[original photo via AP]
When I entered the Washington Wizards practice court and saw former Kansas Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson, the first noticeable sight was his physique. So many players come into the NBA as unfinished physical products, and the hope is that they will eventually get stronger and put on what Mark Jackson calls “grown-man weight.” Robinson has that already. And as Bullets Forever’s Mike Prada noticed, he’s built like a middle linebacker.
The next trait of Robinson’s that could not be missed was his confidence. Robinson, and the two players he was working out with, Al’Lonzo Coleman (Presbyterian College) and Kevin Thompson (Morgan State) were tasked with a drill that involved shooting jumpers after sprinting full court. Coleman and Thompson struggled to make it up and down the floor, and their jumpers were inconsistent at best. Robinson also struggled with his shot, but he ran up and down the court with relative ease.
As each of Robinson’s shots left his hand, he yelled phrases like “ballgame,” “that’s money,” and “buckets.” Some went in, some did not, but his confidence, and his vocal urging that these shots go in the basket, did not waver. Who was right there encouraging him when his shots would not fall? Sam Cassell, who never lacked meddle in the confidence department either.