I’M LEAVING WILDCATS ‘ Dillingham’s announces a setback decision for Kentucky wildcats Basketball…

I'M LEAVING WILDCATS ' Dillingham's announces a setback decision for Kentucky wildcats Basketball...



Dillingham’s dedication to improvement is evident in the work he puts into his body. Before this season, Kentucky’s strength and conditioning coach, Brady Welsh, shared on his Instagram page that Dillingham gained 17 pounds of muscle. Part of that is because of an off-season diet that begins at 8:30 a.m., ends at 9 p.m., and has him consuming nutrients practically every few hours. That diet includes 4,500 to 5,000 calories of protein shakes, grilled chicken sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables every day.


Once his breakfast is finished, he spends roughly an hour on weight-lifting daily. After his core and mobility warm-ups, he hits five sets of six chin-ups, four sets of 10 incline dumbbell bench presses, three sets of 12 inverted row pull-ups, five sets of five rear-foot elevated split squats, four sets of eight dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, and three sets of 12 dumbbell curl-to-press exercises. These intense workouts and hours of on-court action throughout the day necessitate a high-calorie diet for all of the energy he’ll be expending.


The weightlifting training helps him build the foundational strength he needs to compete at a high level. It’s the RDLs and rear-foot elevated split squats that help train his athleticism while having low enough reps where he can be explosive and powerful on those moves. He’s definitely trying to get stronger, but even he admits he doesn’t lift that much. He’s more focused on getting between 750 to 1,000 shots up each day and perfecting the craft that made him the Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year this season.


“I want to get stronger and continue building and mastering my skills for next season. A loss is a hard pill to swallow, but I try to use it to motivate me for all the games to come.”


Although he won’t be one of the athletes competing for a national title on the biggest stage, he’s already one of the marquee talents in college sports’ ever-changing name, image, and likeness (NIL) era. After scoring NIL deals with SKIMS, Crossover Culture, and most recently NerdWallet, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has the fourth highest valued NIL portfolio in college basketball, according to leading NIL analyst platform On3. He’d be forgiven for splurging a bit with his newfound NIL wealth. Still, the future NBA talent is not only working with a certified financial planner/advisor as part of his NerdWallet deal, but he’s more focused on sending money to his family every month than buying whatever his heart desires.



That level of maturity belies his age but complements his unwavering focus on improving his life on and off the court. Now that players can win millions in an in-season NIL tournament and coaches like Nick Saban are speaking on Capitol Hill about how it’s ruining college sports, it’s hard for players to untangle the financial benefits from their athletic performance.


Some men’s college basketball players make more money from NIL deals than some NBA players make in a current season, which can make a teenager reconsider jumping into the draft. Dillingham still hasn’t announced if he will enter the 2024 NBA draft, but he did say his NIL deals and March Madness performance have no influence on that decision. That doesn’t blind him to the good and bad side of these NIL deals, though.


“NIL helped, but it also hurt,” he says. “It helped kids who know what they want to do in life and may have struggling families, so they really need it for their family. Then there are kids who already have money and they’re just getting extra money, so then they lose their mind. They don’t know how to [manage it].”


Whether he enters the draft or not, Dillingham will still feel the sting of coming up short in the biggest game of his young basketball life. You better believe he’ll be sculpting in the gym rather than sulking with his riches, improving the body and mind that got him this close to his dreams. “I can’t change the past, but I can commit time and energy to getting better.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button