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Thomas Robinson struggled, but it’s not that simple


Mike Miller

NEW ORLEANS - No one in the country was easier to root for this season than Thomas Robinson. His story is devastating, having lost his mother and both of his grandparents in the span of a month last season. I’d bet even the most diehard Kentucky fan had a little part of them sad to see him walk off of the floor of the Superdome a loser.

And while he finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds, Robinson simply did not play a great game during Monday’s 67-59 loss to Kenrucky. He was 6-for-17 from the floor. For the second time this season, the man they call T-Rob struggled with the length and athleticism of the Kentucky front line.

It was not all his doing, however. For the majority of the game, whenever Robinson got a touch in the post, Anthony Davis would sag off of Jeff Withey and stand, quite literally, directly between Robinson and the rim. We all know of Davis’ prowess when it comes to blocking shots, and this night was no different. Much of that 6-for-17 performance can be attributed to Robinson’s inability to get a clean look at the basket.

“A lot of times I tried to go to my left shoulder on Jones,” Robinson said. “But I could see Anthony skying over top of him. So it was kind of tough for me to even pass it to Jeff or try to get a shot up. He definitely impacted the game for a stretch on the defensive end.”

One thing that can never be criticized is Robinson’s effort. His shots weren’t falling, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort or desire. Simply put, he worked his tail off for every second that he was on the floor, and the fact that he could play as poorly as he did and still finish with 18 points and 17 boards is a testament to the kind of player that Robinson is.

At times like this, we have to look at the bigger picture. For Robinson, the goal of this season was not necessarily to win a national title. It was to put himself in a position where he would be able to take care of his young sister. He did just that.

I know that in sports, it’s frowned upon to focus on the success of the individual when the team loses, but there are things that are more important in this world than sports. Robinson learned that the hard way, and calling this season anything less that a complete success for that young man would be unfair.