What makes this situation even worse is that the team had to deal with a DUI last season. Senior forward Hassan Adams was cited for DUI before last season's Pac-10 Tournament. He was later acquitted of the charges, but not before being suspended for the Pac-10 Tournament and causing a huge distraction for the team.
This year it is Dillon who is the distraction.
It is bad enough that the underage Dillon was behind the wheel after drinking. I am not going to pretend that most 20-year olds in college don't drink. That would be naïve, foolish and, frankly, hypocritical. The problem is that he got behind the wheel. The problem is that he should know better.
Dillon has seen enough don't drink and drive campaigns in his life, but he also experienced it first hand with Adams a year ago.
With a team that is already fragile, already reeling, Dillon was dumb. We could debate whether or not Dillon should have been out drinking just hours after finding out that the Wildcats were an eight seed. It was spring break and maybe it is not fair to expect him to forgo normal collegiate activities, even with the Tournament looming. The Cats were not scheduled to practice until mid afternoon, so it is not like he was out drinking before an 8:00 a.m. work out.
That being said, this is a team that has failed to live up to expectations. This is a team who struggled enough down the stretch that they have a potential match-up with defending national champion and the NCAA Tournament's top seeded team Florida in the second round. This is a team that needed to be focused on a difficult road, not a team dealing with the citation and all the attention it generated.
I am not going to pretend guys like Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, Jason Gardner and Mike Bibby were alter boys. Kerr himself has gone on record about some of his crazy exploits while at the UA. I know these guys behaved like normal college students, but I can't see them getting pulled over for a DUI the week of the NCAA Tournament.
Maybe I am wrong, but it seems like times have changed. It seems like this is, in a way, an example of the me-first generation of athletes we keep hearing about.
I don't want to pick on Dillon. By all accounts he is a nice kid, but even if he was just ‘Joe Student' there is no excuse for driving under the influence. In this case the timing was horrible. As of Tuesday night there was no word on Dillon's' status. He practiced with the team on Tuesday but it is not known if he will play Friday against Purdue.
No one from the University is allowed to specifically comment on the situation, and the program is keeping a tight lip on the situation.
This is the second alcohol related incident involving a high profile student athlete this month. Wildcat starting quarterback Willie Tuitama was cited for minor in possession just two weeks ago.
Maybe fans and the media are expecting too much from the athletes we cover and cheer for. Some will say that we need to remember that they are just like any college student and I agree to an extent.
"We expect a certain conduct by our student athletes," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Rocky LaRose. "They're role models."
This weekend Dillon may have been acting like any normal student, but he is not one. Whether he likes it or not he is a role model. Whether he wants the pressure or not, a community hangs on his and his teammate's actions on the basketball court.
Dillon may have acted like a normal college student, but he is not one. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, this week Daniel Dillon is a distraction.