He believes those skills translate to the basketball court as well.
“I pride myself on the defensive end and working hard moving my feet and trying to stay in front of the guy,” said Lillard, a longtime member of the Chicago Fire soccer club. “I have good length; I’m able to stay down (low) and get up and challenge a guy when I need to. It’s a good way of staying in front of someone. I love soccer, but I love basketball just as much.”
Hinsdale Central basketball coach Nick Latorre considers Lillard the team’s defensive stopper, often times matching him up against an opponent’s top player.
Lillard occasionally defends 6-foot-7 Division I prospect Matt Rafferty in practice.
“He’s tough,” said Rafferty, who had 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss Saturday. “He’s a huge part of our team. Every day he leads our defensive drills and prides himself in being the defensive guy. He’s not selfish and doesn’t need to get too many points. He loves playing defense. He’s always making everyone on the team better. He doesn’t back down to anyone."
Boys basketball: Hinsdale Central's Grant Lillard a star on the soccer field, court