Monday, November 14, 2011


Thomas Robinson MVP for KU


In his nine seasons at Kansas University, Bill Self has coached more-polished basketball players than junior post man Thomas Robinson. But has he ever had a player as difficult to replace, as valuable to his team?

Not since Wayne Simien.

Sherron Collins as a junior and senior? Close. Collins broke down defenses with the same relentless spirit the late Joe Frazier took on taller, faster opponents. He opened up scoring opportunities for everybody and gave his team an edge off of which teammates fed. But when Collins sat, Kansas often became a better defensive team.

Brandon Rush? When Rush hit the bench, KU missed him defensively, on the boards, as a scorer, and in transition in both directions. The man never grew tired. But every team on which Rush played had more talent on the wings than this season’s post depth.

Darrell Arthur? He always had Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson to share the load up front and had Julian Wright his first season, Cole Aldrich his second.

Robinson ranks right there with Simien and Collins as the sort of difference-maker who completely changes the team when he’s on the floor.

Even against schools with bigger, thicker, more skilled frontcourts, KU can take comfort in knowing it has the nation’s best rebounder battling for possessions, except when foul trouble forces Robinson to take a seat.

The dropoff in frontcourt production when that happens projects as enormous. Robinson has no peer on the team in terms of rebounding, defending the goal and scoring on the blocks.

Avoiding foul trouble always presents a challenge for an athlete who plays with such passion.

A coach can do only so much to minimize a player’s fouls. One way Self likely will do so is to shelve a staple of recent seasons, big men moving to the perimeter to trap the ballhandler. Blessed with quick-afoot big men, Kansas has been one of the few schools able to execute it consistently in recent years. But it can lead to fouls, and KU can’t risk that with Robinson. Plus, Jeff Withey’s not a player that tactic suits.

Self can give Robinson a quick seat on both sides of media timeouts to reduce fatigue fouls, but the rest is up to Robinson to keep his head, avoid technical fouls and learn how to play defense while staying out of foul trouble. To hear Self explain it, the art has a counter-intuitive element to it in that the earlier and more aggressively a post player defends on a possession, the less chance he has of picking up a foul.

“Thomas is a big key,” Self said before explaining where Robinson fell short defensively in Friday night’s 100-54, season-opening victory against Towson. “Thomas’ man is a pressure release. (The guard) can throw it to him whenever he wants to. He’s going through some things that when he gets two fouls, his idea of playing defense and not fouling is to not guard, when it’s even more important that you play your man before he catches when you get two fouls so he doesn’t put you in jeopardy.”

It’s nothing an eager, athletic talent such as Robinson can’t learn.

“We just have to spend some time and work on that,” Self said. “He wants to do it. He’ll try, but certainly, we’ve got to do a better job with that.”


kusportsdotcom 10 years, 6 months ago

I get a little tired of criticizing Keegan's writing. I don't get some sort of pleasure in doing so...But. First of all, "quick afoot" is not hyphenated. Why does a pro writer not know this?

But more than a stupid grammar/spelling error, the mere title of this article shows his lack of ability. Come on, Thomas Robinson MVP for KU? That's like proclaiming that the sky is blue, and writing an article to support my claim. Of course T-Rob is KU's most valuable player- he's the one guaranteed NBA player on this team. That's the most obvious statement someone can make about this team.

Today's article by Bedore about the Kentucky game is great, and very well written. It's full of quotations, analysis, numbers and stats. Good stuff. Keegan, meanwhile, sits at his computer and passes off an obvious statement as his article for the day.

Again, bagging on Keegan gets old after a while. But it's hard not to sometimes.

John Hunt 10 years, 6 months ago

Yes, it does get very, very old. I wish folks would just comment on the views espoused in the articles instead of attack Keegan every single time.

Brad Avery 10 years, 6 months ago

John Bremner has been dead for several years now. We are now allowed to creatively-punctuate all we want. TRob may be the only NBA candidate on the team, but Tharpe will be its MVP by season end.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 6 months ago

I have a lot of confidence in Naadir as well. I don't think this will be "his team" by the end of this season, but next year he will be the general for the 'Hawks.

ohmixmaster 10 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree here. I'm psyched about Tharpe as well. Granted I'm a bit biased, because I LOVE traditional point guards more than any other position (maybe because thats the position I used to play). But I"m really liking this guy's game. He plays with his head up, passes the ball very well, and has the kind of game that should make him consistent throughout his career. He's not big nor flashy (like I he just gets the job done. We've been missing this for a while, and I'm hoping what I see out of him stays true. Bright future for this young man.

Steve Reigle 10 years, 6 months ago

Are you sure about that? "He is quick afoot" is different from "He is a quick-afoot guy."

It has been many years since my college days so my grammar training is ancient. And my memory is not as strong as it once way. But it sure seems to me Keegan is correct. Perhaps someone with more current grammar training will enlighten.

PhogAdvisory 10 years, 6 months ago

I can't believe I'm getting into a grammar debate on the KUSports forum, but my years of working with both the AP and Chicago Style Guides tells me that Keegs has this one right.

"When adverbs not ending in -ly are used as compound words in front of a noun, hyphenate. When the combination of words is used after the noun, do not hyphenate."

Ex: "The well-known actress accepted her award." (As opposed to "The actress who accepted the award was well known.")

So while "quick-afoot" isn't technically an adverb, I think you'd apply this rule to it. (Unless, of course, kusportsdotcom can cite a different style guide rule to override this, in which case I'll concede the floor to him/her.) Though honestly "quick-afoot" sounds so odd, if I'd been the editor I probably would have changed it to "quick-footed" just to avoid clarity issues.

But hey, it's an op/ed article. Keegs can make up new adjectival phrases if he so chooses, I s'pose.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 6 months ago

Does Keegan write the headlines? Just asking.

