CAA Preview: Delaware Blue Hens

Last Season: 17–16 (8–10 CAA, fifth place), lost in CAA semifinal

Head Coach: Martin Ingelsby (fourth season)

CAA Preseason Poll Finish: Fifth


  • G Ryan Johnson
  • G Connor Rufo
  • G Curtis Lochner
  • G Ithiel Horton
  • G Darian Bryant
  • F Matt Veretto
  • F Eric Carter


  • G Nate Darling
  • G Reggie Gardner
  • G John McCoy
  • G Ebby Asamoah
  • F Dylan Painter

By Michael Petillo

The 2018–19 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Delaware, but the Blue Hens cobbled together a respectable 8–10 conference record and finished fifth. They pulled off a mild upset by knocking off William & Mary in the second round of the CAA Tournament before falling in a close game against Hofstra.

This year’s Blue Hens will have to overcome the graduation of forward Eric Carter and the transfer of standout freshman guard Ithiel Horton to the University of Pittsburgh. Despite those losses, Delaware has the talent to compete in the CAA.

The height of their ceiling largely depends on whether junior guard Ryan Allen takes the next step. Allen established himself as a player to watch as a freshman, averaging 15 ppg while knocking down 39 percent of his three-pointers. It was hoped he’d reach the next level as a sophomore, but his scoring average improved only slightly, to 16 ppg, as he missed the beginning of the season due to injury.

Allen’s backcourt running mate, Kevin Anderson, is another player to watch. A 6’5” guard, Anderson is a long, rangy defender who also dished out 3.8 apg as a sophomore last year. If his shooting improves a bit, he’ll become the second option for head coach Martin Ingelsby. He sat out summer activities — including the team’s trip to the Bahamas — with an injury, but he appears to be back at full strength.

Adding to the backcourt mix is highly touted junior transfer Nate Darling, who averaged 10 ppg in his last season at UAB. The 6’5” Canadian is a knockdown three-point shooter (41 percent as a sophomore) who sat out last year after transferring to Delaware. As with previous CAA transfers (see Pusica, Vasa), Darling could outperform his previous stats after having a year to work on his game and learn Ingelsby’s system. His impact could elevate an otherwise middling team to an elite one, making him one of the conference’s most pivotal players. Though his role at UAB was spotting up from the perimeter, Ingelsby says he has diversified, even playing point guard in practice.

Delaware’s obvious weakness is the frontcourt, where they lack a top-end talent to replace Carter. Senior role players Jacob Cushing and Collin Goss will likely see a big uptick in playing time. Both are serviceable big men who can stretch the floor, which should open driving lanes for the guards. They will look to hold the fort down for the first half of the season, at which point Villanova mid-year transfer Dylan Painter will be eligible to play. Painter, a 6’10” redshirt junior, struggled to find playing time for the Wildcats but will look to find his niche with the Blue Hens; he could boost the team at the beginning of conference play.

Bottom Line: Delaware is a talented veteran team, but there are too many question marks to pencil them in now among the CAA’s elite. That could all change by conference season if Darling shines and Allen becomes a first-team all-conference type of player. Until that happens, however, the Blue Hens are a second-tier CAA team with first-tier potential.

Men’s Basketball Finishes Third in Preseason Poll

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By Milton Posner

Ahh, the CAA Preseason Poll. That wonderful time of year when the conference’s coaches, media relations directors, and media members (including a few from your favorite Northeastern student radio station) gaze deep into their crystal balls and relay the results of the upcoming season. The results of this annual divination ritual, released Wednesday, were among the closest ever, with five teams receiving first-place votes.

TeamPoints (First-Place Votes
Hofstra Pride331 (14)
Charleston Cougars323 (18)
Northeastern Huskies291 (4)
James Madison Dukes253 (3)
Delaware Blue Hens241 (2)
Towson Tigers194
William & Mary Tribe131
Drexel Dragons125
UNCW Seahawks118
Elon Phoenix48

Hofstra, the defending regular-season titleholder, narrowly topped Charleston despite receiving fewer first-place votes. Northeastern finished third without immediate neighbors, and James Madison squeaked ahead of Delaware.

Charleston senior guard Grant Riller took home Preseason Player of the Year Honors and headlined the All-CAA First Team.

First TeamGrant Riller, Charleston
Nathan Knight, William & Mary
Brian Fobbs, Towson
Eli Pemberton, Hofstra
Matt Lewis, James Madison
Second TeamJordan Roland, Northeastern
Ryan Allen, Delaware
Camren Wynter, Drexel
Desure Buie, Hofstra
Darius Banks, James Madison
Honorable MentionBolden Brace, Northeastern
Kai Toews, UNCW
Kevin Anderson, Delaware
James Butler, Drexel
Marcus Sheffield II, Elon

Hofstra, Charleston, and Northeastern, the top three finishers in the poll, were the top three finishers in the regular season last year, albeit in a different order. All three lost major contributors — Justin Wright-Foreman, Jarrell Brantley, and Vasa Pusica, respectively — to graduation. They, along with fellow first-teamer Devontae Cacok of UNCW, signed pro contracts. This was a familiar theme during the CAA offseason; many of the conference’s most talented players graduated or transferred, including William & Mary’s Justin Pierce, Drexel’s Alihan Demir, and Northeastern’s Shawn Occeus.

Hofstra will look to defend its regular-season crown behind a trio of guards: second-teamer Eli Pemberton, third-teamer and Defensive Player of the Year Desure Buie, and the sweet-shooting Tareq Coburn. Charleston will lean heavily on Riller and hope for increased contributions from their maturing role players, namely Brevin Galloway. Northeastern, the defending CAA champion, offers second-teamer Jordan Roland, versatile guard/forward Bolden Brace, and a mix of returning role players and freshman recruits. James Madison and Delaware look to rebound from losing years behind star guards and, in Delaware’s case, two high-powered transfers in Dylan Painter and Nate Darling.

WRBB will post detailed previews for each CAA team the week before Northeastern’s November 5 opening again Boston University. Michael Petillo and Milton Posner will be on the call; coverage begins at 6:45 PM ET.