Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where Are They Now - Bryant Dillon

The five months between Basketball and Football season can be kind of dull for Boilermaker fans.  Luckily for you, we're here to quench your thirst of all things Purdue by looking back at (and following up with) one of the worst teams in Purdue history - the 2005-2006 Men's Basketball team.

Past Where Are They Now Posts:
Part 1 - Matt Kiefer
Part 2 - Nate Minnoy
Part 3 - Korey Spates
Part 4 - Marcus White
Part 5 - Chris Lutz
Part 6 - Gary Ware
As we round the turn and begin the second half of the 2005-2006 men's basketball team, by now we realize our niche.  You all read the site for the "Where Are They Now" posts (since there's little else for us to rant/comment about in the slow summer), so we're going to (hopefully) start posting these with less delay so we can finish with this team and cover some other men (and women!) of interest.

Our seventh installment of the Worst Year Ever edition features the team's starting point guard, but due to his quiet nature and short time at Purdue, some of you probably don't even remember him.

Bryant Dillon went to high school in Indianapolis and earned all-city honors and all-state honorable mention in 2001.  As a 6'6" combo guard with a 6'10" wingspan, he showcased length that could cause match-up problems, but had to work on this jump shot and overall skills. Also, at only 180 pounds, he was thin as a rail. Out of high school he was a two star recruit and didn't have an offer from Purdue, but Iowa wanted him if he'd commit to one year of prep school, and Bowling Green (led by this schmuck) were the front runner for his talents.  Instead, Dillon went to Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) where he received a lot of praise from coach Jay Harrington, who's amassed over 700 wins at the school. After a nice freshman season, there was chatter that Dillon may come to Purdue after his second season (possibly even walking on), but three games into his sophomore campaign he tore his ACL.  Apparently the curse even impacts JUCO recruits.  After taking a redshirt year to recover, Dillon increased his scoring (15), rebounding (6), and assists (5) per game and accepted an offer from Purdue as a three-star recruit, turning down Baylor and Mississippi.

Coach Keady was excited with Dillon's 6'6" frame and versatility and knew the team would desperately need a point guard after Brandon McKnight graduated.  Also, while at SWIC, Dillon developed a strong defensive presence, hassling shorter point guards and playing tough on the ball, which fit nicely with the Purdue culture.  In his first season as a Boilermaker, Dillon played a quiet 24 minutes per game backing up McKnight and sometimes alongside him as McKnight averaged almost 38 minutes a contest.  I say "quiet" because he averaged only about two points (on only 30% shooting), two assists, and two rebounds per game.  His season came to an abrupt halt only 15 games in as he ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee in January. Two nasty injuries in just about two years (I see a theme of 2's here).

Fortunately Dillon healed well and was ready to serve as the starting point guard for his senior season.  That year, he improved his shooting to 50%, although only attempting about five shots per game and averaging 6.9 points.  At the point he unsurprisingly led the team in assists (3.0 per game) and used his length to pull down the second most total rebounds on the team (3.5 per game).

After graduating, Dillon appears to have taken a couple years auditioning at various camps before getting a professional contract in Europe.  In 2008-2009 he played for BK Nova Hut Ostrava in the Czech Republic's top league.  Dillon was signed to replace an injured player (Mike Mitchell), but he only lasted six games for the Czech team after not meeting their expectations on the court.  I mean, how could you let him stick around when his "coefficient of usefulness" was only 7.4. The horror! This series has really made me love Google Translator; you have to enjoy a point guard being called "quarterback."

After getting booted from Ostrava, Dillon apparently played a few games for a team in neighboring Slovakia, BK 04 AC LB Spisska Nova Ves.  I'm not making that name up! I have no idea what any of it stands for, but he only lasted three games with that team before departing the region formerly known as Czechoslovakia.  It's probably a good thing he didn't stick around, since he must have felt ancient and out of place playing with a group of high school JV players from Wisconsin.  Seriously though, the Slovaki guys are as white as white can be and look very, very young.  At least the Czech team looks like they mean business.  And by "business" I mean they look like great accountants.

Can you find him? He's the black dude.  Wait, there are two?! The slightly shorter one then.
Dillon's Slovaki team aka "the Wisconsin Badgers' little brothers."  Dillon obviously not pictured. 

The following year he joined the Madrid team in the summer Euroleague, where he played with another former Boilermaker!  Who?  Nate Minnoy!  Apparently we were wrong that Nate was the only member of the 2005-2006 team we had profiled that didn't play professionally after leaving Purdue.  Alas, that season was both Minnoy and Dillon's only stint in the Euroleague that I can find.

In the summer of 2011, Dillon attended the Diamond Midwest Invitational, which helps players get exposure for professional contracts.  Looks like former Boilermaker Dan Vandervieren also attended last summer. He's been playing in the NBA Development League and in Latvia the last two years, but we can talk about him more in a future post.  Back to Dillon - I couldn't make him out in the film from the camp, and he wasn't named to their all-star list, so we can't be certain he actually attended.  If he did attend though, it couldn't be good that they touted his participation but failed to denote him as an all-star.  He also attended the Higher Level Sports International Showcase last summer (looks to be based out of Japan) to try to get signed by an international team.  I hope he's playing somewhere, although he's possibly in a small town in Turkmenistan without the luxuries of the internet. At least it's not Iraq, right Marcus?

You can find Dillon on Facebook, where I'm still awaiting a reply to my request for an interview.


  1. Ah yes, the infamous BK Nova Hut Ostrava - the last remnant of the potential Burger King and Pizza Hut merger that was ultimately derailed by last year's Heat/Mavs series:


    By the way, nice find with Minnoy. Knowing where and when he played, it STILL took me awhile to find evidence of it! Not much of a surprise that he only lasted one season, eh?

  2. I think it was more like a short summer league than an actual season with Madrid, too. Then he disappeared again ala Keyser Soze.

  3. Further update on Minnoy and Dillon's stint with Madrid. Apparently this was and still is a summer league in the US that's sponsored by Eurobasket. The teams are named after different cities in Europe, but are mostly just US guys playing in Chicago or Vegas for "Team Brussels" or "Team Geneva". Dillon and Minnoy were on Team Madrid, but neither probably stepped foot out of the country that summer.

    Non-NBA professional basketball confuses the hell out of me.