Seizing the opportunities; DiIorio Helps Cougs on and off the court

Dustin Brennan | Evergreen reporter

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A true student athlete, senior guard Will DiIorio is a leader both on and off the court, regardless of what the stat sheet says.

“Whenever I get an opportunity, I take advantage of it,” the Bainbridge Island native said. “I’ve been raised to either give it 100 percent or just not do it at all.”

WSU men’s basketball Head Coach Ken Bone gave DiIorio that opportunity in playing Division I basketball, which he has taken full advantage of.

“Statistically (DiIorio) hasn’t done a lot, but he’s one of our captains, and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do in the last four years,” Bone said.

DiIorio’s work ethic and desire to make himself and his teammates better on and off the court shows why he is a strong captain.

“Being the oldest of four children, I’ve always had to lead by example,” DiIorio said.

His father, William L. Ayears, who was a WSU track star in the ‘80s, echoed Bone’s sentiment about DiIorio’s work ethic.

“He does what the coach tells him to do and that’s the great thing about an athlete that’s coachable,” Ayears said. “It made him more mature, he became more responsible, he became more disciplined.”

Between his junior and senior year at Bainbridge High School, DiIorio went from a 6-foot-4 guard to a 6-foot-6, five-position athlete, who was named Metro League Player of the Year and averaged 18.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.

Because of DiIorio’s growth both physically and as an offensive threat, Ayears said he did not agree with Coach Bone utilizing his son as a defensive specialist.

However, Bone said he believes DiIorio contributed a lot more to the team than just his on-court role.

“Will is one of those guys who’s been a positive influence whether he’s played or not,” Bone said. “He studies a lot when we’re on the road while other guys might be watching TV.”

The senior guard said he tries to show his teammates there’s more to school than just playing games and practicing, and he stressed how important it is to get an education off the court.

DiIorio plans on graduating in May with a degree in communication and hopes to attend a graduate school before becoming a sports broadcaster.

The departing senior’s favorite WSU basketball memory will not soon be lost on him.

“I will never forget the energy that Beasley could hold in my freshman year,” he said. “The only thing is you have to win to pack any stadium in Pullman.”