Cierra Dillard was hands down the best player in a UMass uniform last year and will make a huge impact for the Bulls after she sits out a year per NCAA transfer guidelines.
Hometown: Rochester, NY
New to Buffalo?
Dillard left Gates Chili High School as one of the most decorated basketball players in the Rochester area, being one of only twenty players to ever reach the 2000 point mark in career scoring for Section V basketball. ESPN rated her as a three-star recruit with a 90 rating. Among those accolades, she was even nominated for the 2014 McDonalds All-American game. When she made her way to UMass, Dillard continued to show her basketball prowess. In her sophomore year she averaged 15.5 points per game and led the team with two steals per game. Those stats were good enough for sixth and fourth best in the entire Atlantic-10 respectively. Also of note: Dillard had a slow start last season and still produced those numbers.
Further Reading and Viewing:
In UB's official press release, Coach Jack called Dillard a "program changer" who will make an "immediate impact" once she sees the floor in 2017. She will ultimately fit in, eligibility-wise, with UB's already-five-deep class of 2015-16 freshmen after her year in residence. I wouldn't be surprised to see some other roster and scholarship movement before the start of next season.
UMass is losing its best player
"She's actually very humble," Grazadei says. "If I say, 'You changed our program here at Gates.' She'll say: 'Whoa, coach, it's because of you, too.' She's always giving other people credit."
You can catch some highlights of DIllard here (in which she wears the #15)
Unfortunately, Dillard has to sit out this season due to transfer rules. But, expect her to have an enormous impact thanks to her two years of eligibility remaining afterwards. Just imagine this: More Joanna Smith-like scoring capped off with a stacked senior class of Mariah Suchan and the Aussie-four.