Former Jayhawk Thomas Robinson still has NBA aspirations after strong showing in Summer League

photo by: Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs forward Thomas Robinson looks at the scoreboard during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

It was a trip down memory lane for former Kansas standout Thomas Robinson.

Robinson, who played for the Jayhawks between 2009-12, walked around Allen Fieldhouse about 8 p.m. Sunday night. Robinson, a consensus All-American and fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, then strolled through the University of Kansas campus.

And that is when Robinson started to recall the glory days.

“When I rolled through, I just got to thinking about times when I was walking through campus with my teammates,” Robinson told reporters Monday afternoon. “The Towers parking lot, I got all the moments from looking at that, I don’t know why. Just certain things that probably meant more to me that were smaller than the games.”

It has been seven years since Robinson carried Kansas to the national championship game and eventually declared for the NBA Draft. But, in a lot of ways, things could just be getting started for the former Jayhawk.

Robinson still has NBA aspirations after a whirlwind of a professional career, which began with being drafted by the Sacramento Kings and traded to the Houston Rockets before his rookie season was finished. Robinson also had stints with Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last time Robinson appeared in an NBA contest was on April 12, 2017. Still, that hasn’t deterred his mission to give it one last shot.

“I plan to go until the wheels go off. But I have a high level of basketball left in me, especially at the NBA level,” Robinson said. “As of right now, I’m at my best.”

That is what made this past summer so crucial for Robinson, who spent the 2018-19 season with Chinese club Beikong Fly Dragons.

Robinson, who is 28-years-old, competed in the NBA Summer League for the San Antonio Spurs. While it is rare to have someone of his age competing in the NBA Summer League, Robinson admitted that there was a clear reason for why he did it.

“I don’t think I’m bigger than what I have seen as a player and I just wanted to show that I’m still a player at a high level,” Robinson said. “That was my reason for playing Summer League at this age.”

Robinson averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds across 14.0 minutes per contest in four games in Las Vegas. He averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.0 minutes per game in four outings in the Salt Lake City League before that.

“I’m in talks with (Spurs) to offer me something secure for the year,” Robinson said. “If not, I have a couple other teams. Just trying to make sure the security is there. I have options, I just want to make the security a little more concrete.”

At the same time, Robinson is also preparing for life after basketball.

Robinson’s return to KU was a few months in the making. Robinson has been working on bringing an electric scooter company to Lawrence, an idea that he came up with during his time in China.

On Monday, Robinson proposed his idea to the Lawrence City Commission after three months of phone calls and emails. He will find out in September if his company will be allowed to come to Lawrence. Robinson is also working on his degree and is on track to graduate next May.

“I’m still young, but I’m right there where a couple years I’m not going to be so young,” Robinson said. “I’m just excited about everything I’m trying to pursue. Hopefully it all plays out like I plan it to.”


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