OTC: KU Team Still Locked In Emotional Spin


“I think we saw it in that Texas game. They were emotionally spent in that second half.”
Dave Armstrong, Big 12 TV announcer, on part of the blame for Kansas’ collapse against Texas being the emotional toll on the team brought on by the death of Thomas Robinson’s mother, 810 AM
GH: Texas is good and Armstrong made that point as well. But I agree that KU looked emotionally spent for much of that game – especially the second half. I am afraid that the pall from Robinson’s heart-wrenching personal loss of his two grandparents and mother all within three weeks of each other may haunt the Hawks on the court for weeks to come.
“The guys left out of there, I think, in a pretty fair frame of mind, but we’re an emotionally spent team right now. And if you know Thomas’ situation and how much his mother meant to him, in large part because that’s all he had. The only set of grandparents he knew died within the last three weeks.”
Bill Self, after meeting with his team on Sunday following the Texas loss, KUSports.com
GH: Athletes recover emotionally quicker than coaches after a loss. But this loss involves the death of a teammate’s 38-year-old mom who leaves a 9-year-old daughter. While Robinson’s teammates are a part of his extended family, I think KU is making a mistake including the team so deeply in this tragedy. Read on.
“(Bill) Self informed the Jayhawks that director of basketball operations Barry Hinson would return to D.C. with (Thomas) Robinson on Monday — the day of Robinson’s grandfather’s funeral — and that the entire team would fly charter to the funeral. And that the NCAA would allow KU to pay for funeral expenses and even work on the arrangements in Lawrence.”
Gary Bedore, KUSports.com
GH: That is one trip I would not want to make. I understand Self’s and his team’s desire to support and be there for their teammate but I think this trip is a mistake. Robinson will appreciate their presence in D.C. but this simply extends the anguish and emotional upheaval thrust onto Self’s squad. A squad in the midst of a conference race that finds them fighting to get their mojo back.
“Depending on when the (funeral) services are, Thursday or Friday, we will all attend that.”
Bill Self, on the Kansas team and staff attending the funeral for Thomas Robinson’s mother in Washington D.C., 810 AM
GH: I’d send Self and Coach Hinson to D.C. for the funeral and tell the players they can help Thomas best by making sure this tragedy doesn’t affect the rest of the season. It is tragic that Thomas and his young sister have to face this reality so soon in life. I think it’s a mistake to force (yes force) the rest of the team to share in this grief so personally. While the players have expressed a desire to be in D.C. for Robinson, they are not equipped to know what is best for them. It’s why they are students and not coaches.
“I mean, the world doesn’t stop turning. Whether there’s things going on in our personal lives or whatever. We’re all men. We have to deal with those things. We have a job to do, and that’s playing Colorado.”
Tyrel Reed, KU’s senior guard, addressing the team’s ability to focus on basketball despite the emotional baggage, KUSports.com
GH: In a court of law, they are men. In the court of life they are youngsters ill equipped to deal with life’s cruel lessons. I think KU will play very well Tuesday night in Boulder – while Robinson is somewhat out of mind in D.C. attending to his mother’s funeral arrangement. But it is the weeks after that should concern Self, his team and their season-long goals.
“It’s amazing to me how many people that I don’t know, that Thomas doesn’t know, that I do know … that have offered their assistance in unbelievably unselfish ways. Unbelievable.”
Bill Self, KUSports.com
GH: That is simply Kansas and the great Midwest states that surround it. The states, the people and the deep love the people have for their schools. Selfless help offered by strangers is not a rare occurrence in the Midwest. It is our oceans. It is our mountains. It is our people.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24
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12 Responses to OTC: KU Team Still Locked In Emotional Spin

  1. Gavin says:

    Knowing Best
    Greg Hall says:

    While the players have expressed a desire to be in D.C. for Robinson, they are not equipped to know what is best for them.

    Gavin says:

    KU basketball is so lucky to have you looking out for the best interests of the young men, Greg. Given that theplayers aren’t equipped to know what’s best for them, it’s good that you do. I’m sure you’re every bit as close to the team as Bill Self and god knows you’re a coaching legend, so your perspective is at least as valuable as that enjoyed by the actual coaches of the team. Those guys are really lucky that they have you to counterbalance the ill effects of being mentored and coached by Bill Self. Have you offered your assistance to Bo Pelini too?

  2. % says:

    There are some things that are more important to players than wins and losses.

  3. Cliffy says:

    This will not impact the team for “weeks to come.”
    Sheesh. What a drama queen.

    It’s a tragedy for Robinson and I wish he and his sister the best of luck. It sounds like they’ll be getting plenty of help. I hope the rest of their lives go much better than these last few months have.

