Robinson '13 and Hill '13 Advance into March Madness Sweet Sixteen

Former teammates Duncan Robinson '13 and Jordan Hill '13 look back on their time in Exeter as they step on to basketball's biggest stage.

By
Brian Muldoon
March 21, 2017
Phillips Exeter Academy Alums Duncan Robinson '13 and Jordan Hill '13

Duncan Robinson '13 (left) and Jordan Hill '13 (right) helped lead Big Red to the first NEPSAC Class A Title in program history in 2013. 

Several years after teaming up to help propel Exeter boys basketball to its most successful season in program history, Jordan Hill ’13 and Duncan Robinson ’13 have continued to find success on the biggest stage. Both Hill and Robinson have helped their respective teams earn a pair of victories and advance to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.

Hill, currently a redshirt-junior at the University of Wisconsin, and his Badgers topped Virginia Tech 84-74 in the opening round before dispatching top-seed, and defending National Champion, Villanova University in the second round 64-61.

Robinson, a senior at the University of Michigan, helped the Wolverines edge past Oklahoma State University 92-91 in the first round while upsetting second-seeded University of Louisville 73-69 in second round play on Sunday afternoon.

The duo are used to winning games on a big stage as they were part of Big Red’s first championship squad in program history, leading Exeter to a 25-1 record and locking up a NEPSAC Class A title back in 2012-13. Now as they both play in the Big Ten Conference, the former teammates square off against each other at least twice a season.

“It’s always cool to go up against each other,” said Hill. “You definitely take a moment to look back and remember where we were and how far we’ve come since being at Exeter together.”

Those memories, along with well wishes, are relived quickly before the tip-off of each meeting.

“Whether we play in Michigan or over in Madison, we always have a little moment before the game where we just talk and catch up,” added Robinson of their brief encounters. “The year we spent at Exeter was a special one. It meant a lot to us as basketball players but also as teenagers growing up. We’ve shared a lot of memories together and it is always fun to just rehash them when we get to see each other.”

That special year they experienced here at Exeter ignited a strong tradition of basketball for the program as the team has won three Class A championships over the past five seasons, including this year’s title win over Suffield Academy just two weeks ago.

“I’m so proud of this program,” Hill said of his extended Big Red basketball family. “I watched the championship online this year and all I could think about was how we felt when we finished our season. We got our trophy, gave Coach a huge hug, and we were all so excited – I don’t think Duncan missed [a shot] at all that day. The whole year was something really special and I’m glad I had a chance to be a part of it and do it with the guys we had.”

Robinson also looks back fondly at his time in Exeter playing under Coach Jay Tilton, and starting a new position of prominence for Big Red basketball.

“That year was so awesome. I love Coach Tilton and still stay in touch with him quite a bit,” said Robinson. “To bring him his first championship was such a special moment for us as a team. But to see how he has been able to build it up so much since then, I’d like to think our group had something to do with that. That year meant so much to our team.”

Robinson and the Wolverines will open the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday night with a 7:09p tip-off against third-seeded University of Oregon while Hill and the Badgers will cap-off the round with a duel against fourth-seeded University of Florida at 9:59p on Friday.

“The NCAA Tournament is such a fun experience to be a part of,” said Robinson, who played in his first March Madness Tournament last year. “For three weeks out of the year the entire nation is keyed in on college basketball and I’m thankful to have this opportunity.” 

Images courtesy of mgoblue.com and uwbadgers.com, respectively.