It was another successful NBA Draft for Kansas as both Thomas Robinson (No. 5) and Tyshawn Taylor (No. 41) were selected Thursday night, beginning a new path for the former Jayhawks.
Thomas Robinson could have gone No. 2, but No. 5 isn't too bad for a player who started just one year at Kansas-albeit one of the better individual performances of any Jayhawk in recent memory, and led KU to a trip to the national title game.
Throughout Thursday, Tyshawn Taylor was rumored to be heading to the Chicago Bulls at pick 29, which seemed like a surprising, yet exciting situation for not only Taylor and his family, but KU fans anticipating the evenings draft.
Taylor had performed well in pre-draft camps leading up to the main event, but going in the first round seemed like a long-shot at best. At the end of the day, Taylor went at No. 41, which seemed to fit where most experts had him projected, and a trade of the pick which originally came from Portland but was immediately given to Brooklyn, close to where Taylor originates.
Bill Self took a few minutes Thursday evening to talk to the meeting via telephone to discuss a great night for his former players.
"Well neither once surprised me, I didn't really have a feel for Thomas," said Self. "You hear Thomas was going at 3 because Washington had already traded for Emeka (Okafor) and Nene last year, and they drafted so you look at 4. He could have gone there possibly to Cleveland but they just drafted Tristan Thompson last year. I thought he would go five and that's exactly what happened."
"His season was remarkable I am so happy for him and I'm happy for Jayla. The Kansas basketball faithful are so proud of him," Self said. "Thomas goes from basically having no one in his life and having to be a man on his own to maturing and being an unbelievable ambassador to the university"
Before Taylor was selected, Self talked to his point guard to get a feel for where he might end up and according to Self, things worked out just as Taylor and his camp thought they would.
"As for Tyshawn, I talked to him and he went right where he thought he would. He said, "I have three chances to go in the first round we think. If it doesn't fall right I think I'll go late 30's or early 40's," and that's basically what happened," Self said. "Tyshawn went from being the most criticized guy I have coached, period, to now, "how in the world are we going to play without him?"
Taylor, because he was selected in the second round, isn't guaranteed a contract or spot on the Brooklyn Nets roster which means he will need summer league and team camps to prove he belongs. As for advice from his former coach, Bill Self told him, "Don't forget who you are."
It was another incredible night for the Kansas Basketball family and with two more players drafted into the NBA, Self continues to bring in young talent and help turn them into NBA-ready players.
"It's really cool how both of them handled their situations and both of them will have a better chance to succeed on the floor because I know what drives them both--to think that someone thinks someone is better than them." I'm happy for both of them. I don't think the draft could have gone any better than it did for them."
Draft notes: The Houston Rockets selected Jeremy Lamb (UConn), Royce White (Iowa State), and Terrence Jones (Kentucky) in the first round. Unless there is a trade involving current roster players or any of the 2012 drafted players, it would appear former KU forward Marcus Morris will have a battle for a roster spot. Lamb will play a perimeter role, while White and Jones are interchangeable wing/forward with Jones likely playing more of a wing. Morris is a 3/4 combo as well, and spent the majority of the year in the D-League. North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall heads to Phoenix to join the Suns and former KU forward Markieff Morris, who played significant minutes and was a key contributor during his rookie campaign. Kentucky and North Carolina each had four players drafted, while Big 12 member Baylor had three.