Former Kansas University basketball All-American Dave Robisch, who attended practice on Friday and the Jayhawks’ 83-50 home rout of Texas Tech on Saturday, definitely likes what he’s seen out of the 2011-12 squad.
“I think they are playing really well. Of course, Thomas is playing great,” Robisch, a KU standout from 1969 to 1971, said of junior forward Thomas Robinson, who scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished a career-high five assists against four turnovers in just 24 minutes.
“It’s good to see the improvement of Withey in the middle,” he added of junior center Jeff Withey, who, after scoring 61 points and grabbing 36 rebounds in the past three games, went for nine points and eight boards with four blocks and a batch of altered shots in 28 minutes.
“And Tyshawn is playing great,” Robisch gushed of senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who scored in single digits for the first time in 12 games, going for nine points, four assists and four turnovers in 27 minutes against the outmanned Raiders. “I’m really excited the way they are playing.”
The former NBA/ABA power forward had considered the possibility KU (22-5, 12-2) might overlook Tech (8-18, 1-13).
“I was concerned actually coming in that they might come out flat, but they didn’t come out flat,” Robisch said of the Jayhawks, who hit their first six shots and raced to a 44-22 halftime lead. “They played really well, which gave some guys an opportunity to play. Young (Kevin, 10 points, 17 minutes) came in and played well. Teahan (Conner, 11 points) hit some (three) threes. It was good for some of those guys to get some confidence.”
Robisch, 62, who lives in Springfield, Ill., is thrilled the Jayhawks are tied for first place in the league (with 12-2 Missouri) with four games to play.
“Coming in, with the players they lost, everybody was a little uncertain of what would happen,” Robisch said. “They’ve really started to play well. Coach (Bill Self) does a good job getting them to improve as the season goes on. Withey is a big key. He has come on strong. Last year he didn’t get to play much. Thomas didn’t get to play much. Those guys have come on and are playing great.”
More on milestone: KU’s victory over Texas Tech marked the Jayhawks’ 1,000th conference victory against 396 defeats spanning 114 seasons. No other team in the U.S. has reached 1,000 victories in league play. Kentucky is second at 962.
Here are other Big 12 teams’ marks in conference play: Texas, 822-529 in 106 seasons; Missouri, 760-634 in 106 seasons; Kansas State, 695-633 in 108 seasons; Oklahoma, 695-549 in 105 seasons; Oklahoma State, 675-498 in 103 seasons; Texas A&M;, 656-709 in 100 seasons; Texas Tech, 621-494 in 87 seasons; Baylor, 563-819 in 106 seasons; Iowa State, 549-804 in 105 seasons. KU has won a nation’s best 54 conference titles.
Woodard’s visit: Jordan Woodard, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior point guard from Edmond (Okla.) Memorial High, who attended Saturday’s game, has received scholarship offers from Memphis, Oklahoma and San Francisco, according to Rivals.com. He also has received interest from KU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and others.
“I really like the coaching staff, and it seems they get along well with the players,” Woodard told Rivals.com. “Coach Self was real honest with me and my family. He said that he likes me a lot and he likes my game. Coach Self thinks that I can be one of the next point guards that move in and run the team.”
Woodard is currently ranked No. 122 in the Class of 2013. He scored 29 points versus Edmond Santa Fe High in a game Self attended earlier this season.
Next: KU will meet Texas A&M; at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. The Aggies enter 13-13 overall and 4-10 in the Big 12.