Getting to Know Duncan Robinson

Sam Webb goes in depth with the new Michigan basketball transfer on his basketball development, his game, and his circuitous route to Ann Arbor.

Sam Webb: Lets go back to the beginning. Why did you choose Williams coming out of high school?

Duncan Robinson: “I actually decided to come to Williams at the end of the summer going into my senior year, which was pretty early for a Division III school. To be honest, Coach Maker, who was a coach that reached out to me. I built a relationship with him. I went and visited and I just kind of felt that I didn’t want to be anywhere else. It is a great school, great academically and also a great basketball program. On top of that, I had a great relationship with Coach Maker. That was big for me. To be honest, it just felt like the right decision and it was. I loved my first year there, it was great.”

Sam Webb: You had a fantastic season and in talking to scouts about your game, you could play anywhere in the country. Obviously that’s what they’re saying about you now, but what were the division schools saying to you back then? Where were they when you first came out of high school?

Duncan Robinson: “They were all saying, not quick at all, too skinny, stuff like that. A lot of coaches and stuff like that, always found a reason to I think not recruit me, which is definitely probably on me. I would say that I definitely made a lot of improvements in that year. I had a lot interest. I think I was on a lot of guy’s radar, but I was never the guy they wanted. I really valued going somewhere where they really wanted me. That’s another good reason why I ended up at Williams. I wanted to be a part of a program that wanted me to be there. That’s what I felt there and that was the best fit for me.”

Sam Webb: Okay so you’re at Williams and Coach Maker decides to go to Marist… and you decide to look around. Other than Michigan what were the other schools that you seriously considered?

Duncan Robinson: “I took a visit to Davidson. I was also considering Creighton. I didn’t end up taking a visit there. Iowa State was also kind of in the mix. I narrowed it down to Michigan and Davidson. Those were the first two schools that I wanted to visit just because they both have great basketball programs, but also great academics. I also have great relationships with both the coaches. Those are the three things that are really important to me, and when I got on campus in Ann Arbor, I was just blown away by it all and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”

Sam Webb: Take me through that Michigan visit experience. Obviously, they take you tours and all that. What were the things that they had you do and what stuck out the most while you were here?

Duncan Robinson: “A lot of tours, a lot of meetings, seeing different parts of the campus, the facilities. I saw a practice as well. I got to spend a bunch of time with the coaches. As far as what stuck out to me, I’d just say the players, as well as the coaches and the personalities that they carry across the board. I didn’t meet one person that I didn’t feel comfortable to be around. The players were very welcoming to me coming in. I know the opportunity for somebody to come in this late, it is a different situation. They were very open to it, which was big for me. I really saw myself fitting in with the team and then the coaching staff was unbelievable. I really felt like I was a priority. They were everywhere, taking me around campus, taking me out to my meals. That was great. I really felt like I got closer with them. I’ve talked with them over the phone, but it was great to make that connection in person.”

Sam Webb: One of the things that Coach Beilein is famous for is he can show you diagrams, he can put the pieces on his little board on his table, he can show you video of how you would fit into their offense. Where does Michigan kind of see you fitting in?

Duncan Robinson: “I think the versatility is big. I think I have the ability to stretch the floor with my ability to shoot. Depending on the strides I can make with this year off, they said that they see me anywhere from a two to a four. If I can really improve with the ball in my hands, as well as physically and laterally quickness wise, they could see me as a two, as a guy who handles the ball a lot. Kind of a taller guard that can see over smaller defenders and use that vision on ball screens and stuff like that. I also have that ability to space the floor. That’s another thing. This is a big year for me work wise, I’m excited to get that going. Wherever I fit in, not just where I want to be. Whatever I can do to help the team.”

Sam Webb: Lets talk about your game. You’re a 6-7 / 6-8 guy that can handle it. I hear that you weren’t quite so tall when you entered high school…

Duncan Robinson: “No. When I was a freshman in high school, I was 5-6 / 5-7. I was short and then I kind of got that growth spurt and put on…I grew what a foot in four years. I was kind of lucky in that regard, also kind of developed the guard skills and the height came after. So that was good.”

Sam Webb: Where you always a shooter?

Duncan Robinson: “Yeah. I like to shoot. That’s been my thing from the start. I love being in the gym and getting as many reps in as possible.”

Sam Webb: You’re a scout or coach in the stands, break down your game, is their a player in college or pros that you compare to or try to emulate?

Duncan Robinson: “That’s a good question. In terms of breaking down my game, I’d just say, kind of a cerebral player… a guy who always makes the right play, unselfish and a guy who can stretch the floor and take advantage of opportunities to get to the rim and find open guys and also finish in different ways when necessary. In terms of a comparison, that’s tough. The coaching staff, they were big on at least right now, probably like a (less athletic) Klay Thompson or something like that. Obviously just in terms of the clips that they were showing me they compare me in a lot of ways to Nik Staukas. I know I have a long ways to go, specifically athletically wise to that, but just a mold that they saw me fitting in to.”

Sam Webb: I take it that’s where the strength & conditioning coach Jon Sanderson comes in.

Duncan Robinson: “Yeah, I’m sure that I’ll get to start working with Coach Sanderson. I got the opportunity to speak with him quite a bit. He was a great job who really knows his stuff, and I’ve heard nothing but the best about him. I can’t wait for that.”

Sam Webb: What is next for you? When do you come to Ann Arbor? Is it going to be possible for you to go on the trip to Italy?

Duncan Robinson: “I can’t go on that trip to Italy. So I’ll be there I think it is August 27th is the transfer orientation.”

Sam Webb: Between now and then it is just spending time with the family before making your way up here?

Duncan Robinson: “Yeah. A combination of that and also working out, trying to get myself ready for obviously an increase in level. I think that’ll be big, it’ll be my first time. I went to boarding school all summer to college this past year, but this is the first time that I’ll be a flying distance away from home. I’m going to cherish the moment that I have with my family these next couple of weeks and then the work really picks up when I get to Ann Arbor, so I’m excited.”

Sam Webb: Last one for you. I want you to be the reporter for a second… you said that you saw practice. Who or what jumped out to you when watching these guys on the floor?

Duncan Robinson: “Just the kind of cohesiveness that they have as a team in practice. Coach Beilein says this, every year they might not bring in the McDonald’s All-American and might not bring in the most talented guys, but you can see it when they play and I can definitely see it in practice. The energy and enthusiasm and just guys wanting to be out there. I think that was the biggest thing for me and I really feel like I fit into that type of mold. It was fun when I was watching practice, I could most definitely see myself out there, so I was very excited.”

The Michigan Insider Top Stories