The eve of the NBA Draft is usually a bittersweet time for Kansas fans.
Selfishly, they want to see their heroes take the court at Allen Fieldhouse for another year or two - if the player in question is an early entrant. If he's a graduating senior, it means the book is finally and officially closed on their time as Jayhawks.
Tonight is a little bit of a different story, because the cases of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are unique, each for different reasons.
Robinson's story is known throughout the country at this point, the tragedy he overcame to become what he did - one of the most dominant big men in college basketball. He earned a place in the collective heart of Jayhawk Nation with his confidence, his relentless attitude and the underlying motivation to take care of his sister, Jayla, that fueled it all.
Taylor was a different story. His tenure at Kansas was tumultuous to say the least, and throughout his four years fans fell in and out of love with him a dozen times. But his infectious smile, willingness to accept responsibility for his faults and his otherworldly senior campaign ultimately made him a fan favorite.
Now, the two are in a position to see all their dreams made a reality.
Robinson has solidified himself as a consensus top pick. Most analysts, in fact, seem to agree he's the likeliest choice of the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the No. 2 pick in the draft.
ESPN.com's Ryan Feldman believes he'd be the right selection for the rebuilding club.
"Kansas' Thomas Robinson would be the best choice for Charlotte. Robinson scored the 14th-most points in the country as the (pick and) roll man, ranked second in rebounds per game and led the nation in defensive rebounding percentage."
The mock drafts are a little more unclear as to where Taylor will be selected. DraftExpress.com - typically one of the most accurate in the business - has him pegged as the fifth pick in the second round, going to the Golden State Warriors.
Most analysis of him mentions his inconsistency, but there seems to be a near consensus that the physical ability for success is there in spades.
His NBA.com evaluation reflects that sentiment:
"There's no question Taylor has the athleticism required in the NBA. He's also got decent size for the point guard position. He's been projected as a second-round pick, and he can stick in the right system. His decision-making might not be for everybody. He's capable of making a great play one time down the floor and throwing a pass out of bounds the next, but he thrives on the chaotic nature of his game. Can an NBA coach live with that?"
The 2012 NBA Draft will be aired live at 6 p.m. on ESPN.