Dillard Notable #7 of 2017: The Resurgence of Dillard Basketball

This news story from February really said it all — we saw a resurgence of Dillard men’s basketball, something that we have not seen in many years.

The official notice came on January 28th. Our cross town rival had dominated the series as of late, but the previous year saw us win the conference tournament. At Xavier, on their floor, we delivered a 33 point beat down, the largest margin of victory in 48 years.

We won 11 of 12 conference games. The only loss came on the road against my old school, Philander Smith College. Although we lost, that was the BEST college basketball rivalry game I have attended as a president, period. The gym was packed, the game went down to the wire, and after the game the Philander students danced outside our team bus like they won the championship.

We made sure that WAS their championship.

We entered the conference tournament as the number one seed and played PSC in the finals. The 21 point beating could have been worse, but we got the point across. The victory was even sweeter because the conference hated on us! LOL We didn’t get the Player of the Year or Coach of the Year, but had 2 first team, 2 second team, and 2 all-defensive team. And for the tournament, we had four of the 6 all-tournament team.

While we were whipping Philander I did my best Trump impersonation (but using real facts) to ask why Newell, 11–1 in conference and winner of the regular season (and ultimately tournament) championship wasn’t coach of the year when since 2011–12 every coach that has won the regular season won coach of the year.

We ended the regular season ranked #7 and headed back to the national tournament. Unfortunately, the second round did us in again with a 10 point loss to a tough Langston team, but we had a memorable season and ended ranked #11.

We had a number of local newspaper and TV stories, and even this story in the Memphis paper. And the stats on the year were impressive. As a team, we ranked nationally:

#1 in total assists

#2 in scoring offense and assists per game

#3 in total scoring offense

#7 in field goal percentage

#8 in blocks per game and 3 pt FG percentage

#9 in rebound margin

We also had some impressive individual accolades as well:

Demetric Austin- #8 in points per game, #15 in defensive rebounds per game, #16 in total rebounds per game

Jalen McGaughy- #1 in blocks per game, #3 in field goal percentage (an unusual combination that he is using professionally in Japan this year)

Dennis Hightower- #2 in assists per game, #6 in assist-turnover ratio.

The 25–8 record was a long way from my first year when we won 5 games, my second year when we won 4, and my third year when we won 5! We snuck up on people the past 2 years but now they are ready for us. Right now we’re 7–6 after a brutal first half playing 5 teams either ranked or receiving votes for ranking, although we got a victory over the #2 team in the nation. But hopefully with guys returning from injuries and transfers becoming eligible, we can make a run in 2018.

HAIL DILLARD!

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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