Saturday, October 1, 2011

Beyond the Phog’ excerpt: Tyshawn Taylor on Thomas Robinson

"Beyond the Phog" book.

"Beyond the Phog" book.



Courtesy photo

"Beyond the Phog" book.

The following is the final excerpt on from "Beyond the Phog - Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball's Most Dominant Decade." Compiled by Jason King of Yahoo! Sports and Lawrence Journal-World sportswriter Jesse Newell, the 400-page book includes interviews with 40 players and coaches from the most successful era in Jayhawks history. "Beyond the Phog" is now available in Lawrence and Kansas City area stores. For more information on ordering the book or upcoming book signings (like before and after Saturday's football game at KU Bookstore), check out

In Tyshawn Taylor's words ...


I remember the whole game, in my head, all I’m thinking about is, “How is T-Rob not crying right now?” I’m holding back my tears, because he’s not crying. So I want to cry, but how can I cry if he’s not? And the whole game, this is what I’m thinking about. Of course, I’m thinking about the game and making plays, but in the back of my head, I’m just thinking ... I’m looking at T-Rob. I just keep looking at him, keep looking at him, just to see what’s on his face, how is he feeling, to see if I can read him. And he had a poker face the whole time. Nothing.

I think before the game, what T-Rob said to Coach was, “Coach, I want you to come out here and I want you to coach me. I don’t want anybody to baby me.” I was like, “Damn.” I mean, I probably wouldn’t tell Coach to baby me, but I definitely wouldn’t have said not to baby me. Like, this is kind of crazy how he’s handling this. He’s handled it well.

I don’t think my opinion of Thomas changed; I just kind of feel like I understood him more. I get the kind of person he is. I knew him before, and we were cool. That was my man, of course. But I think that took our relationship from really good friends to like a “brothers” kind of thing. Because now, it’s like we’re the only people T-Rob’s got for real, know what I’m saying? We’re the only ones he’s really, really got and that he can depend on. That meant a lot to me, because if I was in that situation, man, I’m sure he would be worried about me just like I was worried about him. ...


Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

It's been how many months, and we all still feel for the guy? This is your year, TRob, and we're all rooting for you!!! Not just because we, as the Jayhawk Nation, want the Hawks to win, but because, as last weekend illustrated so well, the Jayhawks are "Family".

dylans 10 years, 10 months ago

How many months would you "feel" the loss of your mother? He isn't the one who brought it up. Thomas didn't ask for sympathy, quite the opposite.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I think old age has finally crept up on me.

In re-reading my first sentence I realize now it could be misconstrued. I should have said: We still feel for the guy, even though it's been how many months? It was meant to be a positive statement in favor of continued support of Thomas and his thoughts for his mother.

Sorry, if it is confusing. I should have left the "?" off, even though it would, I think, have been improper English.

Kyle Berthusen 10 years, 10 months ago

This passage tells me how much Tyshawn has grown over the past 3 years. I'm so impressed by his development as a human being that at this point it's all basketball. He's gonna be good this year. Really good guys.

Ian Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree, Kberth. I think he's going to have a terrific season and make most of his detractors forgive and forget the things they've been criticizing him for these past three years.

I also truly believe that he is going to be one of, if not, THE player that will make all the media scum regret overlooking Kansas prior to this season. Everyone, or at least most people, knows about TRob and believes he will be a beast, and I am quite certain he will, barring injury and if he is able to stay out of foul trouble. But I just have some sneaking suspicion that Tyshawn is going to garner this opportunity and flourish in his role as the co-leader of this 2011-2012 team.

