Political Science may be his major, but senior Reggie Dillard has another passion in life. Basketball has been a constant in his life from the very beginning.
“[I’ve been playing] ever since I was four years old,” Dillard said. “My whole life.”
Before coming to PC, Dillard played at Greensboro Day School in Greensboro, N.C. In 2013, he finished his career there with more than 2000 points. Dillard made the decision to come to PC because of the rare opportunity to help lead a division one school.
“PC had just gotten into the D1 era, so I just wanted to be a part of history,” Dillard said.
The fall of 2013 marked the start of Dillard’s freshman year and his career at PC.
Then head coach Gregg Nibert said about Dillard, “He is a tremendous fit for our program. He is a leader. Reggie will make an immediate impact on next year’s team.”
Dillard came into college basketball strong, averaging 12.1 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. He also received multiple Freshman-of-the-Week honors from the Big South. Despite Dillard’s exceptional first-year performance, the Blue Hose finished the season 6-26 overall.
Dillard was unable to bring his strong finish in the 2013/2014 season with him to the start of the next season. He overextended his leg in the preseason and tore his ACL.
“I was going up for a layup and one of my teammates fell, so I was trying to avoid stepping on his face. I extended my leg, and that’s when it snapped,” Dillard said.
This was his first serious injury. Dillard found himself in a position where he couldn’t play the one game that he had loved his whole life.
“It was tough,” Dillard said. “Waking up every morning and having to do rehab for two and a half hours, watching your team play and you want to be out there, but you can’t. It was tough mentally and physically.”
Emotionally, Dillard found himself going through a healing process as well.
“When it first happened, I was sad, angry, upset. Any bad emotion you can have, I was [feeling] at the time,” Dillard said. “Then after surgery, you know, when you start going through rehab, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So you start to perk up a little bit. Start getting happy again. Excited that you can come back and play again. That it wasn’t so bad that you could never play again.
“Yeah, I went through a range of emotions. A little depression a little bit. I love basketball so much and you just can’t play at all, you couldn’t do anything.”
After spending a year in rehab, Dillard was ready to get back to playing basketball in the fall of 2015.
“It wasn’t difficult to get back into it, but I did second guess a lot of things,” Dillard said. “You don’t want to snap it again or tear it again. It took maybe four or five months after I got cleared to play to actually get back into the full swing of things and really feel happy out there again and not second guess myself anymore.”
Dillard ended up starting in every game that season and averaging 8.5 points a game.
The redshirt senior experienced another big shakeup going into his last year of college. The men’s basketball team hired a new head coach, Dustin Kerns, in May of 2017. After playing with the same coach for his first four years at PC, Dillard was unsure about how the change would go.
“Initially I thought it would be difficult, but Coach Kerns came in with a positive mindset, and he’s really easy to talk to and get along with,” Dillard said. “He understands the players and we understand him. So it was a smooth transition when I got here over the summer. Ever since then we have continued to grow and grow. We haven’t really had any setbacks or anything, it’s been a good transition.”
Right now, Dillard is focusing on the completing his last season.
“I want to finish out this regular season strong and I want to go to the tournament,” he said. “We will probably have to win three or four games in a row to make it to the NCAA tournament. We’ve already proven that we can. The goal right there is to continue to get better every day.”
After college, Dillard hopes to play overseas for a few years.
“After that, I want to eventually be a coach or a trainer, something to keep me in the game,” Dillard said.
When the time does come for him to leave PC, Dillard hopes that he will have left a least a part of himself behind.
“If I did leave a legacy, I hope that every time people saw me play out there I gave it my all and I played the hardest I could and tried my best to lead us to a victory,” he said. “If anybody got that out of seeing me play for these past four to five years, I would love to leave that behind.”
Written by Zoe Montague ‘20