencefan 15 years, 3 months ago

KU and KU fans are so fortunate to have an outstanding student-athelete like Russell Robinson. I can appreciate his expression of emotion when he says he feels those happy tears hearing the crowd acknowledge his hometown. I can just imagine the chills he must get. What a high for him. Thank you for making KU your second home. Best of luck against a great competitor tonight. We know you will give it all you have.

beebe1 15 years, 3 months ago

Good for Robinson! Also good for the Rock Chalk -- that was famous in 1917 and has grown ever since. Have to admit that as an old timer, I like a little of the old one, where the tone dropped on "U". Hey, it has to be good, no matter what!

truefan 15 years, 3 months ago

I think we started the New York chant after he stepped up and became known as one of the best deffensive guards in the nation. Just as much as we like to see our team score, we like to see the other team not score. Notice we cheer for offense and defense which at other colleges is just unheard of. We need guys like Russ and his defense has made him a fan favorite.

DerekR25 15 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, I'd definitely have to say that Robinson is my favorite player. Don't get me wrong, I love the whole team. Everyone has something special about them that I love, but to me Russell has just played his way to my heart. He has the attitude, the class, the work all without the glamour, flashing lights or hype. I guess it's been that way with me for all the "underrated" KU guards in recent memory. From Russell to Aaron to Jaque. Each has been one of my more favorite players on their respective teams.
And skragglydoo, just the overall meaning of the announcement to Robinson makes it that special and that awesome. Not to mention that it's another way for KU fans to show how much they love their boys on the court and to show that they're the best fans in the world to play for. Rock Chalk!!!

By the way, did anyone see the A&M fan in the crowd for Gameday this morning? Who let that idiot in there? I thought it was kind of ironic to see him in there after the piece Kenny Mayne did on the Duke UNC rivalry and those UNC students who posed as Duke fans to get into the student section for the UNC-Duke game last year.

landon_2003 15 years, 3 months ago

anyone can go to it....but i guess it's suicide if they actually show their colors with all the jayhawks there.

goldlighting 15 years, 3 months ago

Everybody in Allen Fieldshouse knew to take Kaun out of the game, EXCEPT SELF! Kaun is another Chenowith and I for one cannot wait until he is gone!

skragglydoo 15 years, 3 months ago

why would i be offended if i werent from KS? is it a 'hey a guy from nyc lives in ks!' thing? okay, after that comment i realize there is no way i will ever understand why you all think it is so awesome.

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