WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams College men's basketball coach Mike Maker can be flexible when he needs to be.
Duncan Robinson has been starting at a forward position since day one, while point guard Mike Greenman has started since replacing the injured Hayden Rooke-Ley.
"Truthfully, a lot has been made of the fact that in my tenure, we haven't started a freshman," said Maker. "We've had a lot of good ones."
Freshmen like graduates James Wang and Nate Robertson and preseason All-Americans in seniors Taylor Epley and Mike Mayer did not get to do what Robinson and Greenman have been able to do.
What is undeniable is that both Robinson and Greenman have put an indelible mark on a Williams team that is 21-3, shared the NESCAC regular-season title with Amherst and is ranked ninth in the latest D3hoops.com poll.
Robinson, from New Castle, N.H., came to Williams as the only one of the New England Recruiting Report's Top 50 players who did not go to a Division I school. Robinson is eighth in NESCAC in scoring (16.7 points), seventh in field goal percentage (.564), second in free-throw percentage (.887) and he leads the league in 3-point percentage (.493).
Twice, Robinson has been a NESCAC player of the week, and he's the only freshman in the conference in the top 10 of scoring, rebounding, field goal, free throw and 3-point shooting percentage.
"It definitely still can get better if we keep winning games, that's for sure," Robinson said before practice on Wednesday. "It's been unbelievable.
Robinson has started 22 of the Ephs 24 games. He did not start in December against Washington College, but came off the bench to score 15 points in an 84-76 win. He did not play in Williams' win at Wesleyan on Feb. 15. His first start was the opener against Southern Vermont.
"It was an unbelievable feeling, something I had been looking forward to for a long time," he said. "When I first went out there, I was so full of emotion and energy. I think that first game, it was definitely moving fast."
Greenman came to Williams from Linwood, N.J., and comes from a basketball family. His older brother Scott played at Princeton and is an assistant coach at American University.
The freshman, who won a gold medal for the United States at the Maccabi Games, the "Jewish Olympics," was the first guard off the bench until Rooke-Ley broke his left, or shooting, hand in a win over Colby.
"My first start was a tad nerve-racking," said Greenman, whose first start came five days later, "especially against our archrival Amherst. That's a big first game to start.
"After the first five to seven minutes, the nevers kind of wore down and then it was back in I was playing a basketball game."
With Greenman in the starting lineup, the Ephs haven't lost since that game against the Lord Jeffs. He has a 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference games and is averaging almost five points per game.
And then there's freshman Dan Aronowitz from Columbus, Ohio, who still comes off the bench. Aronowitz saw more playing time recently when Epley suffered a minor injury. Aronowitz averages 9.5 minutes per game, but that could increase in the postseason.
"I think the first-year trio has really had a substantial impact on our program amidst numerous injuries to key veteran players," said Maker. "Without that trio, I can't imagine where we'd be today."
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