Decatur’s 6-0 senior point forward Jordan Dillard signed a letter-of-intent with Villanova University Thursday at the Decatur High Arena.
Surrounded by her two sisters, two brothers and her parents, Courtney and Gayla Dillard, along with several hundred Decatur students, Dillard officially announced she’d attend the Big East Conference school about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
Dillard becomes the second Decatur girls player to earn a Division 1 basketball scholarship in the last year. Queen Alford signed last spring with Jacksonville University and has already played in two games.
Dillard said her short list of schools included Memphis, St. Johns, Georgia Tech and Harvard.
“It came down to that I wanted to get away from the South,” she said. “I was born in Conyers and grew up in Conyers, and I have a very close family. But I want to challenge myself. I want to learn to become independent. For that reason moving to the northeast seems perfect.”
She added that she wants to major in pre-med and eventually become a pediatric surgeon. Her mother, Gayla, is a general surgeon.
Dillard averaged 14 points as a freshman for Salem High in 2009-10 before transferring to Decatur the next season, when she could only compete on the junior varsity team.
Last year as a junior she averaged 12.8 points, playing mostly in the unfamiliar point guard position, while also serving in a secondary role to Alford, who poured in 26 points per game.
This year she moves to wing/point forward, a position more suited to her talents, and one she’ll likely play in college. She’ll have the freedom to employ a wider spectrum of moves, both as a slasher and post-up player.
“I think you’re really going to see Jordan break out this year,” said Decatur coach Bill Roberts. “Her shooting form’s a whole lot better, she’s more effective in pulling up off the dribble and she’s increased her offensive intensity.
“I don’t know if she’ll average what Queen did last year,” he said, “but I don’t think she’ll have too. She’s surrounded by a whole lot more experience and talent than Queen ever was.”
Decatur opens its basketball season Monday and Tuesday with the Tip-Off Tournament at the Decatur High Arena. Both the boys and girls play Arabia Mountain, the girls at 7 p.m. and the boys at 8:30 p.m. On Tuesday both teams play Druid Hills at the same times.