Three years into his basketball career at North Allegheny Senior High School, Anthony Dallier ’17 was faced with a difficult choice: finish up high school in his home state of Pennsylvania or transfer to a boarding school in Massachusetts.
Choosing door number one meant staying at NASH and finishing up his senior year with his friends and teammates. Door number two meant he had to repeat his junior year and complete high school at Northfield Mount Hermon, a college-prep boarding school in Massachusetts.
Dallier chose door number two and went on to win a league title and a national championship for the NMH Hoggers, averaging 16 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 2012–2013. While his decision to transfer was motivated heavily by basketball, Dallier recognized the academic advantages offered by a school like NMH. He would have a better chance at making it to the Ivy League, for instance. But he acknowledged that he made sacrifices.
“It was difficult,” he said. “My teammates, my best friends at home understood it to an extent, but it didn’t go over as well with my high school coach. We were pretty close and I lost my relationship with him.”
Now at Yale, Dallier has the chance to build new relationships with his teammates. Brandon Sherrod ’15 said he remembers first seeing Dallier when he came up to visit Yale during the recruitment process.
“To be honest I thought he was wack,” Sherrod said. “Lanky dude. Doesn’t really look like a baller right off the bat. He is really tall, though.”
But Sherrod added that he knew Dallier had to be good if he was coming up to visit Yale. And while Sherrod will always tease and joke with him, he said he believes Dallier can really help the team this season.
As with many first-year players, Dallier is still adjusting to college level basketball. Specifically, he points to the speed and physicality of play as a significant difference. Even the practices are more intense, he said.
Sherrod thinks that the years Dallier spent at NMH were particularly helpful in preparing him for the athleticism of NCAA basketball.
A self-described “versatile player,” Dallier has played anywhere from point guard to small forward for the Elis when they have needed it. When backup guard Jack Montague ’16 was out with injury, Jones called on Dallier to handle the ball in tight situations.
“That’s a tough adjustment for anybody,” Sherrod said. “It was almost a seamless transition for him. His versatility and size, just being able to really see the floor, it’s going to be good for us in the long run.”
Dallier hopes his ability to contribute in multiple areas will allow him to make his mark on the Bulldogs in his first year. The lineup is tough to break into, but coach Jones has played him 15 minutes in each of the first two games of the season. He has averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game so far and is shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. He is tied for the team lead with three made three-pointers on the year.
Dallier said that he is willing to do whatever is asked of him.
“I’m just trying to make as big an impact as I can and have a positive effect in each game I play,” he said. “As the year goes on I may have an opportunity to play a bigger role, but we’ll see.”
The Yale men’s basketball team has high standards for this season. Snubbed by the media as the third-best team in the conference behind Harvard and Penn — a team the Elis beat twice last year — in a preseason poll, the Elis aim to prove the analysts wrong and solidify their position as an Ivy League powerhouse.
Dallier is just glad to be a part of the team. Looking back on it all, he can say he is satisfied with the decision he made two years ago.
“I’ve been really happy with how it’s all worked out,” he said. “It was a really good decision for me.”
Dallier and the Bulldogs will take the court again at 7 p.m. tonight when they tip off against Rutgers (1–1, 0–0 AAC).