Dillinger will continue basketball career in the Philippines
Jared Dillinger would have been happy to pay his way through school for a chance to play basketball.
So when the opportunity to play for pay arose, it didn't take much to get him to sign up.
Dillinger, who went from the scout team to the starting lineup at Hawaii, is headed to the Philippines next week to pursue a professional playing career.
"I didn't really plan on any of this happening," Dillinger said. "I was just planning on trying to find a really good job. But when something new like this happens you have to go with it. You can't pass up an opportunity like this."
Dillinger is eligible to play in the Philippines through his mother, who was born there. As a foreign player, Dillinger will have to play 25 amateur games this summer before becoming eligible for the Philippine Basketball Association draft, where he's projected to be a high pick.
He'll also have a chance to play for the Philippines national team over the summer while filling his requirements in the amateur league.
"I was willing to sit on the bench without a scholarship (at UH) just to be around basketball," Dillinger said. "Just to play more and actually get paid for something you love doing so much, not many people get to experience something like that."
Dillinger transferred to UH from the Air Force Academy and spent his first two seasons on the scout team, playing in just six games and scoring one point as a junior. He earned a scholarship prior to his junior year and emerged as a productive contributor as a senior, starting 25 games and averaging 9.7 points. He was the Rainbows' top 3-point shooter at 38 percent and won the team's top defensive player award.
"You have to have people believe in you and give you the opportunity," UH coach Bob Nash said. "We believed in him, gave him the opportunity and he made the most of it. Now he's facing the same thing over there."
The 6-foot-5 guard/forward is three courses away from earning his degree in international business and finance and made arrangements to finish up his class work online while playing with Pampanga in La Ligas Pilipinas. He said he'll return to Hawaii in September before heading back for the PBA season, which begins in October.
Nash said other Hawaii seniors, including Matt Gibson, Bobby Nash, Stephen Verwers and P.J. Owsley, have received inquiries about playing overseas, while Riley Luettgerodt and Alex Veit plan on finishing school before pursuing the game.
Most of the Rainbows' returnees headed home for a few weeks after final exams, but Nash said they'll be back in town for the second session of summer school, which begins July 7.
"They can be with their families and do all the things they need to do and refresh themselves and come back and be here for the duration," Nash said.
Some of the newcomers won't report until August, including junior transfer Roderick Flemings, who is finishing up summer school at Weatherford College in Texas. Hiram Thompson will also return in August after he completes his Mormon mission.
UH camp coming up
Applications are being accepted for the Rainbow Warrior Boys and Girls Basketball Camp. The camp is composed of two sessions, the first running June 6-8 and the second June 9-12, and is open to youths ages 5 to 17.
For more information, call Tim Shepherd at 956-6502 or 348-3622.