Robinson a preseason All-Big 12 no-brainer

It's rare a player can average less than 15 minutes per game on perhaps the finest college basketball team in the country, and still frequently manage to look like the best player on the floor. But that's Thomas Robinson.

As a sophomore during the 2010-2011 season, the 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward averaged 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, shooting a startling 60-percent from the field, in 14.6 minutes per contest.

If one were to extrapolate Robinson's stats out for a full 40 minutes, he would average 21 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks per game. For comparison's sake, reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Morris' stat line, similarly extrapolated, would read 24 points, 11 rebounds and 1 block per game.

So, yeah, Robinson is really, really good – which is why it should come as a surprise to no one he was one of three players unanimously voted by the league's coaches to the preseason All-Big 12 Team.

"I'm glad the coaches selected me, but this is like the other preseason teams I'm on - based on potential," the junior said, via press release. "I have to prove it during the year."

Joining Robinson on the team are Perry Jones III and Khris Middleton - both unanimous selections - as well as Marcus Denmon and J'Covan Brown.

The 6-foot-11 Jones was also selected as preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, marking the first time in the history of the program a Baylor athlete had received the honor.

One might not want to cast the nameplate for the trophy quite yet, however. Though the team goals come first for Robinson, one of those he set for himself is bringing the hardware back to Lawrence, Kan. for a second-straight year.

"I want to defend our conference title," Robinson said. "Me, personally, I want to keep the Player of the Year trophy here at Kansas where it belongs. Marcus won it last year, and I want to keep it here two years in a row."

Also earning pre-season honors for the Jayhawks is senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor, named among the seven Honorable Mention athletes.

As is the case with Robinson, for Taylor the accolades are well deserved. In 27 minutes per game last season, he averaged 9.25 points, 4.5 assists (With an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.7) and one steal per game.

Most encouraging, however, was his play to close out the season. Following a suspension in late February for an unspecified violation of team rules that saw him miss two games, the 6-foot-3 point guard from Hoboken, N.J. played his best basketball of the year.

The highlight came March 12 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, as the Jayhawks took on the Texas Longhorns for the Big 12 Tournament Championship. Taylor scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and doled out five assists to just two turnovers.

"I'm glad to see Tyshawn on the team," Robinson said. "He's one of the best guards in the Big 12."

Kansas kicks off its season Friday, Oct. 14 with the annual "Late Night in the Phog" festivities. Doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m., with events running from 6:30 to approximately 9:30 p.m.


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