Myles Dread relished the challenge.
Every night in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, Dread was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s big man. Dread was one of the tallest starters on Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) last season at about 6-foot-4. His opponents often owned a height advantage, with plenty standing about 6 feet, 8 inches tall.
Dread more than held his own.
“All-league player,” Gonzaga coach Steve Turner said. “I think that speaks for itself, and those votes come from the coaches in the league, not just me.”
Dread does a little bit of everything for Gonzaga.
He defends multiple positions, rebounds well and creates mismatches on the offensive end. Dread became Penn State’s first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, and he feels he can do a little bit of everything for the Nittany Lions.
“I feel like having that kind of player in any program is of value,” Dread said.
Dread has always been one of the biggest players on his teams, so he’s played power forward and center.
Though Dread can play multiple positions, the Gonzaga standout is usually matched up with opposing big men.
Defensively, he tries to stay low, play physical and box out. If he needs help, he’ll call for it.
But he embraces those battles against opponents who underestimate him.
“They just walk down to the post, thinking they can post me up,” Dread said. “And I just run around and front ‘em, be physical with ‘em, try to push ‘em around as much as I can and just not let them use their strength against me.”
Dread even took on 7-footers at the Junior Orange Bowl Classic in Florida last year.
Zach Brown, a 7-foot center and four-star recruit in the Class of 2017, proved to be unstoppable.
“Nothing really I could do with him,” Dread said. “He’s a great player.”
But Dread impressed Turner with his play in the tournament.
He was a tough matchup on the offensive end, beating the big men off the dribble and knocking down jump shots.
“He really shoots the ball very well,” Turner said. “He has a tremendous basketball IQ. He’s a kid that makes the right play. He’s not going to get the love for the amazing highlight play, but (he’s) the guy who makes the right play and makes winning plays.”
He also kept his opponents off the boards during the tournament in Florida.
It’s a skill he’s developed over the years playing in the paint.
According to The Washington Post, Dread led Gonzaga with 166 rebounds, good for an average of 5.0 per game last season.
“I think it’s making him even better as an all-around player because he’s a guy who’s going to be a wing,” Turner said. “But his ability to rebound is going to be a strength for Penn State because he knows how to rebound.”
Dread said he could grow another inch or so.
But if he’s done growing, he’ll be happy with his height. It hasn’t stopped him from challenging taller opponents.
And he always looks forward to one-on-one matchups as a defender.
“I like taking pride in not letting my man score, no matter who it is — whether it be LeBron James or whether it be anybody,” Dread said. “If they score, I’m upset with myself. I got to go make sure I go get a stop the next time down.”
Dread first noticed Penn State when State College’s Drew Friberg received an offer from the Nittany Lions last summer.
Dread and Friberg are AAU teammates on Team Takeover.
“I think he’s the nicest person I’ve ever met; never frowning, always smiling,” Dread said. “Win, lose or draw, he’s always in a good mood — just a great, great, great teammate, very unselfish. He looks for his teammates, knowing he’s the best shooter on the team. He’s just a great dude.”