LAWRENCE KS - JANUARY 29: Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks pauses for a moment prior to shooting a free throw during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on January 29 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Later on this morning it is expected that Thomas Robinson will declare for the NBA draft drawing his career at Kansas to a final conclusion. It was expected and I don't think you'll find a Kansas fan that isn't thrilled to the core at Thomas Robinson's ability to make the leap to the NBA. Just a little over a year ago Robinson experienced an unbelievably difficult series of events. At that time he leaned on Kansas and I think the last year and a half that both sides have given the other something special.
For Kansas fans it was the kind of ride or journey you see in movies. A player with his back against the wall, facing a situation that is hard to imagine and he finds a way to persevere and become one of the top players in the game. Along the way his entire team seems to adopt his mental toughness and as a group they are able to accomplish more than many would have believed possible.
Now Robinson takes the next step and closes the Kansas chapter of his career, but I think it's safe to say that it will be one that he will remember as much as we as fans will remember it. Robinson has gone from a freshman playing just 7.2 minutes per game to a player of the year caliber performer that led his team to a National runner up finish.
I think the only regret anyone could have is that maybe Robinson could have played more than 14 minutes a game in 2010-2011 and certainly more than six minutes in a season ending loss to VCU. Of course that assumes that you can find more minutes for him on a team that was very deep and very talented.
If you simplify it, Robinson's is a story of a player growing up before our eyes. It's one of the great things about college athletics, but in Robinson's case it was forced in a way that you wouldn't wish upon anyone. He handled it with a maturity and poise that was impressive to say the least and that poise, toughness and determination found its way onto the court on a nightly basis.
Sometime in the future Robinson will return to Allen Fieldhouse to have his number retired. A season like this earns you that place in Kansas history. Hopefully that comes after several successful years in what will be the start of a successful NBA career. And hopefully the team and teams that follow this one will continue to adopt that edge and toughness that made Robinson and this Kansas team such a fun one to watch.