Cochise College sophomore basketball player Dallas Polk-Hilliard was announced as one of the few honorary 2017 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball All-American players, and he was selected for the 2017 NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game.This game features only 12 of the best Division I sophomores and 12 of the best Division II/III sophomore players, making it a huge accomplishment for Hilliard.
The emerging basketball player averaged 17.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a junior in high school. He also earned first-team all-league honors in the Midwest Classic Conference while leading Messmer, his high school basketball team, to a 20-4 record in the very same season. His reputation preceded him and earned him over 70 offers to play for university level basketball.
But this future would be short lived.
During his Senior year at Messmer, in a game against Washington High School, Hilliard landed awkwardly while trying to block an opponent; the fall cost him an injured meniscus and ACL and six months on the sidelines.
As universities learned of Hilliard’s tragic injury, recruiters grew disinterested and pulled their offers to play for university level basketball.
At first, Hilliard felt bad about the colleges backing off but then he found out about Cochise College from his dad who informed Hilliard about how Cochise was “recruiting him hard” and most importantly had an impressive, winning record.
“I knew [Carrillo] coached with a lot of fire and passion and he knew what he was talking about,” Hilliard explained.
“Dallas had a very impressive 2-year career here at Cochise. He really matured as a player, student and person. Dallas was a true pleasure to coach and we loved coaching him on a daily basis. Hilliard’s experiences at Cochise have helped prepare him for moving on to South Dakota State.”
Hilliard plans to continue playing basketball even after South Dakota State.
This is what Hilliard’s new coach at South Dakota State has to say about his new player, “Dallas is a versatile athletic wing that can impact the game in many ways. His ability to score in multiple ways are something Jackrabbit fans will fall in love with. We are thrilled Dallas will be donning a Jackrabbit jersey next season!”
By Joseph Renegar – Cochise College Media Intern