MLive piece on Duncan Robinson

Submitted by Tate on August 5th, 2015 at 8:38 AM


Solid article. I feel like Duncan is a player that we don't really hear much from, so it's nice to see something about him.



August 5th, 2015 at 8:51 AM ^

I feel like some people dismiss him because he was in Division III. I will take a kid who dominated Division III (freshman of the year) over a kid who dominated his high school league any day.

Btown Wolverine

August 5th, 2015 at 9:25 AM ^

Maybe, but at the same time if he were a bad player he wouldn't have been so successful in DIII. 

I think his success indicates that he was either massively underrecruited or he just made a big improvement in his first year after high school.

In any case, it seems that the floor for Duncan should be higher than it is for many high school recruits. (Maybe the ceiling is lower though)


August 5th, 2015 at 9:35 AM ^

Nobody said he was a bad player, but to say since he played D-III he's somehow superior to a HS recruit is somewhat illogical. There's a reason guys like Irvin, McGary, Stauskas, Walton etc. were recruited to play here as 17/18 year olds and Duncan wasn't. I can show countless examples of HS kids coming in and making an immediate impact on teams(look no further than Duke or Kentucky last year) but you would be hard press to find me a player to make the leap Duncan has made and make the same impact. That being said I hope he is a valuable contributor to the team. Unfortunately I feel some people are putting unfair expectations on the kid.

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August 5th, 2015 at 10:12 AM ^

That's apples to oranges. Just name me one successful person to make his leap. Most kids go to prep school due to academic issues. Let's look at Aubrey Dawkins. He went to prep for one year and still was offered by the likes of Dayton(a high mid-major) which is far superior than Williams College. The argument that Dawkins said was that his level of play was better than that of a HS kid which I replied "to what extent". You can't possibly think the competition/talent on the high AAU circuit or in the McDonalds/Jordan all-American game?

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August 5th, 2015 at 10:40 AM ^

You realize Michigan wasn't his only D1 offer after his freshman year, right? I don't think anyone thinks he will make the same impact as a 5 star player, but he doesn't need to on this team. He committed early and it is very likely that he would have picked up some D1 offers if he waited until after his senior year to commit somewhere


August 5th, 2015 at 11:12 AM ^

did he get? 


Look, I think Robinson can be a good fit here and I can actually see him getting time over guys like Chatman and Moritz due to that fit, but let's not act like there isn't some reason for concern about a guy making the leap from DIII to the high majors.


August 5th, 2015 at 12:06 PM ^

Marist and Davidson offered along with Michigan and he had significant interest from all the power conferences but not any other offers. I wasn't trying to say that is a lot of amazing D1 offers, but Michigan wasn't the only one taking a strong look at him.

I actually don't know if he he is going to be a great fit or play a lot here, but it's silly to think that the reason he won't play well is simply because he is coming from D3. People want to say that because there are not any other examples of something like this it means we should be skeptical. He also just had the best freshmen D3 year in 2 decades, so his situation isn't really comparable to anything we know. What i do know is that in league play of his true freshman season he shot nearly 80% from inside the arc and around 50% from three. High schoolers don't shoot that well so I'm not sure why we can't think that he will have some sort of presence here in his 3 years


August 5th, 2015 at 11:47 AM ^

True and I think there is some upside in Beileins system.  My read on Robinson is that he was a naturally good, smart and skilled bball player, though kinda small in HS then became really gangly as he grew up.  He seems like he's growing into his frame now and filling out.  With his passing, shooting ability, height and positiional flexibility there's no reason he can't be a poor man's Doug McDermot in a year or two. He'll be a very good college player. He already showed we can thrive in Beilein style offense.  Like Dougie Mcbuckets his defense and rebounding may be suspect.


August 5th, 2015 at 12:57 PM ^

Obviously, D3 is a higher level of ball than HS, so Robinson is far more proven than most incoming recruits. His floor is Matt Vogrich and his ceiling is north of Jon Diebler -- not exactly taking a flier on 2-3 stars like MAAR, Dawkins, Albrecht, LeVert, Novak, Douglass.  THOSE are classic 'trust' moments.


