Kings draftee Thomas Robinson dishes on his game, teaming up with DeMarcus Cousins and more. Plus, Geoff Petrie shares his enthusiasm about Sacramento’s new addition.
The Kings selected University of Kansas standout Thomas Robinson – the 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year and AP First Team All-American, who ranked second in the nation in rebounds (11.9 per game) – with the fifth-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
“I just want to thank the organization for taking me as their fifth pick, and I can’t be more excited to be part of the organization,” said an emotional and elated Thomas after putting on his purple Kings Draft hat for the first time.
A versatile inside scorer who can face up his opponent, convert with his back to the basket and connect from mid-range, averaged 17.7 points per game – the second-highest scoring average in the Big 12 – during the Jayhawks’ 2011-12 campaign.
“Thomas Robinson is a terrific power forward and he’s going to bring a lot of energy, rebounding, speed, and competitive spirit to the Kings,” said Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. “We feel very fortunate to have drafted him at No. 5 and think he’ll be a player everyone will enjoy watching play and we’re really anxious to have him come to Sacramento and join the team.”
Robinson’s dazzling offensive repertoire makes him a exciting complement to DeMarcus Cousins on an imposing Kings frontline.
“DeMarcus is similar to me – he’s a tough kid,” says Robinson, who grew up in Washington, D.C. “He’s going to go out there and play hard, and I’m going to join him. He put up some numbers last year, and with my help, we should be able to get the Kings over that hump.”
Cousins’ former Kentucky coach, John Calipari, who attended the Draft in Newark, N.J., believes the pair of talented big men will cause a multitude of matchup problems for opposing teams.
“Let me tell you, I wouldn’t want to be on that other team,” says Calipari, who saw Robinson average 14.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in two contests against his Wildcats last season. “You’d better have some arm pads, some chest pads – you’re talking about two beasts.
“I think they can play off of one another because one is a little more skilled – DeMarcus Cousins – one is a little more athletic – Robinson – yet you can play them together.”
Possessing a near-unstoppable blend of strength, quickness and explosiveness, Robinson, who is considered among the most polished prospects in his Draft class, can not only put the ball in the basket, but can defend opposing forwards both on the block and on the perimeter, as well as thwart the pick-and-roll.
“I think you’ll see a guy who’s ready for the NBA now and is going to be consistent every night,” says TNT analyst Craig Sager. “He’s non-stop – he doesn’t let up on any play at all, he hits the boards and he is able to score in the post.”
“The biggest thing he brings is toughness,” adds Houston Rockets forward Marcus Morris, who played alongside Robinson for two seasons at Kansas. “(The Kings have) a lot of toughness with DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, but he’s a relentless competitor.
“I think he’s going to be a great pro and (being in the NBA is) going to make him work even harder.”
On the heels of leading the Jayhawks to the National Championship Game, in which he put up 18 points and 17 rebounds, Robinson is looking forward to helping the upstart Kings get back into postseason contention.
“(I’m going to bring) a winning mentality – no matter how old I am, a rookie or not, I’m not letting (anybody) relax,” says the 6-foot-9 forward. “It’s not cool to lose, so I’m going to try and bring that attitude.”
After covering his games for the last two seasons, Sager expects Robinson’s tireless work ethic and energy to instantly win over the Northern California fan-base.
“I’ve always said Sacramento is one of my favorite places to do games – back when they had Vlade (Divac) and Chris Webber – you’re so excited to be in the loudest arena in the NBA,” he said. “Those fans are absolutely going to love Thomas Robinson.”
– After completing an exhausting round of interviews and photo-shoots, a smiling Robinson soaked in the moment as he dribbled a basketball backstage while exchanging hugs and high-fives with his family, close friends and former teammates Marcus and Markieff Morris.
– Welcome Thomas Robinson to Sacramento on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Arden Fair. Planning to attend? Tag your Kings-related Tweets and photos with #TRobRally and #KingsAllDay!