Thomas Robinson's summer just keeps getting better. The KU forward dominated for large stretches at the Chicago Nike Skills Camps in June against some of the best forwards in the country; he flashed the kind of athleticism and rebounding ability that makes you sit up in your chair and take notice. NBA scouts at the camp no doubt felt the same way.
Robinson's next stop on the camp summer tour came at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, last week. After another impressive performance, Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla both left the camp singing Robinson's praises. That would be exciting enough. As it turns out, though, the Jayhawk might have earned the respect of James himself. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Robinson "held his own" against LeBron, even if, as Robinson admits, the NBA All-Star wasn't exactly going all-out:
“LeBron wasn’t playing full speed,” Robinson, KU’s 6-foot-10, 240-pound junior from Washington, D.C., said modestly in an interview Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse. “I’m pretty sure he could turn it up another notch.”
“He said himself I was strong, so that was a compliment,” Robinson said of the 6-8, 250-pound Miami Heat veteran. “He was cool, way down-to-earth, even more than I thought. I really respect him.
“He’s tweeted me and told me to keep working. I told him I will. I told him to talk for me. I’m trying to make some noises here. He said he will, so I mean hopefully he will,” Robinson added of James singing his praises this upcoming season.
The "noises" have been made. Robinson was an object of curiosity at the beginning of the summer. He was excellent in limited time as a sophomore, but because the Jayhawks relied so heavily on the Morris twins for low-post minutes -- and because Robinson's season was so deeply affected by the sudden loss of his mother in January -- there were questions whether the junior had what it took to dominate in the low-block as the centerpiece of a Kansas offense. Some of those questions will linger until we get deeper into the new season, until Robinson shows he can adapt to greater defensive focus, score with his back to the basket, and facilitate for teammates when double-teams inevitably come.
But if you were wondering about his talent, well, that conversation is over. Dude can play. Even LeBron James thinks so.