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97 Days to Big Ten Basketball: Michigan's Duncan Robinson Makes Improbable Jump Up From D-III

Not many D-III players transfer up to D-I. Even fewer can land at a prominent program like Michigan. Don't tell Duncan Robinson that though.

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines weren't very good last season. After back-to-back deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, including almost winning it all in 2013, Michigan missed the postseason for the first time since 2010. Of course it didn't help that the team lost Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, as well as suffered a laundry list of injuries while trying to play with a young and inexperienced team. Either way, 16-16 was a disappointing way for the season to go in Ann Arbor after the recent success.

So with that being said, a bit of "feel good" news pertaining to Michigan as transfer Duncan Robinson will be eligible this season after sitting out last year due to the NCAA's transfer rules. Robinson's a wild card of sorts, coming in as a 6'8" wing that has some Michigan fans interested in what he offers. And what is it that Robinson is expected to bring to the table? Well, Robinson's claim to fame is shooting and that's going to be key for a Michigan program that finished 222nd in the nation in field goal percentage and 242th in scoring. While Robinson couldn't participate last season, he shot an electric 45.3% from three and 87.8% from the free throw line his freshman season at Williams College, on pace to scoring 17.1 points per game.

Williams College? Yep, when Robinson didn't land any Division I offers during his high school career he ultimately committed to Williams College, a Division III program. After earning D-III freshman of the year honors, Robinson's stock had risen enough that several coaches confided in his high school coach that they should have offered him. When Robinson's coach at Williams, Mike Maker, left to take the Marist head coaching gig it left Robinson open to the idea of heading elsewhere to continue his career. And even more beneficial for Robinson was the fact that Maker had previously been apart of John Beilein's coaching staff at West Virginia, making the eventual jump to Michigan an actual possibility.

The recruiting process for Robinson didn't net any Division I offers when he was a high school student, but that changed this time around. While several major programs such as Boston College, Creighton and Providence all showed interest, Davidson was the program to offer. When everything was said and done, though, Robinson made the decision to head to Ann Arbor and join Beilein's program.

Beilein initially mentioned that he felt "very fortunate to add Duncan to our program...we love his ability to play multiple positions while also stretching defenses with his 3-point shooting." Just this past offseason, however, Beilein added that Robinson "would have changed a few of our early games immediately." That of course isn't a major surprise as the Wolverines shot 24% from deep in early season losses to Villanova, Eastern Michigan, Arizona and SMU. Having a perimeter threat could have easily propelled Michigan to wins in three of those games and could have changed the entire outlook of Michigan's season instead of burying the team in an insurmountable hole prior to Big Ten play.

It's not guaranteed that Robinson will be a key player for Michigan next season, but his ability to shoot the rock will get him a look and he has the potential to become a legitimate role player in a system well suited for him. The potential combination of another prominent three point specialist to go alongside Aubrey Dawkins and a healthy Caris LeVert has to give Michigan hope towards a better season next year, even more so with a considerable amount of experience returning and the team set to be healthy heading into the season.

It's not very often that a player goes from an under recruited Division III starter and ends up with a Division I program. It's even rarer for that player to net a scholarship at one of the nation's more successful recent programs, with Michigan set to return to the postseason in all likelihood this season after last year's outlier. Robinson's story is definitely a 'feel good' story to watch heading into the season, even more so if Robinson can become a key contributor to the Wolverines this season.