Kansas star works out at Verizon Center
Thomas Robinson's workout with his hometown team was going smoothly until the final drill. In the middle of sprinting from one end of the court to the other for his next midrange jump shot -- he needed to make four to conclude the exercise -- his shoe came untied.
As he paused and bent to tie his laces, some good natured ribbing came his way from Wizards coach Randy Wittman and assistant Sam Cassell.
"Sam caught me," Robinson said, smiling. "I probably was a little winded, but I didn't do that on purpose."
It was the closest to anything going wrong in Robinson's much anticipated homecoming and his first workout for an NBA team ahead of the June 28 draft, where there's a chance he won't be available for Washington to ponder selecting at No. 3. He very well could be the No. 2 pick overall -- or No. 1, if he had it his way.
"I think I am the best player in the draft as far as being prepared for the league," said Robinson, who doesn't yet have another team workout scheduled. "That's just me being a competitor. I'm not taking anything from [Kentucky freshman forward] Anthony Davis. He's a great player. At the same time I'm going to compete."
It's a far cry from the reserve role Robinson played for two years at Kansas. The muscular 6-foot-9, 244-pound D.C. native emerged from the shadow of Markieff and Marcus Morris last year as a junior, carrying the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship game on the back of 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
It was the latest step in a journey that began at Eastern High in Southeast before stops at Riverdale Baptist and Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.
"This is a dream," Robinson said. "This is fake to me, to be right here, right now talking to you all."
Robinson showed that being 21 years of age doesn't exactly make him that old, listing Gilbert Arenas and Michael Jordan among his favorite Wizards players growing up.
"When we had Jordan for that little bit of time, I thought this was the best team in America," Robinson said.
But Robinson's emotional connection to the District was front and center during his sophomore year at Kansas when he lost his grandmother, grandfather and mother during a one-month span. He said being away from home was important when he was younger but that he isn't afraid of the risks of building his professional career at home.
"I feel I'm much more mature than I was leaving high school, and like I said, it's part of that challenge that I want to take on," Robinson said. "The distractions are here, but that's something that I'll just have to deal with. If I focus on basketball, I shouldn't have to worry about that."
It remains to be seen whether the Wizards think Robinson is an ideal fit. The team is planning to work out Florida guard Bradley Beal and Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Thursday and Friday, respectively.