Kansas’ Robinson is everyone’s pick
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 7:00 pm
By JIM O’CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
Kansas forward Thomas Robinson has even more in common with Blake Griffin now. Not everything, though.
Robinson, who played through personal tragedy as a sophomore reserve, capped his junior season by being a unanimous selection to The Associated Press’ All-America team Monday, a day after leading the Jayhawks to the Final Four.
The 6-foot-10 Robinson averaged 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds this season and he was a first-team pick by all 65 members of the national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25.
The last unanimous pick was Griffin in 2009.
“It’s a blessing to be named even in the same category as Blake Griffin,” Robinson said. “For that to happen, I’m glad all the hard work is paying off.”
Robinson did find some similarities between them besides being Big 12 Player of the Year.
“That man jumps out the gym. He looks like a superhero when he takes off,” Robinson said. “But we both try to be aggressive. He knows what he does well. I feel the same way. I know what I do well.”
Joining Robinson on the first team were Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, the first repeat All-America in three years, freshman Anthony Davis of Kentucky, Draymond Green of Michigan State and Doug McDermott of Creighton.
Davis received 63 first-team votes while Green, the lone senior on the team, got 53. Sullinger had 30, one more than McDermott. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
Robinson received nationwide support as a sophomore when he lost his mother, grandmother and grandfather in a three-week period. He not only became a starter this season, he became a star.
Robinson is Kansas’ first All-America since Wayne Simien in 2005.
The 6-9 Sullinger, who was selected East Regional as he led the Buckeyes to the Final Four, is the first repeat All-America since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough in 2009.
Sullinger, the first player to repeat as a freshman and sophomore since Chris Jackson of LSU in 1989 and 1990, averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 53.9 percent from the field. He is the fourth Ohio State player to repeat joining Jerry Lucas, Robin Freeman and Garry Bradds. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said it’s no surprise Sullinger has already sealed a place in the history of the program.
“I think that’s one of what was important to us when Jared came here,” Matta said.
Davis burst onto the national scene as part of the Wildcats team that spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the poll and then entered the NCAA tournament as the overall No. 1 seed. The 6-10 Davis was chosen the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 14.3 points, 10 rebounds and 4.6 blocks while shooting 64.2 percent from the field.
The last Wildcats to be first-team selections were freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in 2010. At least one freshman has been on the first team five of the last six years.
“It means a lot, especially for a freshman,” Davis said before admitting he surprised himself this season. “I thought I would just come in here and hit a couple of shots, block a couple of shots, get a couple of dunks. I never thought I would be this successful.”
He said he has been successful because of opportunities.
“My teammates have been doing a great job of giving me the ball,” he said. “And basically, all the teams that were driving inside, giving me a chance to get blocks. We’re just out there having fun.”
The 6-7 Green averaged 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals while doing everything the Spartans needed on the way to sharing the Big Ten regular season title, winning the conference tournament and being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
He is Michigan State’s fourth first-team selection joining Magic Johnson, Shawn Respert and Mateen Cleaves.
McDermott is Creighton’s first All-America and he joins three-time selection Pete Maravich of LSU as All-Americas coached by their fathers.
The 6-7 sophomore was third in Division I in scoring with a 23.2 average. He averaged 8.2 rebounds and shot 61 percent from the field, including 49.5 percent from 3-point range.
Junior guard Isaiah Canaan of Murray State was joined on the second team by seniors Marcus Denmon of Missouri, Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, Jae Crowder of Marquette and Kevin Jones of West Virginia.
Published in The Messenger 3.29.12