Men’s Basketball: Peter Dill provides spark on bench
Seton Hall men’s basketball fans have been treated to a tour de force this season, and it has nothing to do with the team’s win-loss record.
Senior guard and walk-on Peter Dill has a knack for serving up big-time celebrations during the biggest moments.
Dill gained notoriety last March during the first round of the 2011 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. As the last few seconds of regulation ticked down versus rival Rutgers, Jeremy Hazell connected on a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
But the play that got the most face time on the night’s highlights was Dill’s reaction to the shot, as he stepped onto the court and imitated the championship belt thrust made famous by Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
That reaction may have been borrowed material, but Dill said his moves are often unscripted.
“I took a little artistic license with the championship belt move, but usually the celebrations just come to me in the moment,” Dill said.
His antics were again on display this season, when the Pirates upset then-ranked No. 8 Connecticut at the Prudential Center. Instead of focusing on the win, ESPN decided to spotlight Dill, who did not play versus the Huskies.
The highlight showed the Pirates scoring basket after basket, with Dill jumping in the background with numerous fist pumps and hand gestures.
The ESPN editors added an animated Thor’s Hammer and some camera shakes to simulate Dill’s imitation of a hammer thrust onto the court. His impromptu hammer slam has given rise to a mock Twitter page @HammerofDill, whose creator is unknown even to Dill.
The Long Hill, N.J., native grew up just 45 minutes from Seton Hall University and has been a fan of the Pirates his entire life. But he did not play high school basketball before joining the Pirates.
“I didn’t get to play high school sports because I went to a small school that didn’t have any sports teams,” he said.
He played Catholic Youth Organization basketball at St. Vincent’s, and was named MVP of the 2006 and 2008 CYO State Tournaments and League MVP in 2008.
Dill said his Catholic background is very important to his life.
“I was raised Catholic and it was important for me to come to a Catholic university such as Seton Hall,” he said. “I find strength through my faith to do everyday things.”
He engages in discussion with his teammates about their faith and the opportunity for introspection.
Dill may not get a lot of playing time, but he loves being part of the team.
“There’s a lot to be said for having enthusiasm beyond yourself and putting the team first,” he said.
His hard work during practice may only be seen by his teammates and the coaching staff, but it is not forgotten by the Pirate faithful. Dill appreciates the cheers and support he receives from the fans at the Rock and on the road.
Dill is a philosophy major who has made the Dean’s list every semester he has attended Seton Hall. He enjoys reading and listening to a variety of music, but his favorite group is Dave Matthews Band.
He has acquired several nicknames, including being called Pistol or Petey by some coaches and teammates or “The Dillmeister” by senior Herb Pope.
Dill is unsure of what he wants to do after graduation, but he is certain that one’s actions affect who they become.
For the time being though, Dill still has at least a 11 games remaining in a Pirate uniform.
Chris Shedlock can be reached at email@example.com