GARY | It's like Michelangelo doing graffiti on an old wall at a Gary gas station that went out of business six years ago. Or Bob Dylan singing a remake of a Katy Perry ditty.
That's the feeling I've gotten watching Bowman Academy sophomore Davon Dillard play this year. His game is art, but missing a crucial element of what makes basketball beautiful.
“Davon is a great kid and a great basketball player,” Bowman coach Marvin Rea said, "but he plays high school basketball like it's an AAU game.”
You know AAU, where kids race down the court hoping some scout sitting in the stands will notice when they posterize an opponent. Well scouts notice Dillard, an off-the-charts hoops freak, doing things that most players can't even think of — but one still learning that high school basketball is very different from the AAU game.
“People say how athletic I am and how great I can be," Dillard said, "but I'm learning it's not about the 'Oohs' and 'Ahhs.' It's about helping my team win.”
Against Morton, Dillard missed four dunks — three of which could've been simple layups — but he made six dunks against Fort Wayne Luers. This is his yin and yang.
Most every major college program has this young man on their radar, but his fundamentals must improve if he wants North Carolina to keep calling, . Today's Class 2A state championship game against Linton-Stockton would be the perfect time for the full Dillard to show.
“It's very important for Davon to stay within himself and not try and do too much,” Rea said. “He's averaging 16 points a game and he's only playing two quarters a game. If he gets lazy or relies on himself too much I have to sit him down.
“Then, sometimes I tell the kids 'It's Dillard Time.' Let's ride him awhile.”
Rea said it's up to him to decide whether it's Dillard Time or not Dillard time. Maybe. This kid is too good to let someone else to make that decision.
“This is the perfect program for me, a great coach and a great tradition,” Dillard said. “(Rea) has taught me a lot of things. I'm more of an offensive guy. Not so much defense. AAU ball is more of a showcase. It's all about that."
One thing is certain: Dillard will get a dunk today that will bring a loud cheer from the fans in Indy. That will have nothing to do with whether the Eagles win or not.
It will come down to Dillard's shot selection, not taking bad fouls like he did against Tipton last Saturday and playing defense like the rest of his team.
That is what will win or lose this game.
It is extremely difficult to win an Indiana high school basketball state championship. Really, it's almost impossible. It is a worthy goal.
Getting a dunk that goes on a poster is boring. Happens all the time. If it didn't, ESPN's "SportsCenter" would have to find something else to broadcast.
Davon Dillard needs to play a smart, athletic, team game. If he does, the Bowman Academy Eagles can win another state championship.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.