While Melbourne United just re-signed cult favorite Kyle Adnam for two years, they also look to further bolster their backcourt by adding talented Melbourne-born guard Daniel Dillon.
Melbourne United have made inquiries with a number of Australian guards currently playing overseas and it’s believed that the team is set to bring Dillon, who won an NBL title in Melbourne with the South Dragons in 2009, back home to fill their back-up guard position.
With Adnam being re-signed, talks with Casper Ware underway and Dillon seemingly locked in; it seems Nate Tomlinson, who has been speaking with other NBL clubs recently, has played his last game in a United uniform.
Don’t expect a Dillon announcement anytime soon, however. He is currently under contract with the Hiroshima Dragonflies and FIBA rules won’t allow Dillon or any other player to sign an NBL contract while a current contract exists.
We’ll have to wait until mid-May for any announcements, but it seems new coach Dean Vickerman has wasted no time putting together a much more defensive, well rounded backcourt than last season.
Rebounding was a huge issue for Melbourne last season and their now being able to bring a strong rebounding guard like Dillon off the bench will be invaluable.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Vickerman has targeted Dillon. In 2014 Dillon turned down an offer to play under Vickerman at the last minute while he was coach of the New Zealand Breakers.
Dillon, 31, is currently playing with the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the Japanese B League and is putting up 12.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Dillon’s professional basketball career began after a stellar college career under legendary coach Lute Olsen at Arizona University. Dillon graduated in 2008 and signed a deal to play as a development player with the South Dragons where he won an NBL title.
He signed a deal with Cairns to be a part of the team’s 10-man roster and was an important part of the Taipans’ run to the NBL Finals. Dillon returned to Melbourne in 2011, signing with the Melbourne Tigers, but once the 2011-12 season ended Melbourne decided to go in a different direction and Dillon was left without a job in the NBL and took his game to Europe.
Dillon has carved out a fantastic career in Poland, Romania, and now in Japan since leaving Australia in 2012.
Dillon has developed considerably since leaving the NBL. His elite size and foot speed have always made him an excellent defender (he was Arizona’s Best Defensive Player 2007) but he has really developed his scoring ability while abroad.
While playing in Poland with PGE Turow Zgorzelec he competed in the Eurochallenge, Europe’s third-tier basketball competition, going up against former NBA talent like Daequan Cook, Primo Brezec and Roko Ukic. Dillon excelled and led his team in scoring and steals.
“Right now I’m just focusing on winning. In my earlier years I was playing more of a defensive roll. Now that I’m playing as an import I have to carry more of a scoring load as well as be able to create for others” said Dillon while playing overseas.
Dillon makes sense for United. His ability to play both backcourt positions means despite coming off the bench behind Chris Goulding and an import point guard, Dillon will still see a lot of time on the court.
Whilst playing abroad, Dillon has always made it clear he was aiming at a return to the NBL.
“Of course I want to come back to Australia. It’s the best country in the world! It’s my home.”