NEW YORK – After the final seconds ticked away, one
Michigan player celebrated a little differently than everyone
else.

Instead of jumping around at center court, Bernard Robinson held
his right fist up in stoic elation. Instead of sitting in front of
the team picture at center court grasping the trophy, Robinson
snuck in the right corner. Instead of rushing to cut down the net,
Robinson waited his turn, and ended up cutting down the final
threads and then draping the net around his neck as he left the
floor.

“It was the weirdest feeling,” Robinson said.
“I’d never thought I’d be in that
position.”

For the senior, the ending was bittersweet.

On one hand, Robinson had helped the Wolverines bring home their
first banner (besides those taken down by sanctions) since 1989.
But last night’s victory signified the end of
Robinson’s college career after being Michigan’s
“Mr. Everything” for four years.

Robinson has always been one of the Michigan’s most
consistent players, with a scoring average in double digits every
season.

The Washington native played through a couple of the bleakest
seasons in Michigan basketball history. The Wolverines finished
10-18 and 11-18 in Robinson’s first two years. Weeks before
his junior year, the program was placed on probation, and handed a
one-year postseason ban. Then, this past summer, the postseason ban
was extended for another year.

It was later revoked, giving Michigan a chance to play beyond
the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2000. But a few
disappointing losses down the stretch left Robinson and his
teammates in the NIT.

But the Wolverines took advantage of their opportunity to play
this March, winning five straight while playing as well as they
have all season. Robinson’s shooting, passing ability and
defense was a major part of the run.

“I appreciate the team staying and fighting,”
Robinson said. “Believing, no matter what happened all
year.”

Now he and fellow senior and roommate Colin Dill get to go out
as winners.

“It’s something that we’ve talked
about,” Dill said. “We’ve been through a lot here
in our four years, and to be able to end it as a champion is
special. To win (his) last game is something every player thinks
about and wants to do.”

Robinson didn’t play one of his best offensive games last
night, scoring just nine points with two assists. But Robinson did
star on the defensive end, spending the majority of the game on
Rutgers star guard Quincy Douby. Douby came alive in the NIT and
scored a career-high 35 points in Tuesday night’s semifinals.
But Douby was dormant last night, going 1-for-13 from the field
with just two points.

“We have the quickness and size to be able to contain guys
like that,” Michigan guard Daniel Horton said. “And
Bernard did a great job.”

But Robinson said that the fact that it was his last game
didn’t enter his mind at all.

“I was thinking we have to win this game, it’s the
championship,” Robinson said.

But now, it’s over. And through it all, Robinson said he
wouldn’t have it any different.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here at Michigan,”
Robinson said. “I’m glad I didn’t go anyplace
else. I’m glad I’ve been able to be a part of
this.”

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