Thursday, October 4, 2012

Robinson Commits to Williams

One of New Hampshire's top basketball recruits for the Class of 2013 has made his college decision - and he has committed to the #1 ranked liberal arts college in the country according to U.S. News.

Duncan Robinson is a 6-foot-7 wing player from New Castle, NH. He attended Governor's Academy in Newbury, MA for the past 4 years and is now doing a post-grad year at Phillips Exeter Academy. Robinson has quietly worked hard on his game over the past 4 years to become one of the region's most intriguing prospects. He got recruited by Division I, II and III schools and even received a full scholarship offer. But last weekend he verbally committed to Williams College, following a visit to the school.

Robinson had a big AAU season this spring / summer playing for the Middlesex Magic. The team was coached by Michael Crotty Jr., who was the point guard on the Williams team that won the NCAA D-III National Championship.

"I was very lucky to have someone like Coach Crotty to help me out with the entire process" said Robinson, who was also considering Brown, Columbia, Merrimack, Middlebury, Bates and Amherst. "When I first began playing with the Middlesex Magic back in the Spring Crotty had told me a little bit about his background, including the incredibly successful career he had at Williams. He talked about his National Championship run, and the incredible experience he had both on and off the court there. The more stories I heard, the more I wanted to be apart of them. It really seemed like a place that I could succeed in basketball and academics. It really felt like the perfect fit for me. However, Crotty NEVER pushed the idea of Williams on me, but instead he let me make my own decision. He constantly encouraged me to take other visits to other schools that way I could get a feel for what I was really looking for in a college."

There is no question that playing with the Magic helped Robinson get recruited.

"In terms of Duncan I will start by saying that coaching him has been a true pleasure" said Coach Crotty. "He is an outstanding young man, first and foremost. He comes from a great family and he is the kind of person that people gravitate towards off the court because of his terrific personality. As a player he is unselfish, hard working, and completely supportive of each one of his teammates. When I first met Duncan he was a player that could shoot and had a high basketball IQ, and in the year we spent together his game grew immensely. I urged him at every practice and in games to be aggressive and shoot the ball with the utmost confidence, knowing that this would be key to him taking his game to the next level. I also spoke with him about working on ball handling and adding strength to his body. Duncan took the coaching and showcased his amazing work ethic as he worked relentlessly on his ball handling, took thousands of shots, and started a consistent weight training program. His confidence and aggression grew immediately, and as the Spring blended into the Summer he continued to add pieces to his game. He is heralded as a great long distance shooter and he certainly is, however, his ability to use his shot fake and to create off the dribble became a true weapon for him. He developed a great pull-up jumper, and he has great court vision and size which makes him a terrific passer. Duncan played great basketball for the Middlesex Magic all year, and coaches were taking notice of Duncan's ability as early as April. Duncan did have a breakout performance at the 3rd Annual Mike Crotty Sr. Memorial game, as he was outstanding in all aspects of the game. He made six three pointers, rebounded the ball on both ends of the floor, created for teammates, and putting an exclamation point on his performance was his drive down the lane after an offensive rebound that he finished with an emphatic two hand dunk. Playing in a game that had over 20 college players, Duncan stood out as he showcased his complete game and overall ability."

The Magic made a lot of noise this past AAU season and Robinson has fond memories of playing for them.

"Playing for the Magic was one of the best decisions I have ever made" said Robinson. "It was before the best and most fun AAU season I have ever had. Coach Crotty is an unbelievable coach and his leadership and knowledge of the game is second to none. Playing for the Magic gave me the opportunity to really grow as a player. I played alongside incredibly unselfish players that always had the teams best interest in mind. Because of this we were able to win a lot of games and win some for competitive tournaments. At every one of our games coaches would line the sidelines because they loved watching us play our unselfish brand of basketball. This helped me gain lots of exposure and get recruited by some incredible schools."

Robinson played for the Magic alongside Harry Rafferty (Durham, NH) and Chris Braley. All 3 of them will also be playing together this winter at Phillips Exeter.

"I have known Harry since the 5th grade" explained Robinson. "We played middle school basketball together and Rye Junior High and have been great friends ever since. It has been incredible watching each other grow as players. We know exactly how the other plays and this chemistry gives us an advantage over our opponents. As for Chris I have been playing with him since the winter of last year. Since then we have played together all spring and summer and have belt a great relationship both on and off the court. He has been a great friend to me and really has helped in my transition to Exeter. I can't wait for the season here to start. The three of us had a great spring and summer and we are all really looking forward to continuing our success into this winter season and win a Class A championship. As for the rest of the Exeter team, we have by far the best chemistry of any team I have ever been on. We always look out for each other, and we do whatever it takes to win!"

Robinson has definitely come a long way as a player over the past 4 years.

