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Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Star Thomas Robinson Knows How To Combat Adversity

Thomas Robinson speaking after Kansas' Elite Eight victory

(Photo by flickr user ruralocity)

After sending the remarkably talented Morris twins to the NBA in back-to-back first round lottery picks this past summer, expectations for coach Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks basketball team were lower than usual for the 2011-2012 year. 

Their biggest question mark was at the starting point guard position, as senior Tyshawn Taylor had previously run into trouble off the court and played inconsistently on the court. These concerns made the Jayhawks starting lineup questionable, and even less was expected after sharpshooting walk-on senior Connor Teahan somehow won the job as the team’s sixth man.  

Despite these potential setbacks, Kansas has excelled this year again under Self in part because of the fact that Taylor grew up, but also because of the leadership of junior forward Thomas Robinson, who is such a strong leader because of the many unfortunate happenings that have occurred in his short lifetime. 

Robinson grew up in Washington D.C. and attended Brewster Academy for high school in Wolfeboro, N.H. (along with Naadir Tharpe from Worcester, MA, who is now a freshman at Kansas) before choosing the Jayhawks as the team to take his talents to. 

After growing up without a father, last year during his sophomore season within the span of 25 days both of his grandparents AND his mother died unexpectedly. Because of this upsetting chain of events, Robinson’s younger half-sister Jayla was taken into custody by her father (not Thomas’ biological father), who had just been released from prison after doing four years in prison for drug charges. 

Considering the only person that Thomas has left in his family is Jayla, it is a remarkable feat that he is now considered one of the best college basketball players in the country. He is a 6 ft. 10 in. Man-Beast who moves fluently like a guard and throws players around down low Hercules-style like a center. Throughout 2011-2012, he has averaged 17.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting an astonishing 51.2% from the field. 

A vicious slam from Robinson

(Photo by flickr user rrescot)

A tantalizing force in the paint, Thomas would be more of a shot blocker if it wasn’t for the presence of super-coordinated 7 ft. Center Jeff Withey, who won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award after averaging 3.5 blocks a game throughout his senior season. Robinson himself secured the Big 12 Player of the Year award for 2011-2012, and the combination of these two players gives the Jayhawks both strength and balance down low, considering they both play very different styles of basketball. 

Furthermore, yesterday it was announced that Robinson finished second behind Kentucky center Anthony Davis in the AP National Player of the Year poll. Both have led their teams to Final Four games and may end up meeting in the championship. 

Tonight, though, Robinson clashes with Ohio State Forward Jared Sullinger, an AP National Player of the Year candidate himself until he missed multiple games this year with a foot injury. Tip-off is set for 8:49 PM on CBS. 

Now… Y’all remember Spike Lee’s joint “HE GOT GAME” from 1998? Is it just me or does Mr. Thomas Robinson seem to be a Jesus Shuttlesworth-like character? That is yet to be determined, but I personally have respect for no college basketball player more than him. There aren't many grown men who could carry a load like Thomas is, never mind 21 year old young adults. 


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