The 2015 NBA Draft looms, and you still need a player that is going to bring something to your roster. He needs to be experienced, a good shooter, solid defensively and a natural leader on the court. This man needs to be a winner with scoring ability and a good athlete.
With all of that in mind, you, the Detroit Pistons, just drafted former Villanova Wildcats star, Darrun Hilliard.
Here is what you have just acquired.
After Hilliard graduated from Liberty High School, colleges such as Boston College, La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Siena all interested him, but he decided to sign with Villanova. The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native stayed local and Head Coach Jay Wright was certainly happy about that.
Wright said about Hilliard after he signed, "Darrun brings us so many qualities that we value at Villanova. He has a great feel for the game and a knack for doing what's needed to win. He scores when his team needs him to score, gets big rebounds and is an extremely versatile player."
In high school, Hilliard was a two-time Associated Press first team All-State selection and scored 1,413 points over his career.
At Villanova he would grow as a player.
Hilliard showed many things while he was a Wildcat, but the most important was his constant improvement from season to season.
During his freshman year, Hilliard played in 29 games and started nine of them. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 18.1 minutes per game. After putting in work during the offseason, Hilliard came back for his sophomore season a much better player and did not look back.
After starting all 34 games as a sophomore, Hilliard really emerged during his junior season with the Wildcats. Along with his teammate Daniel Ochefu, Hilliard was named the Big East's Most Improved Player and was an All-Big East honorable mention. He was second on the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game and shot 41.4 percent from deep, which was the fourth best in the conference.
Hilliard would save his best for last with the Wildcats as he averaged 14.3 points per game again as a senior, which led Nova and is tied for the most in his career. He was named first team All-Big East and played a major role in Villanova winning the Big East regular season and tournament championship. Hilliard was named to the Big East All-Tournament team and named a second team All-American by The Sporting News.
Despite keeping the Wildcats alive in the final seconds, Hilliard could not complete a last second comeback against North Carolina State and the Wolfpack would eliminate Nova in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. You believed in Hilliard's ability enough (insert NBA team here), so now let's break down your new signing.
Hilliard can provide something that any NBA team always can use more of no matter what stage their franchise is in and that is defense.
At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Hilliard has shown that he has a good NBA body and is also mobile. He can keep up with defensively with guards and forwards. Hilliard is a big wing player that could translate well overall to the league. In college, we saw Hilliard consistently show his agility on defense and his ability to keep any player in front of him in the half court or even in transition. During his senior season, Hilliard averaged 1.8 steals per game, which showed the impact he made for the Wildcats.
On the offensive end, Hilliard is a good 3-point shooter and that could be the reason he makes an NBA roster. At 'Nova, he made 40 percent of his threes over his four seasons. Hilliard can shoot it off of a screen or spot up and bury a three pointer. His ball handling is also a strength whether it is maneuvering through the defense or passing the rock to the open teammate. Hilliard averaged just 2.1 assists per game, but when the Wildcats needed ball movement or someone to find the open man Hilliard did that.
In the pick and roll, Hilliard is also an asset because of his body and 3-point accuracy. He can pick and pop, which leaves him open for a three point shot that he will likely knock down. Hilliard can also roll to the basket and finish at the rim.
Villanova could also rely on Hilliard's ability to make big shots in crunch time. One of his most memorable buckets came against Butler last season at Hinkle Fieldhouse. With the game tied at 65 in the final seconds, Hilliard was left wide open on the right wing and buried a three pointer with 1.5 seconds that turned out to be the game winner in the 68-65 victory. It capped off a great night for him as finished with a career-best 31 points, which tied a Villanova record for one game. Of the 31 points, 24 came from his eight three pointers and Hilliard along with his eight rebounds, which was his season-high as a senior.
One big disadvantage for Hilliard is his average athleticism. Yes, he has skills, but we saw at times during his career that Hilliard is not the fastest player on the floor at his position. Hilliard's strength down low could be questioned as well, especially when it comes to rebounding. We did not see him battle on the boards or take contact inside very effectively for someone who is 6-foot-6. At Villanova, Hilliard never averaged more than 3.6 rebounds per game, which is a number many would expect from a small guard not a forward.
Hilliard is mentally ready for the NBA and needs to make some improvements. However, many believe that he has the best chance of any player from the conference to make an NBA team because of his solid play on defense and his ability to shoot the rock.
Along with Hilliard's height and durability, the wing could make an NBA team very happy if he pans out. Hopefully, it turns out to be yours.