clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

#KU50: 28 Thomas Robinson

New, 2 comments

28 days until Kansas basketball!

Los Angeles Lakers Media Day Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

One of KU's fan favorites, certainly in the time I have been a Kansas fan, Thomas Robinson arrived at Kansas as a very raw 4-star forward. He immediately showed off how much he liked shooting the ball, leading the insanely deep 2010 team in usage rate. He also led the 2011 and 2012 teams in usage rate, but it was much more warranted then.

Robinson burst onto the scene in 2011 when he shot 60 percent on twos and had a 31.1 percent defensive rebounding rate. He committed almost 6 fouls per 40 minutes, but I think it's safe to say one of Bill Self's few coaching errors personnel-wise was not playing Robinson more than 31.6 percent of the team's minutes that year.

We can't talk about 2011, or Robinson in general, without acknowledging the tragedy he went through that season. He lost his grandparents and then his mother in a span of a few weeks, and then he had to deal with how to provide for his then 9-year old sister on top of all of that.

Perhaps I am reading too into things, as Robinson was plenty talented and hard working already, but he seemed determined to be a high draft pick in the 2012 NBA draft as a way to provide for his sister. It was all too fitting that he was the best player in the country that year, scoring 17.7 points per game while taking an insane 30 percent of the shots while he was on the floor.

Despite the heavy workload, Robinson made over half his twos and also shot nearly 70 percent from the free throw line that year. While he was never an exceptional defender (and he didn't really need to be thanks to playing next to Jeff Withey), Robinson was the best defensive rebounder in the country that year, something that gets overlooked when discussing defensive value. Because of that, he led the league in defensive win shares that year (although I definitely think that number flatters him a bit).

Thomas Robinson only ranks 54th in KU's all time scoring list, but frankly that's pretty impressive considering he has just one season of playing more than 15 minutes per game. Robinson drew defensive attention like few KU players ever have, and he was consistently able to score despite that. He helped drag the least deep KU team in ages to the national title game and is still the Big 12 career leader in defensive rebound percentage.

Add in the effort he played with, and it's not hard to see why this fan favorite ranks as high as he does.