12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 10, 2004
The Family Gu
Senior co-captain Colin Dill proves you don't have to be the star of the team to make your presence felt
By Daniel Bremmer Daily Sports Editor
Michigan senior co-captain
Colin Dill is more than
willing to joke about enter-
ing the NBA draft after the year is
done - a pretty unrealistic plan. The
truth is that Dill plans on attending
law school when he's done with his
undergraduate degree at Michigan.
Dill's sense of humor is prevalent
in much of what he does and has
become a way to lighten up his team
and those around him.
"It's easy to get caught up in the
pressure," Dill said. "Guys get really
stressed out, and I think we're a bet-
ter team when we're not too uptight."
Last month at a practice that was
open to media members, Dill was
answering questions over his cell
phone. After Dill hung up, one
reporter asked him who had been at
the other end of the line.
"It was Dan Patrick - he wanted
to get a few quotes from me (for his
ESPN radio show)," Dill joked.
All in the Family
Dill can be more serious when the
situation calls for it off of the court.
Since the start of his Michigan
career, Dill has had to cope with
the death of each of his four grand-
Though painful, these experiences
prepared the captain for a very tough
task - helping his roommate and
teammate, senior Bernard Robinson,
cope with his father's death after a
year-long battle with cancer over
Spending Christmas with the Dill
family, Robinson was in Saginaw
when he heard the news of his
father's death, which came on
Christmas day. Unable to make the
long trip home to Washington, over
many vacations, Robinson spent
extended periods of time with Dill
and his family.
"I think they treat me as if I'm a
part of their family, with a lot of
love," Robinson said.
Even though Dill had gone through
similar grieving periods with the
deaths of his grandparents, it was
much harder to deal with the passing
of a good friend's father. Dill's parents
were able to initially comfort Robin-
"I was shocked and unprepared
when Bernard told me what had hap-
pened, so I was fortunate that my
mom and dad were there to help him
out and to talk to him," Dill said. "I
felt just as bad as he did, so I was
glad they were there to help him
Robinson also recalls being thank-
ful that the Dills were there to sup-
"I was glad I was at a situation like
that when I found that news out,
rather than being alone, and not
knowing what to do," Robinson said.
"It was tough. They showed a lot of
care. It kind of surprised me that
they cared that much. It was definite-
ly tough, but they wanted to know
what was going on, and they showed
After getting over the initial shock
of the bad news, Dill comforted
Robinson by helping him keep his
father with him in the future.
"What they've told you and what
they've taught you is how they'll live
on in your life forever," Dill said.
"That's how they stay involved in
The Odd Couple
Although they've gone through
some rough times together, most of
Dill and Robinson's relationship is
much more lighthearted. The two
have lived together for three years
and have grown accustomed to each
other's mannerisms and actions.
Robinson studies with the
television on. Dill
would rather study in
a quiet, library-
that Robinson eats all his food and
uses all his toiletries. Robinson is
quick to point out that Dill domi-
nates the thermostat.
Robinson doesn't shut the lights or
the television off. Dill has to turn
everything off for the both of them
when they leave the house.
But neither fails to own up to his
"I don't have the desires to walk
over there and turn the TV off (when
I leave)," Robinson said. "I figure
I'll be back, (and) the TV will be on
when I get back."
No chance of using the remote to
turn it off?
"Sometimes you can't find the
remote, or sometimes it's by the TV,
so it defeats the purpose," Robinson
said. "I always come back and its off,
so I know Colin turned it off. He's
been doing it for three years, so he
can do it for one more year."
Robinson also has issues with
Colin and the temperature at which
he keeps their apartment.
"He definitely keeps the air on
about 40-below zero, all the time,"
Robinson said with a smile. "I know
when it's cold, Colin turned it down,
so I turn it back up until he turns it
Dill and Robinson are comfortable
enough with one another to playfully
rib each other now, but it wasn't
always as easy living together. Dur-
ing their first year as roommates,
Robinson and Dill's contrasting
styles led to some minor disagree-
ments during their sophomore year.
