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Dill-Pettiford shows winning mentality

Omari Dill-Pettiford is embarking on what he calls “no-lose summer” in Bermuda over the next few months before his college basketball season in the United States starts.

The 6ft 3in, 205lb guard is playing for Twisters in the Island Basketball Summer League before his junior year at the NCAA Division II Wilmington University Wildcats in New Castle, Delaware.

Dill-Pettiford played a starring role in the Twisters' back court last week, as his team opened up the new IBSL with a 64-54 come-from-behind victory over Crossfire at Somersfield Academy and will be in action again tonight when they take on Sky Force, with the game scheduled to tip off at 7.45pm after Hoopstars face Thundercats at 6.30.

The New Jersey native, whose father is Bermudian, is aiming to step up his game and his preparation on the island this summer.

“I'm calling it ‘no-lose summer',” he said. “Next season in college I'm going to be an upperclassman, so I'm coming with a different mindset. From working out in the weight room at the gym all the way into basketball, I want to take no losses.”

Dill-Pettiford, who averaged 12.2 points per game in his sophomore season in college, says that the IBSL is an ideal part of his preparation for his coming Wildcats' campaign, as well as keeping his competitive juices flowing.

“I like coming back to show how I've improved over the year,” he said. “[Basketball in Bermuda is] growing. It's all right competition for me to get better and work on my game.

“I'm going into my junior year, studying organisational management. After my college season, I'm looking to play pro basketball maybe overseas somewhere and I'm working hard so I can get there.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers fan also has some pretty lofty role models to look up to.

“LeBron James, James Harden and Kyrie Irving are my favourite three players,” Dill-Pettiford said. “That's who I try and play like. LeBron for the strength, Kyrie Irving for finishing and my body's like James Harden's in the way I move. I'm big, not like LeBron, but you know what I mean!”

Although he is a fan of Harden, he had some advice for the Houston Rockets guard, especially as he had a shot blocked from behind by San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in their recent NBA playoff defeat by the Spurs.

“I would've seen that coming,” he said. “He's got to be aware of that!”

He is also clear that he is having fun this summer too, especially with the chatter that goes with the territory.

“It's all competitive and fun! I can have fun playing the game! During the game, there are no friends, but after the game we shake everybody's hands and we're friends,” Dill-Pettiford said. “But during the game, I'm trying to get the win no matter what.

“It's pretty much the same in college. I want to get the win wherever I am.”

And his is very clear with what he expects to happen in the NBA and the IBSL this year.

“The Cavaliers are going to win the NBA championship and my team are going to win this league!”

High hopes: Dill-Pettiford plans on winning the IBSL title (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published May 17, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 16, 2017 at 11:49 pm)

Dill-Pettiford shows winning mentality

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