ATLANTA _ Among the Baylor rooting contingent for Sunday’s game against Kentucky will be former Bears’ star Jack Robinson, a Fort Worth Paschal graduate who played on the Baylor team that fell to Kentucky, 58-42, in the 1948 NCAA championship game.
Robinson, 84, said Saturday that he plans to travel with family members to the game at the Georgia Dome from his home in Augusta, Ga. He said he will arrive in hope of seeing the Bears “wipe out the losses we had” against Kentucky during the 1948 season.
In addition to dropping the 1948 NCAA title game, the teams met again a week later as part of the 1948 Olympic Basketball Trials and the Bears lost that encounter, 77-59.
Robinson wound up using that showcase to land a spot on the 1948 U.S. Olympic team that earned a gold medal. He became an Olympic teammate with five Wildcats who helped claim that school’s first of seven NCAA titles in 1948.
Ideally, Robinson _ a retired minister _ hopes to see the tables turn Sunday in a series that Kentucky leads, 6-0. But in a phone interview with the Star-Telegram, he acknowledged the Bears face a difficult challenge.
“Kentucky looks like a pro team, frankly,” Robinson said. “Baylor would have to play almost a perfect game. But they can be had. I’m not sure Kentucky has played a team with as much height as Baylor has. So, I’m hopeful. I’ll go and pull for them. I would sure like to see them wipe out the losses we had.”
It was unclear Saturday whether Robinson would address the Baylor team before Sunday''s 1:20 p.m. tipoff. But he said he was willing to do so, if asked.
“There’s not much an outsider can tell them,” Robinson said. “They’ll remember this game as long as they live. So they’ve got to give it their best. After 64 years, the memories are still fresh (from the 1948 title game). You don’t want to have any regrets.”
_ Jimmy Burch