Boys basketball: Davon Dillard making plenty of noise for Bowman
By Tommy WIlliams Post-Tribune correspondent March 12, 2013 11:38PM
Bowman Academy guard Davon Dillard, left, collides with LaVille guard Jeff Haygood in the IHSAA boys North Judson regional game Saturday March 9, 2013 in North Judson, Ind. |Joe Raymond ~For Sun-Times Media
at Huntington North
Class 2A — Tipton (25-2) vs. BOWMAN (16-9), noon, 95.9-FM, 90.5-FM
Class 3A — Fort Wayne Concordia (22-4) vs. ANDREAN (22-3), to follow, 95.9-FM, 90.5-FM
at Lafayette Jeff
Class 1A — Lafayette Central Catholic (18-8) vs. Triton (19-5), 3 p.m.
Class 4A — Carmel (23-2) vs. MERRILLVILLE (22-3), to follow, 95.9-FM, 90.5-FM
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:51AM
GARY — Fort Wayne Bishop Luers should have seen this coming.
The first warning came when Bowman Academy’s 6-4 guard Davon Dillard lit Luers up for 26 points, including five dunks, in the Eagles’ 94-78 win on Jan. 26 at Fort Wayne.
Bowman coach Marvin Rea called it a coming-out party.
A few weeks later, Dillard was largely responsible for Luers’ going-out party. As in going out of the tournament.
In the rematch during the North Judson Regional, for a while, it looked like Luers had figured the kid out.
That is until the third quarter, with Bowman’s Justin King in foul trouble and on the Eagles bench. That’s when Dillard, saddled with foul problems of his own, burned Luers again with 11 of Bowman’s 15 points in the third quarter and 19 points and eight boards for the game.
“Last year we had skilled players and a lot of taller kids, but Devon is a lot more athletic than some of the kids we had last season,” Rea said. “He gives us a burst of energy.”
And because of his big third quarter, he also helped give Bowman earn its second straight trip to the semistate round after an 82-72 regional win.
Not bad for a sophomore who is experiencing his first run as a varsity player.
“I started off bad and got in foul trouble so I knew I had to play smarter,” said Dillard, a transfer from Gary Lighthouse. “I got the mindset that I had to take over the game, so I just played my game and tried to get my teammates involved.”
Which just about describes the Bowman season this year: the bad start (0-4) followed by playing smarter (the Eagles have only lost twice since late December), with Dillard having a hand in taking over a few games. He leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game to go along with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“He came in, worked hard and earned the respect of the team,” Rea said. “Especially when you consider he had to learn a different system and a different coach. He’s adjusted well.”
Adjustments, of course are a two-way street, and Dillard’s teammates have had to adjust to him as well.
Athletically and verbally.
Rea says that Dillard is a talker. Non-stop. To anyone and anybody who will listen.
“The whole team jokes about how much he talks all the time,” Rea said with a laugh.
“One player said after practice that Dillard was talking with a teacher, with the custodian, with the ball boy, anyone that’s around, Dillard’s going to talk to them.”
Which, considering that Dillard is currently taking honors classes at Bowman, plays right into what Dillard says he possibly could do when his basketball career comes to an end.
“My mother says that to learn something you have to ask a lot of questions,” Dillard said. “I enjoy learning and I do like to talk a lot so teaching is something I could do.”
Dillard will get an early jump on his possible future career with semistate class in session Saturday with a matchup with Tipton (25-2 with a seven game winning streak) separating the Eagles from a second straight trip to Indianapolis. Last year’s trip to Indianapolis also was sealed by a semi-state win over the Blue Devils.
Tipton’s dilemma? How to silence a red-hot player who wasn’t on the Bowman roster last year? As any Eagles coach, player, or opponent can tell you, silencing Dillard, whether it’s on or off the floor will take some doing.
“He brings a different dimension to our team,” Rea said. “He’s athletic, he can dunk the ball, he can actually play defense when he wants to play defense, he brings a whole new skill set. He’s very important to the team.”