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Cierra Dillard Chooses IPZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. + WARREN, N.J., April 9, 2019 – Cierra Dillard, Dawn Staley Award Finalist and AP All-American Honorable Mention, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Standing at five-foot-nine, the Rochester, New York native has made a considerable impact for the University of Buffalo Bulls the past two seasons leading them to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.

Going into Dillard’s senior year, the guard landed on numerous watch lists: the Wade Trophy (for the best player in women’s basketball), the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award (for the nation’s top shooting guard), the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch, and the Dawn Staley Award (for the country’s top guard), for which she is one of four finalists.

Dillard did not disappoint. She was the nation’s second leading scorer this past season as she averaged 25.2 points per game, a team-high 5.7 assists per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 2.9 steals per game. The Bulls won the 2019 MAC Tournament and Dillard was named MAC Tournament MVP. Dillard closed out her collegiate career in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament against the UCONN Huskies scoring 29 points, dishing seven assists, securing seven rebounds, and capturing three steals. Dillard earned AP All-American Honorable Mention honors and was named First Team All-MAC.

In Dillard’s junior year, she led the Bulls to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. Ultimately, Buffalo fell to the defending National Champion South Carolina Gamecocks, but Dillard had a strong performance netting 29 points, six steals, six assists, and three rebounds. Dillard posted a 2017-18 stat line of 16.2 points/game, 5.2 assists/game, 4.1 rebounds/game, and 3.0 steals/game. She was named Second Team All-MAC and earned MAC All-Tournament Team honors.

Prior to becoming a Buffalo Bull, Dillard played for the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen. In her sophomore year, Dillard averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in 30.3 minutes per game. As a freshman, she posted 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest.

Dillard amassed 2,205 career points across her stops with Massachusetts and the Bulls. Dillard finished her Buffalo career with a scoring average of 20.6 points per game over two seasons, a new program record, and currently ranks in the top five on the UB career records list in points (5th – 1,422), free throws made (3rd – 362), free throw percentage (3rd – 80.8%), three point field goals made (4th – 190) and three point field goals attempted (4th – 554).

“I’m excited to start my new journey of playing professional basketball,” said Dillard. “I’m thrilled about how great my amateur years were and I know if I work hard and stay dedicated, I will continue to reap God’s blessings in my professional career as well. I am also happy to be represented by IPZ, as they believe in my dreams both on and off the court. They understand my vision for my career and I’m confident they will do a great job helping and advising me every step of the way. They are passionate about helping their clients in their respective professional fields and want them to be the best they can be; I’m grateful and blessed to work together.”

“Cierra is one of the purest scorers I’ve ever seen,” said Kyrsten Van Natta, IPZ’s WNBA Agent. “Watching her play is like watching poetry in motion. She knows how to get herself open from anywhere on the court and her passes are something else…they’ve been on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 multiple times. She is simply fun to watch. It’s been a pleasure getting to know Cierra as a person off the court, too, and I look forward to working with her as she embarks on her professional career.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

Chris Silva Signs with IPZ

COLUMBIA, S.C. + WARREN, N.J., April 4, 2019 – Chris Silva, two-time First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team selection at the University of South Carolina, has signed with IPZ, Silva and the company announced today.

The six-foot-nine forward hails from Libreville, Gabon and his journey to America has been well-chronicled. He played high school basketball in the United States for Roselle Catholic in New Jersey and won the 2013 Tournament of Champions with the Lions.

The South Carolina Gamecocks made a historic NCAA Tournament run to the Final Four in 2017, due, in large part, to Chris Silva. As a sophomore, Silva had a breakout season: he started all 37 games and averaged 10.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and a team-high 1.4 blocks in 21.0 minutes per game. In the matchup against top-seeded Gonzaga, in South Carolina’s first ever Final Four appearance, Silva scored 13 points and secured 13 rebounds.

Silva continued to improve as an upperclassman and was crowned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the 2017-18 campaign. Additionally, he was selected to the First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team in back-to-back seasons.

He also led the Gamecocks in multiple categories in his junior and senior years with, in his junior year, 14.3 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 1.4 blocks per game, and he shot 46.7% from the field. In his senior year, Silva’s team leading figures included averaging 15.2 points/game, 7.6 rebounds/game, 1.9 blocks/game, with a field goal percentage of 50.8%, including 50% from three-point range.

Silva was recently named to the NABC All-District Second Team for his final season as a Gamecock.

“It was clear to all those who watched South Carolina’s games this season that Chris was the emotional and physical leader of the team, and one of the best players in the SEC,” said Robert Zito, Managing Partner of IPZ. “His relationship with his coach and teammates as a student, leader, and teammate was evident.”

Silva is the only player in the history of South Carolina’s program to record at least 700 rebounds and 500 free throws in his career. He earned multiple academic honors as a student-athlete and will graduate this year with a degree in IT.

