Kansas University basketball signee Thomas Robinson is hoping he’ll be selected for the 2009 McDonald’s All-America game, set for April 1, at the University of Miami (Fla).
“I’ll be disappointed if I don’t (land invitation). I feel I deserve to make it,” the 6-foot-8, 222-pound senior power forward from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., said Wednesday in a phone interview.
“Our league is one of the toughest in the country,” he added of the Lakes Region League. “Whatever happens, but I’d love to play in the game. I’m supposed to find out for sure next week.”
Robinson, who chose KU over Memphis, Texas, Miami and Southern California in the early signing period, averages 18 points and 13 rebounds a game for 19-6 Brewster Academy.
He’s had some monster games, including a 30-point, 20-rebound outing against Marianapolos. He had 15 points, 15 boards and seven blocks in another January victory over Exeter.
Rivals.com’s No. 18-rated player exploded on the national scene on last summer’s AAU circuit. He’s expected to be an immediate impact player for KU next season.
“Thomas is arguably as good a rebounder as there is out there,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He has a motor. If he was here now, he would have the most active motor on the team.”
Robinson missed Brewster’s game on Wednesday night because of what the player called a “minor hand injury.”
KU’s other fall signee, Elijah Johnson, has averaged 15.9 points and 3.9 assists a game for 21-3 Las Vegas Cheyenne High. The 6-foot-2 point guard has battled a minor knee injury this season.
“He’s been checked by the best of doctors. His knee is fine,” Johnson’s dad, Marcus, said of Rivals.com’s No. 27-rated player who chose KU over Oklahoma and Texas.
“If Elijah was here right now and healthy, he’d be our most explosive athlete on the team,” Self said. “He’s been nicked up a bit, but when out there he is something else.
“I don’t want to put pressure on him (but) on his visit (to KU) he put his head above the rim. They say he can do some things athletically we’ve not seen here. He’s probably as good an athlete as we’ve coached since we’ve been here.”
Recruiting analysts, for what it’s worth, have speculated that Robinson and Johnson will not be invited to play in the McDonald’s game.
Rivals.com has listed some names that have reportedly leaked out: Kenny Boynton, Avery Bradley, Dominic Cheek, DeMarcus Cousins, Abdul Gaddy, Keith Gallon, Xavier Henry, John Henson, Wally Judge, Ryan Kelly, Tommy Mason-Griffin, Alex Oriakhi, Dexter Strickland Dante Taylor, Maalik Wayns and David & Travis Wear. In all, 22 players are expected to be invited to play in the game.
“I’m not saying it can’t happen,” Self said when asked about the signees’ chances of making the McDonald’s game on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “Elijah has been hurt off and on all year. His numbers have been good, probably not the sustained success you probably need to get voted in the game. I could be wrong.
“I want all our guys to make it. To me, it’s the most overrated thing in college recruiting in terms of people basing that the guy can play or not because he’s in the McDonald’s game. A lot of times, guys in the McDonald’s game are picked before their senior year starts, from AAU ball.
“Thomas has a little bit of a chance because he’s been healthy all year. It’s never been a big deal to me. I want our kids to experience as much success as possible. I want them to make it. (But) it’s an all-star game. If you are a guard, you get off shots. If you are a big guy you get to take it out (of bounds) a lot.”
Participants have been announced for the Jordan Brand Classic, set for April 18 at Madison Square Garden. They are: Kenny Boynton, Avery Bradley, Dominic Cheek, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Abdul Gaddy, Keith Gallon, Jordan Hamilton, Lamont Jones, Xavier Henry, John Henson, Wally Judge, Tommy Mason-Griffin, Alex Oriakhi, Daniel Orton, Mason Plumlee, Durand Scott, Renardo Sidney, John Wall and Royce White.
Withey ‘long’: A third member of KU’s 2009 recruiting class is Jeff Withey, a 7-foot transfer from the University of Arizona who already has impressed with a nice shooting touch at practice. He’ll be eligible to play at the conclusion of the first semester of the 2009-10 season.
“Jeff is long. He will put on weight,” Self said of the 225-pounder, who was the No. 36-rated player in the Class of 2008. “He has a good frame, can run, jump and has touch, and has things you can’t teach. One is waking up every morning and being 7-foot tall. He will be very good.”
Thompson booted: Future University of Texas player Tristan Thompson has been kicked off the St. Benedict (N.J) High team by coach Dan Hurley, Zagsblog.net reports.
Thompson, a 6-foot-8 junior, was booted “for public insubordination,” Hurley told Zagsblog.
Thompson is the No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2010, according to Rivals.com.
Hurley said Thompson did not follow orders on the court during a recent game.
“That’s the state of basketball,” Hurley told Zagsblog. “The kid came here as an unknown kid with potential and as an intelligent kid who is very likable. The problem in our sport now is that as kids get better and as their ranking rises, the people around these kids ruin them.”