The way he finished last season and reading this excerpt lead me to believe that he has genuinely matured both on the court and off, and will hopefully be able to combine the two in a way that will make him a joy to watch on the court and will leave us sad to see him part ways. He always had the athleticism and talent but struggled at times to find harmony between the two, while adding to that his immaturity, and that is what held him back from realizing his true potential. Well not this year. I can feel it. Not this year, Tyshawn. I have faith in you, and I am certain I'm not the only faithful Jayhawk who sees it. Seize the moment, man. Rock Chalk.

lee3022 10 years, 10 months ago

Well said ibrown3. Only Tyshawn knows what is inside and whether he can become consistent and focused throughout every game. Talent is not enough at his position. Now he must be the leader and the playmaker and the team-first player we have seen in glimpses in the past.

I think you are correct in anticipating this to happen for Tyshawn. His future is at stake but more important to him is his team is at stake.

DDDHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Thomas- Jayhawk fans wish you only the best this season, and always, and Tyshawn, thanks so much to you and your teammates for providing him with the emotional support and friendship that he deserves. We all can't wait for the season to start!

KU79 10 years, 10 months ago

Contrast this excerpt versus the one about Giddens. The character and make up of these 2 young men couldn't be much different. Have a great year, Thomas!

KU79 10 years, 10 months ago

Contrast this excerpt versus the one about Giddens. The character and make up of these 2 young men couldn't be much different. Have a great year, Thomas!

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

This book is really a must read. How often do fans get magnified glimpses into such inside stuff? Our team was exhausted and stunned the day of that Texas loss. Just imagine the emotional lockdown which TRob was experiencing. His loss and the subsequent funeral trip was certainly a bonding factor for 2010-11 Jayhawk basketball and the entire fanbase. From what I have gleaned in various offseason write-ups, Thomas and Tyshawn are primed to come out firing on ten cylinders in November. Three and four year players who have stayed the course, they deserve the best. Rock Chalk!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

T-Rob should of played in the legends game as a sign of what he is going to do this year.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Given TRob's abilities, and the high probability of his future in the NBA, he will appear in a future "KU Legends" game. We can all hope that there will be future "Legends" games.

Andrew Bary 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure most of us on the blog remember that night. What a powerful year for the brotherhood of KU.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The book is a major break through in subject matter in sports journalism and a breath of fresh air. The authors should win an award for it...and might.

Snippets of reality are so hard to come by in sports these days, because everyone, players, coaches, ADs, chancellors, and journalists have grown so savvy in media management and the brokerage of access that a book like this is rare.

It may be a one shot deal, too, because the next time everyone will have already begun to develop spin control for such a book.

Eric TheCapn 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't see why anything I've read so far would need "spin control." People like when "celebrities" are human and most athletes are pretty outspoken because they have oodles (that's a scientific measurement, by the way) of confidence. Ahem Jalen Rose. The only thing that would stop it is coaching/administration.

It has been very good reading though! We love you T-Rob and we're excited to watch you tear things up this year.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The culture of spin control in the media does not require anything needing spinning for spinning to occur. The players, coaches, administrators and journalists all speak in a sharply pasteurized and homogenized and media cool language of words and appearance aimed to minimize controversy, even when there is no controversy.

Compare the way ordinary folks post here with how journalists, coaches, players, and administrators speak and write. The difference is not just grammar and punctuation. They are literally speaking a sanitized language intended to take all sharp edges off, and designed to give them the ultimate amount of room to recover from any mistakes, or unforeseen twists in the future. It is a form of jargon as distinct as military jargon, or any professional jargon, for that matter.

It is Sports Newspeak and it is spoken consistently and anyone among the players, the coaches, the administrators, or the journalists, that dares speak candidly and frankly, is quickly hounded back into line.

I am not saying I would not practice the same kind of self-censorship and self-pasteurization if i were in their shoes. I am saying rather that this is what they do and that this book breaks down this pasteurization process somewhat.

The book mostly includes non controversial remarks. But the words spoken are not pasteurized. The players are not saying, "I just want to help the team. I am not thinking about the draft now. I am just thinking about how to help my team." The coaches are not doing their schticks here either. They are not saying, "I know the referees have a very hard job and I am not in a position to judge them." They are not saying, "Coach A really has them playing well. They are a well coached, fundamentally sound team. They are well-prepared."

