D.C. native plays in hometown tonight

With two double-doubles in his last three games, Washington, D.C. native Thomas Robinson is starting to emerge in his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings after being selected No. 5 in the 2012 draft. The key, according to coach Keith Smart, has been his “unbridled energy.”

Robinson, who played at Kansas, is averaging 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game, with his numbers increasing this month. Tonight he plays in his hometown, when the Kings (16-29) visit the Wizards (11-31).

“He brings something to the table that only a few guys in our league – that you can write down – they bring it every night,” Smart said. “He’s a high-energy guy. He plays with tremendous toughness. I think he takes the challenge on trying to defend people.”

Robinson failed to score in just seven minutes when the Wizards lost to the Kings on Jan. 16. But there have been many more positive performances this month. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds Saturday in a loss at Denver. His best game as a pro came last Wednesday in a home loss to Phoenix. In 26 minutes he collected a career-high 14 rebounds and 12 points, which matched his career high.

Smart likens Robinson’s game to that of Kenneth Faried (Nuggets) and Reggie Evans (Nets), two other power forwards known for their work ethic and rebounding ability. When Smart sat down recently with Robinson and informed him of the comparison, Robinson was taken aback.

“He went ‘I’m better than those guys,’” Smart said. “We’re just talking about the element they bring every night, not talking about the overall skill.”

The 6-foot-10 Robinson played at Riverdale Baptist in Prince George’s County before finishing his high school career at Brewster Academy.

““Unbridled energy puts you in position to have a great game,” Smart said. “Now let your skills develop to come along to become the player you can be in the NBA. Slowly, slowly, you start to see the rough edges come off.”