Dillon Stith, Isaac Turner Look To Slam It Down Under

By John D’Abruzzo

It was about five years ago when Isaac Turner and Dillon Stith first met on the campus of Saint Vincent College. At the time, Latrobe might as well been a world away from home for Turner, who was from Winter Park, Fla., and Stith, who is a native of Bedford, Va.

Dillon Stith

Dillon Stith won the 2014 PAC Player of the Year Award.

“It was like yesterday,” Stith said. “We became friends, started playing video games and hanging out in our dorm rooms. Then we once we got onto the court and started playing basketball together, we became great friends on the court.”

The St. Vincent’s men’s basketball teammates played together for four years and helped guide the Bearcats to two Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships and a pair of NCAA Division III tournament appearances. Although their college careers ended last year, they are now about to embark on an entirely new journey. This time, it’s literally going to take them on the other side of the world.

Turner and Stith will leave for Australia at the end of January and hope to begin their respective professional careers. Following a tryout in Indianapolis, the pair was among a dozen players selected to work out for teams from both the South East Australian Basketball League and Big V professional league.

“They both have the willingness and want to play overseas,” St. Vincent’s men’s basketball coach D.P. Harris said. “They’re hoping this is an entry door to fulfill that dream.”

Stith, a 6-foot-5 forward, was the PAC’s Player of the Year last season and the only player in the conference to average a double-double (19.5 points/10.2 rebounds).

“Obviously, this is a great situation and I am blessed to be going anywhere,” Stith said. “I was not fortunate enough to get looks from any other league in the world, and that was a little disheartening.”

“It’s been hard not playing and seeing basketball on TV and knowing St. Vincent is taking the court without me.”

Stith finished his college career with 1,310 points and averaged of 11.7 points a game. He also averaged 6.2 rebounds after pulling down 697 career boards.

“I didn’t even start on my high school team until the second half of my senior year,” Stith said. “When I saw I had a real possibility to play college basketball, I jumped at the chance to play at St. Vincent. I never really imagined as my senior year was ticking down that I may have an opportunity to play overseas.”

“Playing basketball wasn’t as much of a dream for me until everything manifested, and now it would be silly for me not to go where the game is taking me for as long as I can.”

Isaac Turner

Isaac Turner scored 1,469 points while at St. Vincent.

Turner, a 6-2 guard, earned First Team All-PAC honors last year after he led the conference in scoring with an average of 22 points a game.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Turner said. “The goal is to get signed by a team and stay over there. We’re going to be competing in tournaments and trying out for these leagues until about Feb. 20.”

Turner finished his college career with 1,469 points and averaged 17.2 points.

“Isaac and Dillon were about 65 percent of our scoring [last year],” Harris said. “Dillon has some outstanding potential at some level. He has the height and there’s a market for a guy who has his range and who can shoot the 3 [pointer]. It’s going to be a tougher road for Isaac. He comes from great pedigree and he’s hard working.”

“It’s a process and sometimes it takes a year or two to play overseas.”

Turner, though, believes having Stith by his side will benefit both on and off the court once they arrive in Melbourne.

“It’s going to be huge having someone I know with me,” Turner said. “When we were in Indianapolis, people could tell we had played together. There were a few plays where you could see we had a connection. Our chemistry is what helped us both get looked at.”

Stith agreed.

“We’re probably the only set of teammates going on this tour,” he said. “Not only am I going with someone I know, but I’m going with my best friend the last four years. We’re going to be able to have each other’s backs. When you think back to five years ago, it’s unimaginable to think we would take this journey together.”

Their trip Down Under will take a total of 24 hours. After flying out from Pittsburgh with a layover in Chicago, they will then fly to Los Angeles before heading straight to Australia. Once they arrive in Melbourne, they hope basketball will continue taking them places.

“The ultimate goal is to keep playing for as long as we can,” Turner said. “I can speak for Dillon when I say that he has the same goal I have. I’m definitely not ready to be done playing. I have a lot of basketball left in me.”

“Australia is good place to start. First, there’s no language barrier to worry about. Secondly, who knows what the future will bring for either of us. This is best the transition possible and a great was to get our feet in the door.”