Thomas Robinson desperately wants to hit the fast-forward button to June 28. The NBA is so close to becoming a reality, but his patience is waning with each day leading up to when his dream comes to fruition.
Since declaring for the NBA draft, the 6-foot-9 Robinson has been training in Los Angeles with the likes of former 10-year NBA veteran Pooh Richardson and former Olympic gold medallist Maurice Greene. He has gone to New York for the NBA lottery, to Chicago for the NBA combine, and he will have his first workout for his hometown Wizards on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
“This process is too long,” an agitated Robinson said last week. “I’m ready to start playing. I’m literally tired of everything. I want to get my name called and to start the season.”
Robinson’s impatience seems a little odd, since he backed up the Morris twins for two years at Kansas before finally getting his chance to take on a prominent role. With Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris going with the final two spots in the NBA lottery last June, Robinson took advantage of the opportunity and carried the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship game, averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds as a junior.
He’s now nearly two weeks away from being a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The Wizards have the third overall pick and Robinson would love to start in career at home if the Charlotte Bobcats pass over him. When asked how he was able take an unusual path to near the top of the draft, Robinson used a word that he has struggled to grasp the past few months.
“It’s about being patient,” Robinson said. “I felt that with an opportunity, I’d be a top player, but I still had to work though. I wouldn’t say my freshman year I thought I was a top five pick, but I felt if I had the time and opportunity that I would be.”
Scouts and league executives praise Robinson for his maturity and perseverance through some personal hardships. He lost grandmother, grandfather and mother in a one-month span during his sophomore year at Kansas, an experience that he said forced him to grow up quickly.
“Knowing the simple fact that I was the last resort. Nobody else to lean on,” Robinson said. “I mean, pretty much, when your back is against the wall, you’ve got nothing else to do but get out of it. That’s what I did.”
Robinson has boldly stated that he is the best player in this draft and that his competitive nature wouldn’t allow him to say that Kentucky forward Anthony Davis should go before him with the No. 1 pick. He has clarified those comments by saying that he didn’t mean to disrespect Davis in any way.
“I don’t want to be the top pick. I want to be the best pick,” Robinson said. “Where you get picked at, doesn’t matter. It’s a matter who shows up come November. I’m going to go where I go and do what I do.”
With a draft in which freshmen and sophomores are slated to dominate the top picks, the 21-year-old Robinson believes he has more on his side than experience. “I just play at a different level than everybody else – different intensity level,” he said. “I’m going to play every night. That’s not something every guy do. Everybody don’t show up on a consistent basis. And I think, out of this group, everybody would say, I’m one of the players that do.”
He can’t wait to prove his point.
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