To be inducted into a Hall of Fame is an honor that lives forever, and basketball player Tayler Hill, coach Larry McKenzie, and official Jim Robinson will receive such recognition as inductees into the 2020 Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hill came onto the scene as a seventh-grader, leading Minneapolis South to the junior varsity and Twin Cities championships. From there she went on to become one of the top players in state history, leaving a legacy that will continue to inspire others.
The former Ms. Basketball (2009) finished her five-year varsity career by scoring 3,888 points, culminating with a 47-point performance in the 2009 Class AAAA state championship game, which South captured in dramatic fashion.
Hill also was named Metro Player of the Year and Miss Basketball that year. After completing a successful four-year career at Ohio State University, Hill went on to play in the WNBA. She completed her eighth season in 2019.
McKenzie has certainly made his mark in Minnesota coaching lore.
It’s one thing to lead a boys’ basketball team to a four-peat, but to then-coach two more championship teams at the school’s archrival is something else. That is what McKenzie accomplished, leading Minneapolis Patrick Henry to Class AAA titles from 2000-2003 and then coaching Minneapolis North to two more Class A crowns in 2016 and 2017.
In addition to his 20-2 record in eight state tournament appearances, McKenzie has a winning percentage of 90.9%. He will definitely go down in history as one of the state’s best ever.
Robinson’s career as a referee, leader, and mentor to countless members of the African American and basketball community is unmatched. He began his career as an official in 1956, proceeding to work his way up through the ranks of high school, Division II and Division III before making his way into the Big Ten Conference.
Robinson was a fixture in the Big Ten from 1971-1987. In 2017, he took on the responsibility of continuing the state’s Mr. Basketball award after the resignation of longtime chairman Ken Lien.
Currently the state basketball rules coordinator for the Minnesota State High School League, Robinson was the first African American to officiate a state tournament game in Minnesota.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.