CAA Preview: Delaware Blue Hens
Last Year: 18-14 (12-6 CAA) 5th in the CAA, Lost to Old Dominion in the 2nd round of CAA tournament, Lost to Butler in first round of CBI.
What Happened: After a mediocre start to the season in which Delaware found no consistency in nonconference play, Coach Monte’ Ross’ team was able to turn it on in CAA play, specifically in February when they went 8-0. The Hens showed that they have the weapons to cause CAA teams problems as they set a record for CAA wins (12) and reached post-season play (CBI) for the first time since 2000.
- Khalid Lewis (G): While it’s worth noting Delaware is graduating two seniors in Samer Madarani (G), and Hakim McCullar (F), neither had significant roles in Coach Ross’ rotation. Lewis, on the other hand, started every game last season as a freshman for the Blue Hens, averaging 5.2 points and 1.9 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. The point guard, who was effective even with most of the touches going to former rookie of the year Devon Saddler, has transferred to the A10 as the newest member of La Salle.
- Devon Saddler (G): This junior is sure to be a player of the year contender. The former rookie of the year had another outstanding campaign last season averaging 18.8 points (second in the CAA) and 4.1 rebounds a game. The Maryland native has the speed to get by perimeter defenses and this season, his outside shot also dramatically improved. Selected to the 2nd team All-CAA.
- Jamelle Hagins (F): Another second team All-CAA selection and a rebounding machine. The big fellah averaged a double-double last season with 12.4 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. The senior will be the anchor of the Blue Hens defense as he ranks third in Delaware history with 117 career blocks.
- Jarvis Threatt: The Virginia native showed that he could adapt to CAA play quick through his rookie campaign. The guard provided scoring off the bench as he averaged the third most points per game on the team with 10.7 and he finished the end of the season on a tear, averaging 19.6 points a game.
With players like Saddler, Hagins, Threatt, and Kyle Anderson, Delaware has the weapons to cause teams problems. However, the only way they’ll be able to utilize those weapons is if they clean up their ball movement on offense. The Hens were ranked second to last as a team last year with 9.4 assists a game. Delaware’s best players all love to have the ball in their hands in order to make plays so Coach Ross will need to tweak his offense so that they all get their touches without sticking to isolation offense. Look for the Blue Hens to contend with Drexel and George Mason for the CAA title.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs