For those who follow Stanford Basketball recruiting, it's no secret that the team could sorely use a point guard in the class of 2006. While Mitch Johnson returns for the 2006-07 season, gone are Chris Hernandez and Jason Haas. Johnson cannot be expected to play every minute of every game, and there is no clear help among next year's returning players or the recruits signed thus far. Recently, however, a candidate has emerged: Da'veed Dildy of Chicago's Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School.
Throughout King's game against Dyett Academic Center last Friday, Dildy showed why he has begun to draw attention from D-1 schools, including Stanford, Illinois, Seton Hall, Georgetown, and Massachusetts. At both ends of the floor, he put his impressive athletic ability, basketball skills, and team leadership to good use as he led the Jaguars to a 64-59 overtime road victory.
These traits were in evidence even before the opening tip-off. During the pre-game shootaround, the 6'5" 185-pound senior was animated, having fun with his teammates and moving gracefully with a skipping bounce to his step. And as one of three captains for King, he met with referees and Dyett's captains to go over the ground rules for the game.
Once the game was underway, Dildy played with energy and passion and showed a great deal of athleticism, which, while not jaw-dropping, applied very nicely in a basketball context. On offense, he played under control and displayed a quick first step, beating defenders off the dribble; after being stripped going to the basket on one occasion, he was very quick in chasing down and recovering the loose ball. His athleticism was even more obvious on defense, where he guarded the opposing team's point guard about half the time. Though he was beaten off the dribble once or twice by a much smaller guard, he generally moved his feet well on defense, keeping his man in front of him, and on several occasions, he used his long arms to blanket his man. When he was off the ball, he chased his man around relentlessly and was virtually unscreenable, slipping around opponents in a very coordinated way. His quick hands led to two tipped passes (one of them an inbounds pass that he was guarding) and one steal. His leaping ability did not seem especially noteworthy for good or bad, but he quietly managed to come down with an impressive nine rebounds from the guard position. He played fearlessly, throwing himself into crowds to tip additional loose balls to his teammates.
Even more impressive than his athletic ability were his basketball skills. The Jaguars employed a dual-point guard offense, and Dildy brought the ball up and ran the offense about half of the time. He displayed an excellent handle, with the ball looking like a yo-yo at times. He attacked the basket frequently, especially off the catch, where he utilized an array of moves. In addition to a great spin move that he went to often, and a nice behind-the-back dribble that he used to beat a defender, he was several times able to catch a pass and change directions quickly to get past the first line of defense. He made good decisions in traffic at high speed, and, once in the lane, showed some creative moves to get to the basket. His mid-range jump shot looked fine, although he finished just 5-of-14 from the floor overall, including one missed three-pointer.
Despite being guarded by smaller players, Dildy was solid with the ball and had no problem controlling it. Of his two turnovers, one was a traveling call, and on the other, he was intercepted as he attempted to pass while being trapped by two Dyett players along the sideline. In general, he displayed a good touch, with all of his passes right on the mark, and a couple of semi-no-look passes in transition. He finished with four assists but should have had more, but a couple of times, his teammates were either fouled or failed to finish.
The King team had a number of good players, and for most of the game, Da'veed wasn't necessarily Da Man. That changed in the closing minutes. In crunch time, he was the primary ballhandler. With 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied, he fought off numerous opponents for a key defensive rebound, despite a fair amount of contact. With under a minute to play in overtime, he made a big bucket to put his team up by three, and then, at the defensive end, he hustled to a loose rebound to force a jump ball. And with 14 seconds to go and his team still up by three, he got to the free throw line, making one of two to ice the game.
Throughout, Dildy led his team both by instruction and by example. The quarterback talked to his teammates, telling them to box out and to get back on defense, and during one dead ball, he lifted a teammate's arms up to put him in proper position to defend an inbounds pass. He showed good defensive awareness and hustled to close out on jump shooters. When guarding the opposing point guard, he had a big smile on his face and clapped while the ball was being brought up.
An unofficial tally had Dildy with 14 points (including 4-of-6 from the charity stripe), nine rebounds (four offensive), four assists, two turnovers, one steal and one block. He clearly looks like a potential high-major player. It is difficult to compare him to another Stanford player, but it might be appropriate to think of him as a bigger Arthur Lee. Dildy also brings to mind some of the athletic guards who have played for Washington over the past eight years or so. His frame looks like it can support some more weight, and he will need to bulk up in order to withstand the blows that come with attacking the basket. Regardless, he appears worthy of the attention he is receiving and would be a great get for Stanford.
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