Hammertoe 10 years, 6 months ago

And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?

Levi Chronister 10 years, 6 months ago

"quick-afoot" is a compound adjective that does require a hyphen. "(Q)uick-afoot big men" are the Morri, Julian Wright, etc. "(Q)uick afoot big men" are....well...I have no idea, other than maybe a command telling the Morri and Julian to get to their feet rapidly.

Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 6 months ago

FWIW, the reporters do NOT write the headlines in most newsrooms. Coming up with those is the copy editor's job, but there are often suggestions thrown around when it's getting late and brains are fuzzy.

As for TRob, here's hoping that you have a GREAT game and have some FUN in the Garden. You have certainly earned it.

Rock Chalk, Thomas!!

khekhen 10 years, 6 months ago

sherron from 08-09 was a much more of a centerpiece than robinson will be on this year's squad. besides cole(who was a soph that year), collins was the sole scorer on a team that made it to the sweet 16 and almost beat a michigan state squad that made it to the final four.

robinson is no-doubt our biggest star but he has more help in the scoring dept than collins did. tyshawn, ej and releford are going carry the load(they're gonna have to). sherron didn't have the luxury of 3 established perimeter scorers playing alongside him, and most nights pulled miracles out of his arse'. i'll never forget the showdown with willie warren at OU that year. classic!!

HawkKlaw 10 years, 6 months ago

And what about his last game at AF when he masterfully lead KU to victory over KSU? That's the loudest I've ever heard the Fieldhouse get, and I've been going to games for years.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 6 months ago

But he also had some future NBA freshmen on that team to play alongside in Markieff and Marcus. Although rough that year they obviously were talented.

bradynsdad 10 years, 6 months ago

I have a question for some of the older posters. I have been on here a few years but has there always been this many negative fans on here? It seems as though every article posted has far more negative comments about how self can't coach or can't recruit. I know people have their own opinions but if you were a parent to a child and were going to help that child pick a school and got on this website, what would your reaction be? Not saying everyone isn't entitled to a little criticism but look at what self has done here. There was a stat put up the other night that said self in the last five years was the winningest coach and second place was Roy Williams who was fifteen games behind him. I was just curious if there had always been this many negative posters?

Mel Clare 10 years, 6 months ago

I would have to say as a KU fan and over the 50 number in years, that most of the really negative comments about teams, stats, players, Kansas basketball in general are from trolls.......folks who follow and suppost other programs..........they get on here to just stir up comments and controversy, some are knowledgable, some are not..............most just want to stir the pot so to speak.

There are some who are fans and just never seem to be satisfied with anything that happens in recruiting.......i.e. why we did not get this kid? why go after that one? just shows how passionate some people are about KU also shows a lack of understanding how college athletics and recruiting works..........

For instance.............Calipari will have Kentucky on the death penalty in a couple of years and go away to another school (AGAIN) as he has always done. There are coaches and schools that do things the right way and coaches and schools that do it wrong............. and hope not to get caught! Self takes good kids and makes them better within a system. I just dont pay alot of attention to most of the negative comments on here from anyone.

My philosophy...............I woke up breathing.............everything after that I can control myself! ;-)

Joel Hood 10 years, 6 months ago

I think this message board has become more negative than it used to be, but I also think that is more reflective of the frustration KU fans have of the football program and the relative time since the 2008 NC. Most message boards are filled with snarky commenters. The regular LJW message boards are horrible - I always see the same nasty comments from the same posters. It reminds me of cockroaches scurrying from one pile of food on the floor to the next.

Theutus 10 years, 6 months ago

It used to be primarily myself and HEM that were more grounded... Some people claimed we were negative, but in comparison to what you see now we were tame... We just tried to look at things without red and blue blinders on.

That being said, now we have tons of crybabies who must be taking out all of their life frustrations on this board... And you have tons of trolls who turn comments into nothing but childish back and forth, and no admins to ban or delete posts...

I've pretty much quit commenting here because it's become such a middle school playground.

REHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Cockroaches scurrying: that is a terrific analogy! Actually, I have grown amused at a couple of our persistent contrarians who pop off almost daily with featherweight jabs which rarely advance beyond a forearm block. Bill Self runs such a quality program, and has posted such resoundingly splendid stats that anyone with at least 70% brain function can recognize that he is and has been one of the 3 or 4 best recruiters and coaches in Div. I ball throughout his head coaching career. There is absolutely no other coach in the nation that most faithful Jayhawk fans would rather see on the Jayhawk throne. Bill Self must wear flame retardant skivvies to protect himself from the wayward bashers who attempt to place him on the hotseat. Idiots....

Alohahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

+1 Marvelous. Everyone has the right to criticize, if there is a true basis for it. However, Self's consistent results have overshadowed what little, if any, that some may feel is worth criticizing. "The truth is in the pudding", as the old saying goes.

Kristen Downing 10 years, 6 months ago

I enjoy the Kentucky trolls. Those who whine the most, are usually the most insecure. I am actually missing them today...

FSUJHAWK 10 years, 6 months ago

Actually, TR is the most outstanding player whereas JW, KY and company will be the most valuable.

BTW, no love for KU coming from the brainiacs at ESPN; seems like yUKKK is the best thing since slice bread.


Alohahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

You voiced the one main disagreement I had about this thread. Yes, TRob is outstanding and is very valuable to this team, but if you remove just about any of seven or eight of his teammates (because KU's bench is so thin), the Jayhawks would have a much more difficult time of it. Basketball is a team sport and, this year more than ever, KU is going to need every available body, making every player valuable in their own right. I think TRob would also agree.

missmagoo 10 years, 6 months ago

Sherron Collins is a d0ucher. T-Rob has more integrity in one finger than SC did in his whole body. That is all.

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