Most of us of a certain age are familiar with the phrase, “Give the Devil his due.” It actually dates back to Shakespeare, but simply stated it means when you admit that someone you do not like or admire does have some good qualities.
The GCAC is a strong basketball conference, each year sending competitive teams to the NAIA national tournament. Of course Dillard has a fierce rivalry with our crosstown UNCF institution Xavier (which always has competitive teams- I’ve got to give those devils their due too). Our newest rivalry began in 2011 when I was named president of Dillard while at Philander Smith. I can recall that spring when Dillard came to play basketball at PSC and they were soundly booed! It was on!
When I got to Dillard our basketball teams struggled (and that’s to put it nicely). But this year we DOMINATED. Men and women won both the regular season and conference titles. So it was natural then that they would be overrepresented for the end of year honors. Which we were, and well deserved.
Alyssa and Adrii were first team selections, both having all around great seasons. Alyssa is half of what we call the “Splash Sisters” and is nearing 1,000 career points. Adrii is our floor general. Alexia, our sole senior starter, made second team honors. She’s a slashing scorer, but plays a great all-around game.
Quenton and Joshua were first teamers for the guys. Q is the only man in the conference who had a triple double this year- in fact, he had 2. Josh has an interesting story, and finished his college career at Dillard, a walking double double. Patrick is completing 4 years at Dillard, and was conference freshman of the year. This was his best year statistically in just about every category.
Dillard alumnus Norbert Rome was conference coach of the year. Numbers don’t lie as he has built a team that was scary good this year, but I think they are poised to be deadlier NEXT year. You can lock it in- they will repeat as GCAC regular season and tournament champions in 2019.
There are lots of stories that accompany this season, a historic one where both teams won all the titles for our conference. Congratulations to all of them.
But I am still upset about the snubs. Our leading scorers from BOTH teams, Shaelynn Moore and Jarori Coleman, both of whom ranked in the top 10 in most statistical categories, were left off of 1st and 2nd teams. Hell, they should have at least made an honorable mention category.
And while our men’s team has won 3 conference tournaments in a row, Mike Newell has not been named coach of the year. Last year really was atrocious because we went 11–1 in conference and simply destroyed everyone. This year, while we always like to win, it would be hard to go against Xavier head coach Alfred Williams. They only won 10 games last year, and this year earned a share of the regular season title and only lost in the championship game. They had the greatest year to year improvement, and yet I learned he received NO votes for coach of the year.
C’mon man! You’ve got to give the devil his due, so awarding a 3rd place coach whose team has the same record as last year, never ranked, and not in the national tournament, doesn’t show excellence; it’s status quo.
I’m a big fan of my students, and I’m always going to stick up for them. Very proud of their hard work and they way they have represented Dillard this year. So the message to our conference is simply give the Bleu Devils their due — ALL of them. Y’all know me- the formal letter of grievance will be filed soon stating for the record my objections and that we need to do better. And we also need to go back to selecting coach of the year based on who wins the regular season championship. The last 2 have been a joke (yeah, I said it).