Robinson exceeding expectations

Thomas Robinson entered the 2011-2012 season with expectations that touched the sky. Through the non-conference portion of the schedule, however, the Kansas Jayhawks star isn't just meeting them, he's exceeding them - and staking his claim as one of the truly elite big men in all of college basketball.

Monday, the Big 12 announced that Thomas Robinson had been selected as the conference's Player of the Week.

Ho hum.

That may seem a cavalier response to what is an unquestionably impressive honor, but the truth is Robinson is already making it seem routine - having claimed the award three times this season. This most recent achievement comes as little surprise, considering the 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward put up career highs in Saturday's victory over North Dakota - a 30 point, 21 rebound effort.

"He played great," said Head Coach Bill Self afterward. "He is unselfish, and he didn't force one shot. He passed the ball and should have had six or seven assists, because we shot the ball so bad today. Still, he was so good, he went after the ball."

Robinson entered the year with expectations that touched the sky. The departure of the Morris Twins for the NBA Draft meant the spotlight would shine brightest upon him during the 2011-2012 season for Self's squad, and a summer packed full of rave reviews from summer camps only intensified its luminance.

Here's the crazy thing though. Thus far, Robinson may actually be exceeding those expectations.

He's turned himself into a double-double machine, averaging 17.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. As a rebounder, particularly a defensive rebounder, he ranks as one of the most prolific in the sport - second nationally overall, and first on the defensive glass.

And he's played some of his best basketball against the toughest competition the Jayhawks have faced to date. Twenty points and 12 rebounds versus Georgetown. Fifteen points and 10 rebounds versus UCLA. Sixteen points and 12 rebounds versus Duke, and 21 points and seven rebounds versus Ohio State.

Though the other four positions on the court have yet to establish consistency, Robinson has been a rock, and made himself a legitimate candidate not just for Big 12 Player of the Year - but National Player of the Year.

As the Jayhawks head in to conference play, his numbers stack up favorably against many of the other elite big men in the country. Here's a cursory look at how he compares to Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones, Baylor's Perry Jones III and North Carolina's John Henson.


PPG: 17.7

RPG: 12.1

Blocks Per Game: 1.1

Assists Per Game: 1.8


PPG: 16.2

RPG: 9.54

BPG: 0.9

APG: 1.2


PPG: 12.1

RPG: 10.2

BPG: 4.4

APG: 0.9

T. Jones

PPG: 11.3

RPG: 6.6

BPG: 1.9

APG: 1.5

P. Jones

PPG: 13.4

RPG: 6.8

BPG: 0.9

APG: 1.1


PPG: 15

RPG: 10

BPG: 3.2

APG: 1.5

Among that group, all of whom are virtual locks to be selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Robinson is the leader in points, rebounds and assists per game.

Sure, it's an imperfect analysis. There are so many other factors to consider. For one, of the listed players Robinson is almost inarguably the single most important to his team's success. Henson, for example, has Tyler Zeller in the post alongside him. Davis and Jones have each other in Lexington, Ken., and one wonders what their numbers would be individually if they weren't sharing the spotlight - and the shots.

Robinson is also the second least efficient, shooting 52.8 perfect from the floor. Only Terrence Jones shoots a lower percentage, at 44.5.

There's another side to that coin, however. While his peers have the luxury of other high-level talent and experience to draw away defenders, Robinson is fighting through double - and some times triple - teams every single night.

Bottom line? Kansas has played a schedule as tough as any in the country among the Top 25, and Robinson is producing at a level likely beyond that all but the most optimistic Kansas fan could have predicted.

Prior to the season, he was asked to shoulder the load. Thus far, he's not only doing so - he's taking on more than his share. And with conference play firing up Wednesday - a match-up with Kansas State - this is good news for the Jayhawks indeed. Top Stories