By Luke Mich
Dillon Stith, a 2014 Saint Vincent College alum who played as a small forward for the school’s basketball team for four years, has caught attention overseas as a professional athlete.
With the help of fellow classmates, coaches, and family from college, Stith has continued his passion for basketball as he is currently playing professionally for the Australian team Melbourne United.
Stith said was not drafted, and that no one has ever been drafted to the NBA out of Division 3 NCAA. Instead, with the assistance of fellow Bearcat teammate Isaac Turner, Stith made the journey to pro through a tryout in Indiana.
“[He] convinced me to do a tryout for a travel team in Indianapolis. We made the team, took one-way trips in Australia, and were fortunate enough to have clubs pick us up,” Stith explained.
Turner eventually landed with the Australian second division team Kilsyth Cobras, where he starts for the team as shooting guard and averages 19 points a game. Like Turner, Stith made a second division Australian team, where he enjoyed great success. Besides a one-year stint with Irish Superleague team Belfast Star in the 2016-17 season, Stith played in the Australian second division from 2014 to 2019 until he got promoted to the premier Australian basketball league.
“After making All-Stars every year in the league, 2 MVPs, and [winning] a championship, [the first division team Melbourne] United took me on board,” Stith said.
Before they signed him, Stith stated that he had often made it to Melbourne United practices when they were short on players or when he had time.
“[When] one of their imports [got injured, as there are] only 3 non-Australians [allowed] per team, they gave me a temporary player contract for the rest of the year,” he said.
Stith stated that he has played nine games this season so far, including two preseason games against NBA teams.
“[I am] very fortunate to be with such a strong club in Australia and now being recognized globally,” he said. “I know my chance to be a full rostered player will come soon and when it does, I’ll be taking full advantage.”
Stith stated that his brother Jeff Mallory, who worked as Coordinator of Campus and Multicultural Student Life, and Associate Head Coach would be his biggest influence “hands down.”
“From me being a toddler to a senior in college, he’s showed me a path,” Stith said.
Stith stated he would also credit former Saint Vincent men’s basketball coach DP Harris, as well as professors such as Dr. Krom, Dr. McMahon, and Dr. Kelly who he still has relationships with today, as well as Dr. Watkins and Dr. Coreno who he said helped mold him to be the person he is now.
Stith said that these relationships with professors and coaches are unique and are what sets apart Saint Vincent from Division 1 schools.
“If you go to a Division 1 school as a big-time athlete, you never form such genuine relationships […] that truly help you grow as a young learner in the world,” Stith stated. “You challenge yourself daily at your craft but become complacent in the classroom. At SVC, you’re always challenged in a great way.”
From playing basketball since he was seven, to playing for one of the top teams in Australia, Stith states that you can always keep growing in the sport.
“You can never stop learning. The game gets a lot more physical and chippy, and it doesn’t have the same smooth rhythm and flow of a college game,” Stith said.
As for what the future holds for Stith, he said that he plans to still be involved in the game. Additionally, he also plans to be homeowner in Melbourne in the next five years.
“Hopefully, [I’m] still playing and beginning my transition to coaching and the development side of basketball here in Australia,” Stith stated.
Stith has played for Melbourne United for nine games this season, averaging 5 minutes and 1.8 points per game. He is currently living with his partner Katie in Melbourne.