Archive for Monday, April 19, 2004

New York prep still committed to Jayhawks

April 19, 2004


Russell Robinson remains firmly committed to Kansas University.

"I'm happy with my decision," the 6-foot-2, 187-pound Rice (N.Y.) High combo guard told the Journal-World on Sunday night.

He assured KU fans he would be in Lawrence for summer school despite the fact associate head coach Norm Roberts, who was key in recruiting Robinson, now is head coach at St. John's -- a school located in Robinson's backyard.

"It will make my adjustment to Lawrence a little more difficult," Robinson said. "I don't have anybody to relate to like coach Roberts. But, if anything, I'm even more excited now because I know I've really got to go out there and be ready to adjust to the whole Lawrence situation. It's not New York City."

Robinson, who averaged 22 points and eight rebounds a game last year for Rice High, was in France last week helping his New York Gauchos AAU team win an international tournament when Roberts was introduced as St. John's coach.

"Coach (Bill) Self had told me it was a possibility," Robinson said of KU losing Roberts. "I got back and found out about it. Coach Roberts did the best thing for his family. He deserves it. I'm happy for him."

He's not jealous of Roberts, however.

"That program is nowhere where it's supposed to be right now," Robinson said. "I'm going to Kansas looking to try and win a national title."

Robinson roomed with a fellow KU signee -- Alexander Kaun -- last week in College Park, Md., where the two played in the Jordan Capital Classic all-star game. Robinson scored two points off 1-of-2 shooting with five assists and three steals while playing 18 minutes for the winning team.

The 6-foot-11 Kaun didn't attempt a shot. He had a rebound and foul in nine minutes for the losing team.

"He's cool," Robinson said of Kaun. "I look forward to us being teammates at Kansas."

Malik Hairston -- an unsigned 6-foot-5 guard from Detroit, who is considering KU, UCLA, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon -- was a teammate of Robinson's at the Classic. Hairston scored 23 points off 6-of-12 shooting and had five rebounds.

"Malik had a great game," Robinson said. "Basically our coach wanted us to run stuff for Dwight (Howard, 18 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks). That's what I tried to do.

"I tried to every chance I'd get to put a bug in Malik's ear about coming to Kansas," he added. "He'll pretty much make up his own mind. I think he's confused right now. I think he'll wait until the end (of the monthlong signing period, which runs until May 7)."

One recruiting analyst says Hairston might be considering a jump to the NBA.

"I got the impression the NBA is not in question," Robinson said. "I think he's looking for the right school."

Robinson said he was surprised at KU freshman David Padgett's recent decision to transfer but not about decisions to leave by Omar Wilkes and Moulaye Niang.

"Omar and Moulaye ... I figured they'd not get much playing time. Padgett came to me as a surprise, but coach Self will bring in some players next year, so I don't think it'll be much of a problem," Robinson said.

After all, juniors Wayne Simien, Keith Langford, Aaron Miles and Michael Lee all are returning.

"I know those guys really want to win it," Robinson said. "That'd be great for me, to come in and win one my freshman year. It'd do a lot for my confidence.

"I think it says a lot Wayne is staying to get his degree and things like that. It shows the type of person he is. He'll be an NBA player eventually."

Robinson said he'd be ready to play both at point guard and shooting guard. He's known as a productive three-point bomber.

"Coach said he'd put me at the (Nos.) 1 and 2 (positions -- point and shooting guard) and try to relieve some pressure off Aaron and also put some points on the board," Robinson said.

He added he's eager to arrive June 5 in Lawrence and start lifting weights and playing pick-up ball while attending summer school.

"I will try to put on some weight," he said, "basically gain strength more than anything else."

Robinson went to the hospital several times last winter for nausea before the source of the problem -- a gas leak in his apartment stove -- was diagnosed.

"It was tough. I was just happy it wasn't carbon monoxide (poisoning)," Robinson said "For a while I thought it was just me, that I was out of shape or something. My mother is the one who sensed it. Nobody else in my house plays sports or anything. They had a little drowsiness, but didn't notice anything. I noticed it when playing basketball."

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