Thomas Robinson - KCTV5

Thomas Robinson

(Source: SD Dirk/flickr) (Source: SD Dirk/flickr)
(Source: SD Dirk/flickr) (Source: SD Dirk/flickr)
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Thomas Robinson - #0 F, Junior, Kansas Jayhawks

(RNN) - Last season, Robinson lost his grandmother and grandfather within three weeks of each other. Five days later, his mother died suddenly after collapsing.

Left to care for his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, Robinson had to grow up more quickly than many of his peers. His maturity, work ethic and strength became evident this season on the court as well.

The 6'10" 237-pound Robinson went from a reserve player to one of two serious contenders for national Player of the Year. He has thrived after another year of tutelage under head coach Bill Self – and another year in the weight room.

Robinson played behind twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris during the 2010-2011 season. The duo took the Jayhawks to the Elite 8 then skipped their senior season and became NBA first-round picks.

Coming into this season, some expected Kansas to have a down year - by Jayhawks standards, anyway. But the Robinson-led squad stayed in the Top 10 and took the regular-season Big 12 crown once again.

Going into the conference tournament, he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and more than a steal and a block per game while shooting 53 percent. Robinson's pro-ready frame allows him to score in the low post on anyone in college basketball, and his polished jump shot forces defenders to guard him closely when he is away from the basket.

In other words, the future NBA Lottery pick is a fan's dream to watch and a coach's nightmare to prepare for. He and his fellow Jayhawks should be among the favorites to make it to New Orleans.

Copyright 2012 the Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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