Former Kansas University point guard Russell Robinson, who played professional basketball in Barcelona last year, is off to Paris for the 2011-12 season.
“It’ll be pretty hard to top that, but from what I hear, Paris is pretty fun, too,” Robinson said Thursday night from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. He was preparing to board a flight to France, where he’ll be playing for JSF Nanterre this season.
“France is a good league, probably right behind Spain. It’s very, very competitive. It’s going to be a good challenge. I’m looking forward to it,” added Robinson, who has signed a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound New York native averaged 9.6 points and 2.8 assists per game for DKV Joventut Badalona in 2010-11.
“The market is funny this year with all the NBA players checking out jobs. You take what is available at the time. This job is definitely the best one,” said Robinson.
The starting point guard on KU’s 2008 NCAA title team had planned on battling for a spot in the NBA this season. The lockout, however, could wipe out the entire 2011-12 NBA campaign.
“Obviously I want to be in the U.S., if there’s any chance to be in the U.S.,” said the 25-year-old Robinson. “I thought this year was a good year to give it a shot. I went to Charlotte and had a good time there (working out with Bobcats prior to start of lockout on July 1). I would have definitely gone to training camp if there was no lockout. It would have been exciting. It didn’t happen. I’ve got to go on. I’m happy with my decision.”
The team is happy to have him.
“He is a very good defender and can score,” coach Pascal Donnadieu said on the JSF Nanterre team website. “He can change the positions 1 and 2 (point and shooting guard) no difference. I expect him to be a leader as he has always on his previous teams.”
Robinson plans on being a true floor leader as his team makes the jump from France’s B League to A Division.
“They’ve got a lot to prove. It’s a young team,” he said. “I can go in and run a team and do what I have to do.”
Robinson doesn’t figure to return to Lawrence anytime soon with his pro season lasting until May 2012.
“I ran into at least five or six Jayhawks today in New York. All the support at KU ... I miss it so much,” he said. “I’ll be back there as soon as I can.”
Lewis a fan of Robinson: Isaiah Lewis, a 6-3, 160-pound junior point guard from Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Christ the King High, tells jayhawkslant.com he looks up to former New York Rice High standout Robinson.
“I’ve talked to Russell a lot about Kansas,” said Lewis, who will attend the Oct. 14 Late Night in the Phog on an unofficial visit. “I’ve known Russell for a long time. I first met Russell back when he played for the New York Gauchos, and I’d go watch him play when I was a little younger and I wasn’t playing AAU yet. He’s really been like a big brother to me.”
Lewis, who is ranked No. 43 in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com, has received scholarship offers from KU, Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Oregon State, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He’s also heard from Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan State.