Thomas Robinson’s powerful, one-handed slam dunk off an alley-oop feed from Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine highlighted play at last weekend’s Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy in Chicago.
“I mean, the whole gym went crazy after the dunk,” Robinson, Kansas University’s 6-foot-10, 240-pound junior power forward from Washington, D.C., said Tuesday in Allen Fieldhouse.
He echoed comments of ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan, who said Robinson’s jam “caused plenty of stone-faced NBA scouts in attendance to cast each other knowingly excited glances.”
Robinson — he worked as a counselor at the camp for high school big men with Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, North Carolina’s James McAdoo, Duke’s Mason and Miles Plumlee and others — admits the dunk resembled last year’s acrobatic, one-handed jam against Arizona in the Las Vegas Invitational.
“I think that one was better,” Robinson said of the ’Zona dunk, “but this one was off one foot.”
Robinson — he will also attend the upcoming LeBron James and Adidas Nations camps — said the Stoudemire experience proved valuable.
“I think I kind of showed more people that I’m more versatile with my offensive game. I drove the ball to the basket a lot at the camp,” Robinson said. “I know what I can do. It’s just me using these camps to show other people.”
As far as other big men ... “Sullinger is Sullinger. He can perform,” Robinson said. “Really, the player who stood out to me was Alex Oriakhi from UConn. Obviously Anthony Davis is good. Once he gets more weight on him, he’s going to be a really good player,” Robinson added of the 6-10, 215-pound Kentucky Wildcat.
The high school crop of big men included KU targets Willie Cauley, Landen Lucas, Mitch McGary, Julius Randle and Robert Upshaw.
“They were real good,” Robinson said of the preps. “Bigs are changing more now. They are becoming more versatile and able to do multiple things.”
There were hordes of NBA scouts at the Amar’e camp held just days after the 2011 NBA Draft.
“Watching the draft was different than watching it in other years because I felt I could have been in it,” said Robinson. He briefly considered leaving KU after two seasons, dismissing those thoughts in an attempt to expand and improve on his game in preparation for the next level.
“I’m pretty biased when it comes to my teammates — Marcus and Markieff (Morris) — I felt they should have gone earlier in the draft. Not many players are better than they are. Of course I’m proud of them.”
Markieff was picked No. 13 overall by Phoenix and Marcus No. 14 by Houston. Draftexpress.com currently has Robinson listed as the No. 16 overall pick in the 2012 Draft.
Before all that, Robinson is intent on having a stellar junior season.
He was asked if his goal is to be an All-American?
“Yes. I won’t settle for anything else,” said Robinson, who has been playing against the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Cole Aldrich in pick-up games and is enthused about working out with former KU center Sasha Kaun, who will be in town the next few weeks following his return from Russia, where he plays pro ball.
“Of course I think expectations will be high for me. I try to put my expectations higher than anybody else so that way I know that I won’t fail for our fans or coach (Bill) Self or my teammates. I want to be the player of the year this year. I won’t try to settle for anything less than that,” Robinson said.
Recruiting: Christian Sanders, a 6-foot-2 senior-to-be from St. Thomas High School in Houston, will make an unofficial recruiting visit to KU on Thursday, ESPN’s Dave Telep reports. He has visited Stanford and also has Maryland, Texas and Colorado on his early list. He’s son of former KU guard Brad Sanders ...
Former Vanderbilt forward Andre Walker visited Wichita State on Monday and Tuesday. It is believed the 6-foot-7 Walker, who is also considering Xavier and Marquette, will not be visiting KU after all. His dad had said earlier this week a trip to KU was in the works.