    But if the rest of the team is still trying to cope with this “weeks from now” there is something wrong with them.

  4. Gavin says:

    Holy shit! I agree with Cliffy about KU!
    Robinson will have a harder time getting over this than anyone else on the team. As well he should. But I’m not sure how it is that the rest of the team is going to be an emotional wreck for weeks to come. Is it an obstacle? Yes. Will it present challenges? Absolutely. But I don’t see how having the whole team be there for Robinson’s mother’s funeral does anything to make them weaker long-term. In fact, one could argue that they’ll get an even stronger sense of “family” and team as a result of this.

    This is similar (worse, but similar) to what happened to Darnell Jackson in 2008. His mom was badly injured in a car crash in which his grandmother was also killed. That same season had other players lose family members to gang violence. Again, was it tough? Fuck and yes. But they managed to overcome those obstacles.

    I’m not saying that this team is going to have the same ending to the season that team had, but there is a precedent for this type of tragedy not leading to bad on-the-field/court outcomes.

  5. Thumper says:

    Bambi, you mother is dead
    If anyone has not yet had their Mother die, you are unworthy to comment about it. I was flabbergasted when my Mom died a few years back. I thought I was ready for it, I thought it would be just another life hurdle, but it was/is pretty strange. My only advice is imagine as if your Mom is dead right now, and imagine how it feels. Then call your Mon and tell her you love her.

    Humans only have one Mom, and she is why you are here, no one else has that connection to you. If your Momhas died recently, my only advice is thank God you are human, beacue we are blessed with this thing where time helps heal the pain, kind of. Time makes it a little better, but once your Mon is gone…. Bambi, Your Mother is dead, and time is the only thing that can help you feel better., actually that is not true, in the short run copious quantities of alcohol can help too, but really the only thing is time and knowing that while she was alive you did right by her. Call your Mom, tell her you love he.

    On your Birthday YOU call her and thank for squeezing your fat ass through her……. well you know the deal, dont be an ungrateful punk.

  6. Ryan says:

    It’s what men do…
    5 years, 10 years, 15 years from now, some of these same players will lose a parent. Their friends (and teammates) will be by their side because it is the right thing to do. Coach Self will have taught them that by example. There are plenty of people that will be too busy to attend because of work, family, cost, etc. Yes, the world does move on and it is Gameday in Lawrence with KSU coming to town, but that won’t mean shit 3 weeks from now, let alone 30 years from now. The really important things are not things. Well done, Coach Self.

  7. kylerohde says:

    Too Cynical?
    While I like that people are so willing to help Thomas Robinson’s little sister, the cynic in me wonders how many of those people are willing to help people whose brother is not a Jayhawk. Yes, the girl is having a tough time right now but a college fund will not bring her mother back and her brother is heading for a nice, big, guaranteed NBA contract that will take care of college for her.

    I hope all those so willing to help are just as willing to help organizations like Harvesters, Salvation Army, food pantries, etc.

  8. Rainbow Man says:

    So you think just anyone can coach at KU? Huh? Win 70 in a row at home and people throw rocks at you when you hiccup.

    Just a wild assertion, but I think Bill Self is 18-1 and I also happen to think he knows what the hell he is doing. This team is 15-20 people who live together, travel together, work their tails off together. It is a family. Bill Self is the dad in the family and Billy Boy says everyone is going to the freaking funeral.

    Let Bill worry about emotional inventory, motivation, and peaking at the right time. Hall… you are usually spot on… Not this one. Bill Self is not Frank Martin. He is not Bo Pelini… He is pretty much Phil Jackson and Pat Riley and Dean Smith rolled into one. Best Coach ever at KU… and they will be facing Duke in the final.

  9. joe says:

    “Selfless help offered by strangers is not a rare occurrence in the Midwest. It is our oceans. It is our mountains. It is our people.”

    C’mon, man!

  10. Cliffy says:

    “…and they will be facing Duke in the final.”
    (chuckle) Friends don’t let friends drink and post.

  11. Tim says:

    Believe it or not but there are more things important in life than KU basketball. This isnt only a teammate but a friend and a brother who has almost lost his entire family. I honestly think it would do more damage if they DIDNT attend the funeral.

  12. Matt says:

    I mean WOW! Like has been said before… family and friends before anything else… especially basketball games. I think you could use a little dose of perspective.

    Lastly, I don’t know you, so I’m going to assume this wasn’t an article to boost readership (bc I wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for your controversial statements) and you just made an error in judgement…. but if I’m wrong, I feel really bad for you.

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