Like a lion skulking in the bushes ready to pounce on his unaware prey, Thomas Robinson realizes that bigger things are ahead. The 6-9 Kansas signee has made literal and figurative leaps during the past year, emerging as an elite prospect last summer after previous obscurity.
Along with that, the Washington D.C. native also made a school change for his senior season. Robinson is suiting up for powerful Brewster Academy program in New Hampshire, and his talents are on display this weekend at the National Prep School Invitational in Kingston, R.I.
Robinson teams with several talented Brewster teammates, including Oklahoma-bound PF Andrew Fitzgerald and promising sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe. But despite his heady company, Robinson understands that prep school is just that — preparation for the next level of basketball.
"Everything I'm doing this year is about next year," Robinson said after his team outlasted Christian Life Academy out of Texas. "I'm having a good year individually and we're winning on a national level, but I'm thinking about next season too."
What's Robinson thinking about?
Development. He recognizes that a seven-point outing such as the one he had on Friday indicates that he still has strides to make in order to make an impact at KU.
"I've got to get my footwork right and just polish all my post moves," Robinson said. "I've been working on hitting the 15-footer too and am trying to improve my free throws. Everything has gotten better so far."
Of course, prior to enrolling in college, Robinson now has to fend off nightly challenges through the rest of the season. A year ago he was unknown nationally, and this year he entered February as a potential McDonald's All-American.
"I'm definitely going up against some guys who are trying to bust me," he said with a laugh. "But I just have to keep playing my game. The good thing is that I have good teammates and they can take pressure off me, and Andrew and I work well together."
Though his numbers have been up and down at national events this season, Robinson has posted solid averages.
"Thomas is averaging 17 points and about 13 rebounds a game," Brewster coach Jason Smith said. "He's also just a really, really good kid."
When Robinson isn't working on his own game, he likes to watch those of his future teammates.
"Pretty much unless we have a game or something, I've watched all the KU games," he said. "I love to watch them play and how they've gotten better. I'm glad that they're ranked again. They're a young team but are playing really well now, and in a year I don't think anyone will be able to touch us."
While an NBA decision awaits big man Cole Aldrich, it's highly likely that Robinson will play at least a year or two with the multi-faced Morris twins. He sees similarities and differences in their games and how he might be utilized in a KU uniform.
"Those guys (twins) are really talented, and I think I can play with all the big guys really well," he said. "I know the coaches see me being able to help playing fullcourt and in the halfcourt, whatever they need me to do to help out. I definitely can rebound and play defense, so I'm just trying to be versatile."