When high school basketball fans hear the name David DiLeo, many are going to think “shooter.”
That’s understandable, considering DiLeo carved a niche as one of the top long-distance sharpshooters in the state the past few seasons.
Given a say in the matter, DiLeo has an equally-fitting preference for a word to describe his career at West High — winner.
A three-year varsity letterwinner and two-year starter, DiLeo was a key cog in a West High basketball machine that churned out one of the best four-year runs in state history.
The Trojans have gone 100-4 over the last four seasons, including a perfect 53-0 home mark.
West High has won three state titles, claimed three Mississippi Valley Conference crowns and had two Gatorade players of the year (Jeremy Morgan and Wyatt Lohaus).
DiLeo has played a role in most of it.
“I’m proud of what we were able to do here as a team during my four years and for me to even be a part of it is amazing,” DiLeo said. “To know that I helped in some small way to help guys like Wyatt (Lohaus) and Jeremy (Morgan) get awards, and to help our team win those games and those championships, it is just a great feeling.”
Like many of the great West High players DiLeo has played with during the Trojans’ run, he saved his best season for last.
DiLeo averaged a team-high 15.3 points per game and a career-high 4.5 rebounds per game this season while helping West High to a 25-1 mark and a third-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament.
For his accomplishments DiLeo has been named the 2015 Press-Citizen boys’ basketball player of the year.
“I was upset that we came short of our goal, but I started looking back and writing down some stats that happened during my four-year career even though I wasn’t a member of the varsity team as a freshman and it was amazing,” DiLeo said. “For us to have two undefeated seasons, one with only three losses and win three straight championships and we had all those Gatorade players of the year, the fact that we had all that success is just amazing.”
A role player on the Trojans’ second straight unbeaten state-title team in 2013 DiLeo, emerged as an offensive force last season, averaging 12.5 points per game a year ago.
DiLeo built on those numbers this season.
DiLeo led five West High double-digit scorers with 15.3 points per game as the Trojans averaged 71.2 points per game, the second most in Class 4A.
“If you look back through our last four or five years we’ve been pretty successful and there have been a lot of guys that could have had better stats playing on lesser teams or playing on a team that featured one guy a lot more, but we’ve never been about that,” Wet High coach Steve Bergman said. “I don’t believe it leads to your best success. I think team balance is just as important to success as anything there is and when you have a lot of good players it’s easy to have team balance.”
DiLeo was a critical part of that West High offensive balance.
He shot 50 percent from the field this season, including a career-high 44.5 percent from 3-point range while making a career-high 53 3-pointers.
At 6-foot-7 DiLeo stressed defenses with the ability to score from the interior and perimeter.
“He really showed overall improvement and I think a lot of it had to do with — he improved a lot athletically,” Bergman said. “He started to get a lot stronger, a lot quicker. He has always been very skilled so now he was just a lot more athletic and I think that really spurred his improvement.”
DiLeo earned his reputation as a dead-eye shooter.He shot better than 90 percent from the free-throw line at West High.
The lone senior starter for a young West High squad, DiLeo developed as a leader this year.
“He is coachable and he is as hard of a worker as anybody we’ve had here,” Bergman said. “He is quiet but he leads by example as well as anybody we have ever had.”
DiLeo also improved as a decision maker.
He posted 33 assists this season and finished every year of his career with more assists than turnovers.
“We had guys that could do everything,” DiLeo said. “We had guys that could score inside, guys that could shoot threes, guys that could drive, guys that can defend, guys that can pass, we had everything.”
DiLeo plans to play basketball in college, he’s just not sure where right now.
“Right now I have no decisions made,” DiLeo said of his future. “I’m just kind of leaving everything open and letting things fall where they will.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
FG %: 50
3-PT %: 44.5
FT %: 86