August 5th, 2015 at 11:15 AM ^

Oh buddy where were you when people were saying that Duncan Robinson would be a better player than Jaylen Brown a few months ago? I once again hope he does well, but people trying to compare him to Nik is head-scratching to me. I'm just trying to keep fair expectations for the kid. In my mind if guys like Chatman, DJ Wilson, Caris and Irvin didn't have huge impacts in their first seasons, added on to the fact that they were much more highly touted. I don't think Duncan's will be that huge, although if he can hit an open three that will definitely help the squad.

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August 5th, 2015 at 11:52 AM ^

The difference is Robinson has already played a year in college ball under a former Beilein assistant. He knows the offensive system. Granted it was lower competition but he domintated it. He also just had the beneift of a redshirt year to get stronger and practice with the team all year. His first year at Michigan is drastically different than the true freshman years of the guys you mentioned.  Not trying to raise expectations too high, but I expect a bigger contribution than Chapman and Wilsons first year and probably something comparable or better than Caris or Irvins first years. Depends on the development of a few other guys too.


August 5th, 2015 at 1:01 PM ^

The Nik comparisons are insane.  Vogrich is closer to the mark (though I think and expect him to be much better, more like Diebler.)

Robinson should be a very valuable piece to Michigan but the athleticism questions aren't going to magically disappear.  "Just a shooter" - probably...but we'll see.


August 5th, 2015 at 8:53 AM ^

Great article. Enjoy Brendan Quinn's writing while you can. I'm sure some other paper is going to snatch him up soon. Pretty lucky to have such a great hoops writer.


August 5th, 2015 at 8:54 AM ^

The way I see it, is that D III is just a little step up in talent level over High School. This means that technically he put up great numbers against competition above high school. Add a redshirt year on top, and he will be better than expected.


August 5th, 2015 at 9:26 AM ^

After a year on the sideline, Robinson admits to having some reoccurring dreams about what his next college debut will be like. He says he's still trying to prove himself and can't help but feel like he's carrying a mythical torch for all those Division III players who never got that D-I offer.

I do wonder sometimes just how many people get overlooked in basketball recruiting, how many find themselves at smaller schools like this when they could theoretically hang with players at higher levels of competition. Hopefully, Robinson shows us that it happened at least once - very excited to see what he can do. 


August 5th, 2015 at 11:09 AM ^

There are far more layers of sifting to go through for basketball recruiting than football. There are not many kids that are missed by the time you get to the D3 level. 

A basic filtering list would be:

D1 elite schools (Duke, UNC, Kentucky,etc)

D1 schools in power conferences (Iowa, Minnesota, Auburn, etc)

D1 schools in non-power conferences (Georgetown, Xavier, SMU, Marquette, Gonzaga, UNLV, etc)

D1 schools in the next tier down (Wichita State, Bradley, Creighton, BYU, etc)

D1 schools in name only (Coppin St, Harvard, Penn, Murray St, etc)



There are over 300 D1 basketball programs vs. @ 120 D1 football programs. Pet capita that is a lot more full scholarships being handed out. 



August 5th, 2015 at 4:23 PM ^

I used the wrong term becuase I was supposed to be paying attention in a meeting. I was not trying to compare absolute number of scholarships, that 's why I used the incorrect term of per capita. The easy math (as you pointed out) shows that not to be true.

What is true, and was my intended point: as a percentage (number of potential scholarships per school) there are more opportunities for an athlete to earn a full ride D1 scholarship in basketball than there is in football. 


August 5th, 2015 at 9:36 AM ^

This should be a very entertaining fall/winter season between the hoops and football teams. Always diminishes the sadness of a vanishing summer when you have that to look forward to.


August 5th, 2015 at 9:37 AM ^

Last semester I saw Duncan as I was walking home late at night on East University. As he was stuffing his face with an ice cream cone, I drunkenly told him, "Duncan Robinson! Good luck next year." He just raised his ice cream cone to me. Thus, if he has a breakout year, it's because of me.


August 5th, 2015 at 9:57 AM ^

Our forwards are going to be able to shoot really, really well. Now let's see if they can play defense...

Excuse to post this video

PS Robinson loves Pizza House. I've seen him there more than a few times


August 5th, 2015 at 11:01 AM ^

For starters, I don't think even the most optimistic of us fans is expecting Robinson to be a star.  I think we're expecting him to be a rotation player either this year or next and exceed normal expectations for a DIII transfer.  

