Villanova gets commitment from Bethlehem guard

Darrun Hilliard has watched his stock steadily rise this summer, from being an Atlantic 10 player to gradually gaining the eye of some Big East coaches, namely Villanova’s Jay Wright.

The smooth-shooting, 6-5 senior guard from Bethlehem Liberty High made an oral commitment to the Wildcats today.

“I will attend Villanova University,” Hilliard announced at a late-afternoon news conference at Liberty High. “The reason why I chose Villanova [is] because they have great academics, and I’m guaranteed a great life after basketball, and I felt real comfortable there, like a home away from home. They have a great tradition there.”

Hilliard scored a game-high 26 points in Liberty’s 70-51 PIAA Class AAAA state semifinal loss to Penn Wood last season. After that game, Temple’s Fran Dunphy and Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli offered Hilliard a scholarship, Hilliard said.

Villanova came into the picture late, but once Wright began showing interest this summer, Hilliard reciprocated.

Hilliard averaged 18 points a game last season and he played exceptionally well in the state semifinals against Penn Wood’s Aaron Brown, who is headed to Big East rival West Virginia.