Thomas Wolfe once wrote the novel whose title has become part of the American lexicon: You cant go home again. Thomas Robinson clearly disagrees with Mr. Wolfe.On the verge of fulfilling his dream by playing in the NBA, the D.C. native and Kansas All-American power forward visited with the hometown Wizards on Wednesday. He would be fine if the Verizon Center became his professional home.Robinsons first individual team workout for before the June 28 NBA Draft had a pinch me quality.Growing up here, Ive always been a Wizards fan, said a grinning Robinson to a crowd of reporters huddled around the chiseled prospect outside the team's practice court. "This is a dream. This is big to me to be right here right now.It might also be the Wizards dream to select the double-double machine with the third overall pick.
Though the current mix of interior options has intriguing potential, the same can be said of the broad shouldered Robinson, who led the nation as a junior with 27 double-doubles and Kansas to the national championship game. The Wizards are likely to choose between Robinson, Florida guard Bradley Beal, Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and North Carolina swingman Harrison Barnes. TheCharlotte Bobcats, owners of theNo. 2 pick, are also said to be interested in Robinson.The nearly 6-foot-9, 244 pounder grew up as a wannabe guard in the Southeast section of the city, rooting for his favorite Wizard, Gilbert Arenas and that Michael Jordan fella for that little bit of time. His high school playing days began at Eastern before starring at Riverdale Baptist and then matriculating to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.Some athletes choose to follow Mr. Wolfes dictum, desiring a career away from the hometown diversions of home. Those considerations, Robinson said, factored into his decision to leave town for college. Now, ready to begin his professional career, Robinson embraces the opportunity. I feel much more mature than I was going into college, Robinson said. Its part of that challenge that I want to take on. There are distractions here, but thats just something I have to deal with. If I focus on basketball, I shouldnt have to worry about that."Robinsons nine-year-old sister remained in D.C. after his mother and both grandparents passed away during his sophomore season at Kansas.The following season Robinson entered the starting lineup after coming off the bench behind future NBA first round picks Marcus and Markieff Morris. He then powered his way into national spotlight, averaging 17.7 points and 11. 9 rebounds. Robinson'sprowess on the glass is an attractive trait for a Wizards team that ranked 26th in defensive rebounding last year. The test of helping his favorite team rebound and rejoin the league's best also plays into whythe 21-year-oldis excited about a potential return to the 202.Its a challenge I want to take on, Robinson said. I think if I want to get to the top of this league, to take on the challenge to come to this team and help them get over the hump, then I definitely would be considered one of those players.Seeing as the Wizards have not won the NBA title since the 1977-78 season, taking the local team to the Promised Land would indeed make the hometown kid one of those elite players. We'rejust over about two weeks from finding if Robinson will get that chance.