"That happens with anybody,"
Robinson said. "Any person who
lives with a person for the first time,
isn't used to certain things. Then,
once you get used to them, you're
used to them."
Now, the biggest argument is
over who is better at H-O-R-S-E.
q "It's kind of a rivalry that
' we've been having back and
forth," Dill said. "He thinks he's
the better jumpshooter, but I'd
say that I'm head and shoulders
above him when it comes to
shooting and playing horse."
Growing up, Dill was
always in the game when it
was all on the line. So coming
off of the bench and being one
of the team's last options was
a tough change for him.
But the senior exhibits a very
mature, team-oriented approach. If it
gives the team a better chance to win,
Dill welcomes being one of the last
guys off the bench.
"I was a player who, when I was
younger, was that go-to guy, and I've
seen it now from both ends," Dill
said. "I kind of feel like I know what I
have to do to make sure that this team
performs at the highest level.
"This has always been a lifelong
goal of mine. To play here, and then
to be named captain - it's kind of
like I'm living out a dream right now."
Dill's role might not show up in the
box score, but his leadership is para-
mount to the team's success.
"I think he recognizes and
embraces and enjoys his role on the
team," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "He recognized that it
won't be so much on actual playing
time, but it will be on more of a daily
basis and things behind the scene that
everyone else won't see."
The team's two co-captains, Dill
and junior J.C. Mathis, have contrast-
ing styles. Mathis's style is very direct
and very loud - he often yells ener-
getically at all of his teammates in a
group and is one of the loudest voices
in the lockerroom.
Dill's style is more personal and
more one-on-one. You won't see him
yelling in the lockerroom, and you'll
rarely see him yell at a practice.
"In practice, I definitely have more
of a hands-on role," Dill said. "I'm
actively out there on the court, talking
to guys, pushing them and trying to
lead by example."
Said sophomore Graham Brown:
"You can tell that he really cares
about his teammates. You need
somebody like that, who really cares
about his teammates and will do
anything for you. And just knowing
that, gives a little more stability on
And every Wolverine knows that
Dill can play the game. He's been
known to "light it up" in practice,
according to Brown, and often plays
the role of the other team's best shoot-
er on the "scout" team that plays
against the Michigan starters every
day in practice.
Despite playing in just 22 games
in his career, Dill has gained experi-
ence from spending nearly four years
on the team and going through the
rigors of a tough schedule as a stu-
Dill doesn't believe that seeing
such little game action throughout his
career is a strike on his record.
"I might not have played in these
games, but I've been through all of
them, and I've gone to all these gyms,"
"oosoy U"yRYAN S/Daily (oove, ana iDAI DUMAN/Daily (Ieft)
Though senior co-captain Colin Dii has seen action in just 22 games In his career,
his contributions outside of game day have made a big impact on his team.
Dill said. "I can prepare (my team-
mates) and tell them what they can
expect to see. So I think that's probably
what my game-day role has (become)."
Although most of Dill's teammates
have seen more gam'- action, they still
have a tremendous amount of respect
for the senior leader.
"He's a lot older than me, and he's
been through a lot more than me,"
freshman Courtney Sims said. "I
might've played more minutes than he
has, even in his career, but he's still
been through a lot more than me, so he
always has a lot of advice to give me."
Dill is used to being surrounded by
great players. As a sophomore at
Detroit Country Day High School,
Dill played on the same team as
Shane Battier, who went on to be a
captain at Duke and now plays for the
Dill also picked up some pointers
on being a captain from his father,
Craig, who was a captain and an All-
American while at Michigan from
1964 to '67.
Whether it's at practice or at home,
in a serious situation or a lighthearted
moment, Dill keeps his life in per-
And even if Dan Patrick or an NBA
team doesn't come calling, Dill hopes
that his leadership and experience
gained in his time as a captain will
help him one day in the courtroom.