"Center Court" with Da'Veed Dildy (#32)

Showing the results of intensive preseason literary conditioning, The Bootleg's Kevin Danna presents yet another outstanding Stanford hoops player interview, shining the spotlight this time on redshirt junior point guard Da-Veed Dildy. Read on to learn Dildy's expected role for the upcoming 2009-10 season.

"Center Court" with Da'Veed Dildy (#32)

When you think about Da'Veed Dildy, you probably think of a versatile and athletic guard who provides quality minutes off the bench.  What you might not realize, however, is that Dildy is one of the longest-tenured players on the Stanford Basketball team.  Along with Landry Fields and Drew Shiller, Da'Veed is one of three players that have been on the team for four seasons.  With that experience comes a lot of wisdom, as the redshirt junior guard out of Chicago can tell you all the intangibles that have made and will continue to make Stanford a successful hoops program. 

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Dildy can explain concisely how Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins was successful in leading the Cardinal to a 20-win campaign in his first season at the helm on the Farm. "I think Coach Dawkins is really into the intricacies of the game," states Da'Veed, "We watch a lot of film, and we do a lot of work with film to see how we can get better… In practice, there's a lot of teaching and he's pretty good at making basketball concepts easy to understand".

Paying close attention to Coach Dawkins' every word, the 6'4'' veteran remembers one salient point the former Duke All-American and National Player of the Year made at the end of the season - it all comes down to stopping the other team from putting the biscuit in the basket.

"Last year coach showed us a graph that every time [with exception to Washington State on the road] we held a team under 65 points [in conference], we won, and every time we let a team score more than 65 points, we lost", remarks Dildy, "So team defense is very important, since we don't have shot-blockers like Brook and Robin anymore".

But, being the veteran that he is, Da'Veed also knows that the responsibilities don't lie solely with the head coach and his emphasis on the keys to victory; the onus is also on the players themselves to go out on the floor and execute the game plan.  Nothing a little hard work can't solve, though.

"Our goal this year has to be to outwork guys and put in a 'team effort' ", Da'Veed replied when asked about what it will take for Stanford Basketball to have a victorious run in 2009-2010, also noting that having complete confidence in each other to get the job done will also be of utmost importance.

That last point, trusting each other's abilities, is something that comes easy to the Cardinal.  As many players have pointed out in previous interviews for The Bootleg, having just about every member of the squad stick around the area for the summer to participate in off-season weight-lifting, conditioning, and pick-up basketball has not only helped to keep guys in game shape, but also to strengthen the chemistry of an already tightly-knit team. 

Da'Veed is quick to support that statement, noting that "This summer, everybody worked hard together and everybody held each other accountable."

While Da'Veed did spend the majority of the time during our interview waxing eloquent on team philosophies, he did let us know his individual role on the floor for the upcoming season.  Bouncing around the backcourt and even playing a little at the "3" in practice for the last three years and in games for two out of the last three seasons (Da'Veed played as a true freshman in 2006-07, but used a redshirt year in 2007-2008), the Illinois native will primarily play at the "1" in 2009-2010.  "I'm going to be playing point guard this year", Dildy said, "So with that, my main role will be to bring toughness". 

oughness is definitely something Da'Veed has brought to the table during his time on The Farm.  In practice, the former four-time all-conference high school football quarterback has played notably tough defense on the ball and is very cerebral in off-the-ball situations, rarely missing his assignment.

And oh, by the way, he can play some offense too.  While he hasn't put up staggering numbers yet on The Farm, he has an ability to get to the hole and his shot has been steadily improving ever since he arrived on campus, thanks to countless hours of work on "The Gun", a machine that rebounds missed and made shots (provided that they don't bounce over the netting of the machine), allowing players to get off a higher volume of shots in a shorter amount of time. 

In addition to his current arduous efforts to improve his offensive game at Stanford, Stanford's lone Chi-City representative (not counting team managers Anthony Clarke and Brandon Jackson) had a prolific career at Martin Luther King High School, averaging 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists as a senior en route to all-conference, all-city, and all-star accolades (awards he received on multiple occasions).

But there is much more to Mr. Dildy than just sports.  A "Science, Technology, and Society" major (an interdisciplinary subject that includes both "techie" and "fuzzy" classes in its curriculum), he has always put a priority on schoolwork and would have most definitely been on the Pac-10 All-Academic team had he played more minutes in 2008-09 (All-Academic team members must have a GPA over 3.0 and be "significant contributors" to their team, a term that is very much open to interpretation if you ask this writer!).  His academic prowess is largely due to the foundation laid by his parents at an early age. 

"My parents have been a big influence on my life," Dildy says, "in high school, my parents told me I had to get grades first before I could concentrate on athletics".

Being a strong student and an experienced player makes Da'Veed an easy candidate to serve as one of the team's leaders, an area in which he already has a wealth of experience.  As a two-sport athlete at Martin Luther King, Dildy was a team captain for both his football and basketball teams all throughout high school, something extremely rare since captain honors are usually bestowed only upon seniors.  Well-versed in leadership roles, Da'Veed is able to keep it simple for those wondering what it takes to be a teammate to whom others look up. 

"It just takes hard work because that's what the guys respect, and you have to know your assignments on defense as well".

Well said, Veed. When you have as much experience as #32 does, it's easy to break things down and get to the core of what is absolutely necessary for the team to thrive.

About the Author: Kevin Danna, Stanford '09, started out as a student manager-in-training for the Men's Basketball Team on October 14, 2005, and has lived and breathed Stanford Basketball ever since. From doing laundry to filming practice to working summer camps, he has been involved with many facets of the Men's Basketball program.  Upon retirement from his manager position on March 25, 2009 at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, Kevin took an undeservedly prolonged break from any kind of work and eventually got his degree from The Farm in Spanish.  Shaking off the cobwebs of five months of laziness, Kevin has started working as a play-by-play and color broadcaster for gostanford.com, calling home contests (in English) for several Stanford sports.  He also hosts a sports talk show on 90.1 FM KZSU from 9-10pm every Tuesday entitled "The Sports Zoo", as well as a music show called "408's Finest" immediately following sports talk from 10pm-Midnight.  An alumnus of San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, Kevin proudly admits that he currently lives at home in San Jose with his parents and cat.

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