The reason I fall on the optimistic side is because his skill (elite shooting ability) translates to all levels of basketball and he combines that with height.  This isn't Robby Ried who was 6-foot tall and a good shooter but struggled at the D1 level.  This is a 6'8" guy who can flat out shoot.  If he were dominating DIII with his cross-over move and ball handling then I'd be skeptical.  But I am confident that Beilein can find a role for a 6'8" guy that can shoot, even if it is limited.  

I also believe that dominating DIII is more impressive than dominating a random high school, though clearly there were flaws in his game or his recruitment that limited his offers.  The other significant advantage that I think he has is that he's walking in as an upper classmen already, despite the amount of eligibility he has left.  He spent a year at DIII dominating, then he spent a year practicing in Beilein's system and with a weight training program, and now he walks in understanding the system and already physically more prepared that any high school player.  

My prediction is that there will be a total dog fight for minutes at PF between Dawkins, Robinson, Chatman, and Wagner that will vary game to game all year.  If anything, Robinson has a clear path to playing time because he has a clearly defined skill/role and far more experience.  Wagner is skinny and still raw as a prospect.  Chatman's struggles were well documented.  Dawkins is clearly a rotation player, but not an ideal fit at PF.  


August 5th, 2015 at 11:17 AM ^

We are really going to see a lot of different rotations and lineups the first few months of the season. I am definitely excited to see who chisels out permanent roles come conference play; it is going to be a fun year.


August 5th, 2015 at 1:30 PM ^

but some people who are 6'8 and can shoot lights out are simply not athletic enough to see playing time at elite D1 programs.

For example, Doug McDermott, who can not only shoot but is a gifted all-around scorer hasn't yet seen significant playing time in the NBA due to athleticism (just a rookie still, but you get the point).  Rashard Lewis could still nail 3s but when he got old and creaky he became unplayable. Mike Miller - ditto.  You see it again again. In other words, you still have to play defense.  We'll see about Robinson...I'm optimistic.

Great points about him being a relative veteran and more experienced than many of his teammates.

Robinson isn't an ideal fit at the 4.  Sure he's 6'9 but he's also only 210 pounds and his athleticim is the reason why he wasn't a D1 kid in the first place. I see Robinson as being limited to the '3' spot and being used situationly because of defense issues. 

Dawkins is clearly ahead of him in my mind. He's a bit shorter but around the same weight and more athletic and already has experience playing the Beilein 4. The dogfight will be with Chatman, MAAR, Wagner, etc. for the rest of the wing minutes. Given that they all have different skillsets it may depend on team need or in-game circumstance.  Can't wait to see how it plays out...

Mr Miggle

August 6th, 2015 at 12:23 AM ^

It very rarely happens, so there aren't any "normal" expectations. I've never seen a wider range of opinions regarding an incoming player.

I expect him to be pretty good. Beilein took him fairly early in the recruiting process, exactly one year ago, when some highly rated prospects were still interested. He's not a late pickup he was taking a flyer on.

True Blue Grit

August 5th, 2015 at 11:15 AM ^

Robinson is one of those real wild card players to me this season.  He could be either a significant contributor, or do basically nothing.  It's just too hard to guess until we see him on the court against good competition.  I'm guessing he will contribute more than Wagner though since he's older and has been with the program for the last year.  If Robinson can be a consistent, reliable scorer off the bench this season, that would be a big boost for the team.

Prince Lover

August 5th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

I think Walton and Irvin will have great years. Caris will have a really good year because a lot of pressure will be taken off with the "will he play well enough to leave early" talk will be gone.
A lot of contributions will be made by Wilson and Chapman. I think Robinson will provide a great spark off the bench. Dawkins and MAAR will be better. They are really solid from top to bottom. Really solid.
I think if Doule can really solidify the 5 spot, really improve from a very impressive rookie year, this team will entertain well into March.
I'm really excited for football, but basketball has me giddy too. Can't wait for that 100 days to expire!!


August 6th, 2015 at 4:44 AM ^

He looks like a very good player and is intelligent (on the court and in the classroom).  He is motivated and has worked for this chance.  

He is a knock down shooter that will a great asset for us.