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity the coaching staffs in high school and college – and all my teammates – gave me and I look forward to the road ahead with the team at IPZ,” said Silva.

“In 34 years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve had a player work as hard as Chris Silva to get better,” said Frank Martin, Head Basketball Coach at South Carolina. “He is an unbelievable young man of tremendous character who is a really really good basketball player.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

Hurley Family Values…IPZ Family Values

As the University of Rhode Island Rams play their second round matchup of the NCAA Tournament versus the Oregon Ducks tonight, the IPZ family is rooting for Rhody! Coached by Dan Hurley – son of IPZ Board Member Bob Hurley – URI earned its way to the tournament by winning the A10 Championship a week ago, and advanced to the round of 32 following their 84-72 victory against Creighton in the first round of the tournament on St. Patrick’s Day.

Hurley family values: Rhode Island batters and beats Creighton in NCAA tournament

SACRAMENTO — Hurley spent his formative years learning basketball from one of its greatest teachers: his father, Bob Hurley Sr., the Naismith Hall of Fame coach of the legendary St. Anthony High Friars in Jersey City. And while the Friars have produced plenty of big-name players over the years — including Dan and his brother, Bobby — the fundamental values of the program have never changed: namely, that basketball games are won through ferocity, intensity, physicality and a commitment to defense.

Those are the values Dan Hurley has taken with him to the various stops in his own coaching career, beginning at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey, which he turned into a national power, before spending two years at Wagner College and then heading to the University of Rhode Island in 2012. Those are the values that propelled the Rams on Friday to their first NCAA tournament victory since 1998.

With his father and his brother Bobby watching from the stands, Hurley’s Rhode Island team, the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, battered and bruised No. 6 Creighton on its way to an 84-72 victory in the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 18 years. The Rams advanced to face No. 3 seed Oregon on Sunday for spot in the Sweet 16 and a trip to Kansas City next weekend.

“I think we’re built in the image of my family,” Hurley said. “Obviously, we’re all very intense, very passionate about basketball, very passionate about helping young people develop. And I think we also … this team reflects a little bit of the city I grew up in, Jersey City.

Read the full story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/03/17/hurley-family-values-rhode-island-batters-and-beats-creighton-in-ncaa-tournament/?utm_term=.1a41fb49b95d

March Insanity…But What About The Students?

One of the most fun – but most scrutinized – jobs in sports has to be picking the 68 teams in the NCAA basketball tournament.

The pundits suggest the group got the 68 right this year…although with the usual complaints from those who didn’t make it and are instead relegated to the NIT.

But in a perfect world, I’d have a wish…that it was easier for the students who supported their teams all year to do the same in the Tournament.

My dad always told me common sense was the most important thing you could bring into any decision process. So how could the NCAA make the tournament more student friendly?

I guess that would require being more true to “regions” than “seedings.”

The basketball talent on the court is amazing. But so are those students who support the players. I love the enthusiasm, the emotion, the “Fat Heads” in the stands, and the chants to support their teams…and irritate opponents. The students make college basketball. My oldest daughter went to Wake Forest and she always hoped she had saved enough money to go watch her school play.

This year, Seton Hall was seeded 9th (in my book, not fair) in the South region.  OK – Seton Hall is in South Orange, New Jersey. But that’s not exactly the southern part of the United States. 

Wisconsin wound up in the East…and some of that region’s games are in that great Eastern shore town of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

There are 10 teams from the East and South in the West region of the tournament…a region that is playing games in Buffalo and Orlando.

The Midwest? UC Davis, Miami, Rhode Island, Oregon, Iona and Jacksonville State have all been relocated.

The South? In addition to Seton Hall, Minnesota, Cincinnati, UCLA, Kent State, Dayton and Wichita State have all had their zip codes questioned. Oh…and some of the South games are being played in Sacramento and Milwaukee.

I know it’s a tough job. And you can’t pick neutral sites three days before the tournament starts, and thus some of the sites are cast in stone years in advance.

But I would love if the NCAA could come up with a solution to have early round games more geographically sensitive…especially for the students who want to go see their teams play.

What West Virginia student can afford the $456 for a flight (Monday’s price) to Buffalo?

Could a Rhode Island student afford the current $644 tab for a flight (Sunday’s price) to their team’s game in Sacramento?

I wish there was a way for the NCAA to help those college students who make college basketball great; it would make the tournament affordable and even better.

I hate seeing those early round games with thousands of empty seats in full view of the cameras…seats that could be filled with the students who help make the game so exciting.

P.S.: Loved seeing the CBS cameras Sunday focus on our Board Member Bob Hurley, and his wonderful wife Chris, hugging as URI – coached by their son Danny Hurley – won the A10 Tournament title.