Villanova may have just found itself a valuable big man for the future. The 6-foot-10, 230 pound, Dylan Painter committed to the Wildcats in the middle of September after many other schools sought after him.
Painter will be finishing his days with the Hershey High Trojans this season, as he is now in his senior year. Most recently, he averaged 17.8 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game, and 3.6 blocks per game as a junior, which was enough to already garner Division 1 attention. La Salle was the first team to offer him a scholarship in June of last year.
From there, a list of over twenty schools would contact him to and bring him to their institution. When Penn State offered him in April it seemed likely that Painter would choose them, but Villanova became the last school to offer him a scholarship in August and he was sold.
But it all started in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Painter has enjoyed growing up in Chocolate Town, U.S.A. “Hershey is an amazing place. I love it. It’s such a tight community and everyone knows each other it seems like. I have so much support from friends and family.” His family is a big reason why he ended up playing basketball, but that wasn’t the sport he grew up on.
“I grew up in a football family. My dad was the head high school coach and played in college. I played football and basketball growing up and eventually stopped playing football after my sophomore year.” He played tight end and outside linebacker in football until he decided to only focus on basketball.
Painter isn’t the first successful big man coming from Hershey either. Scott Eatherton, a 2010 graduate, was an all-CAA Defensive Player of the Year at Northeastern. Matt Banas is a starting senior forward at Bucknell after being an one thousand point scorer in high school. When Painter began his run as a varsity basketball player, Chase Watkins was the big upperclassman as the starting center. Watkins, who now is an offensive lineman for Bucknell football, is credited by Painter for his growth in basketball. “Chase was really instrumental in helping me get better and pushing me.”
Along with Watkins, he says that his high school coaches are a big reason why he became the big recruit. “My high school teammates and high school coaches, Paul Blackburn and Ron Grier especially.”
Painter has played basketball for just about his entire life and it led to him playing varsity his freshman year, an unbelievable feat. But the first half in his first varsity game was a rough one. Blackburn lit a fire in him at halftime. It was a turning point for the big man. “Ever since then, it’s been all basketball all the time and I’ve been pushing to be the best I can be.”
Due to the support he has had throughout his basketball career, Painter has been able to put up great numbers in high school. He has been one of the most impressive big men in the state and he still has one more year left. He’ll definitely be someone to keep an eye on to see his progress before he begins his time at The Pavilion in Villanova.
Photo courtesy of http://tomreifsnyder.com/
-(1) Villanova faces (5) West Virginia in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament