Kansas University junior Thomas Robinson on Thursday was named to the five-player preseason All-Big 12 men’s basketball team.
Robinson, a power forward from Washington D.C., was one of three players chosen by all nine opposing coaches. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players. Baylor’s Perry Jones III, the preseason player of the year, and Texas A&M’s Khris Middleton were also unanimous picks, joining Missouri’s Marcus Denmon and Texas’ J’Covan Brown.
KU’s Tyshawn Taylor was named honorable mention, with Baylor’s Quincy Acy, Iowa State’s Chris Allen and Royce White, MU’s Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe and Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash. Bowers is out for the year because of a torn ACL. Nash was named freshman of the year and White newcomer of the year.
“I’m glad the coaches selected me, but this is like the other preseason teams I’m on, based on potential,” Robinson said. “I have to prove it during the year. I’m glad to see Tyshawn on the team. He’s one of the best guards in the Big 12. We’re winding up Boot Camp and looking forward to Late Night (in the Phog) and the season starting.”
Robinson, who is officially being listed as 6-foot-10, 237 pounds this year — up an inch from last year — averaged 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 33 games his junior campaign.
“I don’t even know my potential yet. I know my ceiling is very high,” Robinson said. “I feel yet that I am still not half the player I can become. I have not shown half my game that I can show. There is a lot more to come. I do see my potential coming this year.”
What is that potential?
“It’s what I am working on right now, so I guess we’ll see in four weeks,” he added with a laugh.
Preseason Player of the Year
Perry Jones III, Baylor
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Royce White, Iowa State
Preseason Freshman of the Year
LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
2011-12 Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Perry Jones III, Baylor
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Marcus Denmon, Missouri
J'Covan Brown, Texas
Khris Middleton, Texas A&M
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school): Quincy Acy, Baylor; Chris Allen & Royce White, Iowa State; Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas; Laurence Bowers & Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri; LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
Boot Camp is over: KU’s two-week Boot Camp conditioning program concluded Thursday morning.
The Jayhawk players, shortly before 7 a.m., finished with 25 to 30 “suicide sprints.”
A “suicide” drill involves players starting at the backline, then running to the free-throw line and back, halfcourt and back, three-quarter court and back and fullcourt and back in a certain amount of time.
“It’s tough. No matter what shape you are in, it’s tough to run that many of anything,” KU senior Tyshawn Taylor said Thursday. “You look to the left and look to the right and guys are running ... you can’t be the one to miss. You can’t be the one to stop. Everybody pushed through it. I think it was a good Boot Camp.”
Taylor was asked to pinpoint some individual player highlights.
“I think Travis (Releford) is in great shape. He runs really well,” Taylor said. “Conner (Teahan) is another in really good shape. He runs well. I was really impressed with (7-footer) Jeff Withey. He wasn’t the fastest guy, but made most of his times. He kept up with everybody. Kevin Young is a crazy, crazy athlete. He runs, runs, runs. He told me he used to run cross country. He’d start out jogging then finish up sprinting when everybody else would start by sprinting. He won most of them (sprints) doing that. I guess it worked for him.”
Taylor won his share of sprints as well. Tyrel Reed had dominated Boot Camp sprints the previous four years.
“I don’t think he lost one,” Taylor said. “I think I ran well. Overall I think Boot Camp helped our chemistry. We still have a long way to go, though. At Boot Camp, you depend on each other. Coach will tell us we’ve got to make this sprint in 18 seconds. You have to depend on a person they will make their time just like in a big game you need somebody to get a stop. If I get beat, I have to depend on somebody to be out there. We have a long way to go, but Boot Camp is the first step in doing that.”
The Jayhawks will taper until the official start of the season — Late Night in the Phog a week from tonight in Allen.
“It’s going to feel good to finally sleep in on Friday,” Taylor said.
Recruiting: Karviar Shepherd, a 6-9 junior center from Grace Prep High in Arlington, Texas, and Jordan Mickey, a 6-7 junior forward from the same school, will attend Late Night on unofficial recruiting visits, jayhawkslant.com reports. Shepherd, the No. 71-rated player in the Class of 2013, has a list of KU, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU, Mickey, who is ranked No. 75, has a list of KU, Baylor, Kentucky, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others.
More Mizzou talk: KU coach Bill Self made the rounds on Kansas City radio stations 610 and 810 on Thursday with the main topic continuing to be Missouri possibly leaving the Big 12, which he addressed in Wednesday’s Journal-World.
“The way I see it now, if Missouri leaves there will be a feel of instability because that’s all anybody will talk about,” Self said. “I really think our league is good,” he added a couple hours before good news came that TCU had been extended an invitation to join the league, an offer that figures to be accepted according to ESPN. “If we were to go get two more right now and not knowing what Missouri is going to do, there would be the appearance of stability. It would be because we have numbers. We have the ability to do that. We are in better shape as a league than we were three weeks ago. Three weeks ago I was worried. I said I wasn’t, but I was. I am still concerned, but I still feel we are going to be OK, the league will be around a long time.”
He indicated nine remains an ideal number of teams because of scheduling in football and basketball, but he understands why the league would want to grow to 10 or 12 because of the appearance there is strength in numbers.