‘It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen in my life’

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Kansas’ toughest loss of the season didn’t come Saturday against Texas. It was Friday night.

That’s when sophomore Thomas Robinson found out his mother, Lisa, died of an apparent heart attack at her home in Washington, D.C. He called his teammates and his coaches, who gathered at his on-campus apartment shortly thereafter. This after his grandmother died in late December, and his grandfather died on Jan. 16.

“Thomas couldn’t stop crying,” junior Tyshawn Taylor said. “Coach [Bill] Self was there. He cried. It was just real emotional.”

It’s remarkable that Robinson even played during Kansas’ 73-63 loss to Texas. Most people wouldn’t gotten out of bed. But there was a game to be played, and Robinson wanted to be in it. Anything to help take his mind off things, even if it’s just for a few moments.

“That’s what I told our guys,” Self told the Kansas City Star. “All 16,000 people that were here and supported us, they go home sad. (Thomas) is going to wake up three or four days from now, people will be doing their own things, the world keeps going on, and that’s a reality he’s going to have to live with every day of his life. It does put everything into perspective.”

Self wasn’t sure if Robinson would play in Tuesday’s game at Colorado or thereafter. Mostly, he’s proud of how his team came together during an incredibly trying moment.

“How his life has changed so much just overnight, it’s a pretty sad thing. People deal with it all the time. He’ll deal with it like a man. But still your heart certainly hurts for him and his family,” Self said.

“As a coach, you always think your players like each other,” he added. “That’s always been a quality all teams have – good teams like each other. It’s very important. And last night I saw a different level than I even knew existed. It was pretty special. The mothers of some of the players that live here were over there. The whole team was there. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen in my life. It was something that was humbling but also made you proud. They do care about each other an awful lot.”

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