"When I was a freshman at Governors I was a 5'7 point guard" said Robinson. "I could still shoot it pretty well and played smart, but my game was nowhere near what it is today. Throughout the years I have grown approximately 3 inches per year and I am now 6'7. This growth period was challenging, because I was forced to transition from a PG to SG and I am now more of a wing player. However, this late growth spurt gave me the opportunity to be a very unique player. Today I like to consider myself a skilled 3 who can score in a lot of different ways. This added length has also given me an advantage on the defensive end. Although I am not always the quickest player defensively I use my long arms and basketball IQ to make smart plays to shut down my man."

Robinson has worked extremely hard to get where he is, but he has also had a strong support system.

"My dad has most definitely helped influence my game the most" Robinson explained. "He has always encouraged me to work on my weaknesses, whether it be my ball handling, left hand, post game or pull up game he always is there encouraging me and pushing me to become a better player. Both Coach Tilton and Coach Crotty have helped me really develop a better IQ for the game and use my basketball knowledge and smarts to beat a defender that may be stronger or faster than I am. As for Coach Mike Williams (Governors) he is fully responsible for the toughness I have built over the years. He forced me to become a tougher player both physically and mentally. Without that aspect of my game I know I would not be the same player I am today."

As a result Robinson has become a scholarship level player. He is going to play for Williams, which is consistently one of the top D-III teams in the country. They have gone 93-22 over the past 4 years under head coach Mike Maker. However, Williams is also one of the top academic schools in the nation, so Robinson has had to work just as hard in the classroom as he has on the basketball court.

"I am definitely nowhere near the smartest kid but my success in the classroom is mainly attributed to my work ethic" Robinson told the NH Notebook. "I make sure to give 100 percent on all my school work because I have been taught since a young age: without an education it becomes a lot more difficult to do the things you want to do in life. At Williams I am not entirely sure what I want to study but I am leaning towards Economics. I think business would be a good fit for me because I am a very outgoing personality. My GPA at Governors was a 3.55 and I finished every semester in High Honors."

Being from New Castle, Robinson would have attended Portsmouth High if he went to public school. Portsmouth won the Division II NH state title in 2012 and has made 4 straight trips to the final four. It is scary to think how good those Clippers teams would have been with Robinson in the lineup. Still, Robinson thinks he made the right decision to attend Governor's instead.

"My decision to go to Governors was a very difficult one" Robinson said. "After graduating 8th grade, most of my friends were going to Portsmouth High but I was one of the few who chose to spend their high school years elsewhere. I chose Governor's because it seemed as though it was a great fit for me. The basketball was very competitive and going there put me in an academic environment that would prepare me for college. It gave me the chance to grow as a student, player and person. As for Portsmouth, Every time I see an article on Portsmouth basketball in the paper I wonder what it would have been like if I had gone there. I am very happy for guys like Kamahl Walker, Kyle Dicesare and Charlie Duprey who won the D-II title this past year and I would have loved to have played with them. However, I don't regret my decision to leave at all. Going to Governors was one of the most difficult/best decisions I have ever made. Governors put me through a lot of difficult times both in the classroom and on the court and I wouldn't be the person I am today with out this invaluable experiences.

Doing a PG year at Phillips Exeter enabled Robinson to gain a diploma from one of the top academic prep schools in the U.S.

"As for Exeter, I had been told by many coaches that another year of high school would benefit me greatly" Robinson explained. "I was still growing into my body and just beginning to add strength and muscle to my frame. It also gave me the opportunity to compete for a New England championship alongside two of my closest friends!"

The PG year also allowed him to get an extra year of AAU. That way he could keep playing with Rafferty, Braley and for Coach Crotty on the Magic. Crotty has had a front row seat to not only Robinson's recruitment, but also his development as a player.

"In terms of his recruitment, Williams was there from the beginning" said Coach Crotty. "They knew he was a terrific student going to a post graduate year at Phillips Exeter, and Coach Maker reached out to let me know how interested they were in watching him. They followed our team around all year long and saw his talents as well as the continued growth of his game. In the Summer Duncan continued to play great basketball, helping the Middlesex Magic capture the Basketbull National HOF Championship, and leading us in the Super Showcase in Orlando. Many college coaches took a serious interest in Duncan, and Williams' interest continued to grow. Duncan had a lot of amazing options for college, and I am thrilled that he has found a school that has the blend of academics and athletics that Williams has. He called me after his visit and told me that he knew it was the place for him, and the coaching staff, players, campus, and all other factors were just the perfect fit. As an alum of Williams I know that Duncan is going to have an amazing experience because the people that make Williams the place that is is are all amazing people. I know Duncan will be a success on and off the court, and the entire Middlesex Magic family is really proud of him!"

Congratulations to Duncan, and best of luck to him at Williams!

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