For the most part, the quotes I have read have been rather free of cliches and the questions asked have elicited from the players and coaches some pretty genuine responses.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

In the everyday business of journalism, we do not hear such an absence of cliches. In everyday journalism, the manifestations of the culture of spin control are ubiquitous. And Sports Speak is ubiquitous and preemptive in nature. it occurs even when the journalist asks nothing controversial at all. Its function is to prevent anything, even the unforeseen faux paux, from upsetting the underlying processes that need to continue undisturbed. Coaches need to coach and not make enemies of other coaches through candor. Players need to play and not create bulletin board material for opposing teams. Journalists need to file their stories on time and in ways that do not invoke the need for extended debate by the editorial rim.. Advertisers need to stay unruffled. And all of this needs to happen because there are so many underlying cash cycles that no one wants disturbed.

So: freshness, and authenticity are sacrificed.

My compliments to the authors of the book for finding a way to inject some freshness and authenticity without upsetting many cash cycles. :-)

KansasComet 10 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like a great book, will definitely buy a copy of it. For anyone that has ever lost a parent at a young age, it's something you never get over. Yes, I am speaking from experience (I was 10). Thomas Robinson came to Kansas to get an education and play a team sport. I am sure losing a parent was the last thing on his mind. It happened, he is dealing with it, as he will have to deal with it for the rest of his life. Time to make new memories and never forget the great ones that he had with his mother. I am sure she was very proud of him. Should would be even more proud, if she knew how he has handled himself since her passing. Thomas Robinson is not perfect, just like those of us that cheer for him, judge him, and criticize him are not perfect either. I am excited for a young man that is definitely one of my all time favorites at KU for his non-stop motor.

lee3022 10 years, 10 months ago

The chapter on Giddens was picked up on with the headline that Self Blacklisted Giddens. The passage released quoted a disgruntled Giddens, failed to mention his frequent violation of team rules and even avoided the circumstances around Gidden's knifing. That one chapter has spoiled the book for me.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

Unless I am missing something all we got on this site was a passage not a chapter. I doubt CBS sports got more than that same passage. I am anxious to see the whole context. With that said why would you let a passage out of context from a book sour you on the entire book? We all got the same impression of Giddens while he was at Kansas. A kid with an extreme sense of entitlement, bad judgment on and off the court and a lack of willingness to do what it takes to get out of the doghouse and get more playing time. I also would be willing to bet that the Giddens and Giles passages taken in context with the surrounding chapters will highlight just how bad these kids screwed up and how they were given every possible chance to succeed at Kansas.

theend 10 years, 10 months ago

The article says a lot about both Tyshawn and T-Rob.......both are maturing into fine young men. Look for them both to have an excellent year.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

With the maturity that has happened on this team and the fact that the "experts" are not favoring us (again) . I am looking forward to this team to take the chip on their shoulders and stuff it, forcing the critics to once again to backpedal.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

Ok, I correct myself. With the maturation that has taken place on this team...

wyattearp2 10 years, 10 months ago

One can sum up KU Basketball as "Basketball beyond Thuglife." Who's gonna get in trouble this season, that's what one has to ask him or herself.....

The truth hurts all the time!

Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 10 months ago

Dear WyattHurltwice-

head on down to wallymart and get yourself a life.

The one you're looking for will be in the clearance bin with the Easter decorations and the lint rollers...


wyattearp2 10 years, 10 months ago

Ralsi, you too add new meaning to the word birdsh*t what a baby jay puss.....can't handle the truth I see. That's too bad....

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 10 months ago

The book is filled with some pretty startling revelations all the way from Sherron hating Carl Henry to CJ Giles and his bad upbringing to Langford getting a girl pregnant and she getting an abortion to Roy very much hating Al Bohl as Bohl wanted to emphasize football more and Roy hating him for it. A very much tell all book

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