I admit that before Saturday I had never heard of Davon Dillard. Him playing up in Gary doesn't give me many chances to see him except for in the state finals, but I walked away impressed. The Class of 2015 prospect has a game that would translate very well over to college and he now has a champion's pedigree to go with it.
First, there are the vitals. He was listed in the program as a 6'4" sophomore, but he played much bigger than that. He definitely can be described as "athletic", as he got well above the rim in Bowman Academy's 86-73 win over Linton-Stockton. Coming into the game he averaged 16 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists for a Bowman team that was better than its 17-9 record.
Bowman Academy is a private charter school that opened in Gary in the past few years and now has won two state championships (Class A in 2010 and Class 2A in 2013) as well as a runner-up to Park Tudor in 2012. Dillard did not play on last year's team that featured DeJuan Marrero and Elijah Ray, so this was his first year at the varsity level. Bowman regularly plays well above its class, taking on Chicago teams and some of the better teams around the state in in-season tournaments. They owned a 74-73 win over Ft. Wayne Northrop and started 2-7 before reaching the state finals at 17-9.
Dillard shoots and extremely high percentage from the field, but a lot of that comes from his athleticism. He was hitting 67.8% from the field coming in (139 of 205) and was 10 of 15 on the day for 24 points. He is not a jump shooter, however. He was only 22.4% from three on the season and 0 for 2 on the day.
Where he gets so many looks is from Bowman's defense. Their game against Linton-Stockton was a clash of styles. Bowman plays a helter-skelter, create-offense-from-defense press that leads to a lot of fast breaks and layups. Linton, on the other hand, was more fundamentally sound and did better in the halfcourt. Dillard has as many steal as assists (three) and added a blocked shot mostly because he can jump so high.
It was hard to say who he was guarding because Everyone was all over the place. Linton's best two players of Dess Fougerousse and Austin Karazsia (who himself is a very interesting late bloomer for 2013) combined for 54 points. Fougerousse was forced into 11 turnovers alone, however, because of the press. Dillard was pretty much unguardable with his speed, size, and strength.
Dillard had two emphatic dunks. One came with 1:16 left and was an exclamation point that made it 84-68 after Linton was trying to get back in the game. The other was a first half dunk. Both were instances where he got well above the rim.
Dillard thrives in a wide-open offense and used his athleticism to simply overpower people. It will be more difficult for him to do at the next level, but over the next two years at Bowman he will play against multiple D-1 players to continue honing his skills. Their regular season is often tougher than their tournament run because they don't run into a 2A team with anywhere close to their talent until the semi-state. They will very likely move up to 3A next year because of the IHSAA's success multiplier.
The Indiana Recruiting Guide has him as the No. 15 player in the state for 2015, but he is rising:
15. Davon Dillard: 6'4" Shooting Guard, Bowman Academy
Interest: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa, DePaul
I love his athleticism, strength, and explosiveness going to the rim. When he gets up in the air, whether it is for a rebound or for a dunk, you better get out of the way. Also, while he isn't a great shooter, he can knock in an open outside shot. Davon is a very talented all-around player that could be one of the best prospects in the state as he puts all of his skills together. Has a college ready body.
Purdue needs to lock down the Region once again. We haven't gotten anyone from up there since E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel, while Mitch McGary, Branden Dawson, and others have gotten away. Dillard would give us a big guard that play the two or the three and he is quick enough to defend the perimeter as well. Because he plays at a 2A school he is a little under the radar, too.