Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A year ago a prominent Seton Hall basketball star won the Haggerty Award as the best player in the New York metropolitan area.
He then tested the NBA Draft waters, received an invite to the NBA Draft Combine and ultimately entered the Draft.
A year after Isaiah Whitehead landed with his hometown Brooklyn Nets, another Seton Hall player, junior big man Angel Delgado, could follow Whitehead’s trajectory.
Delgado on Wednesday became the second straight Seton Hall player to win the Lieutenant Frank J. Haggerty Award as the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association (MBWA) Player of the Year. Delgado was set receive the honor Wednesday night at the annual Met Writers dinner at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y.
“It made me feel good,” he said Wednesday by phone. “I gotta be happy. I think my teammates are happy for me, too, because in my opinion I think they deserve it more than me because they helped me to become a better player on the court and off the court.”
Delgado becomes the 12th Seton Hall recipient of the award, joining an elite group of Pirates to be recognized as Metro New York’s best. The list of Seton Hall’s Haggerty Award winners include Whitehead (2016), Andre Barrett (2004), Adrian Griffin (1996), Arturas Karnisovas (1994), Terry Dehere (1993), John Morton (1989), Mark Bryant (1988), Dan Callandrillo (1982), Nick Galis (1979), Nick Werkman (1964) and Walter Dukes (1953). Delgado’s honor represents the third time that The Hall has had the Haggerty winner in back-to-back years.
Delgado averaged 15.2 points and a nation-leading 13.1 rebounds and 5.03 offensive rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field. He finished second in the country with 27 double-doubles and had the longest consecutive double-double streak of any Division I student-athlete this season with 13 straight from Jan. 22 to March 9. He also led the Big East in rebounding with a conference single-season record 253 and 14.1 per game.
Now he will wait for next week to see if he gets an invite to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago May 11-12. The NBA on Tuesday released a list of 137 Early Entry candidates from American colleges, along with 45 international players. That list of 182 does not includes college seniors.
Only about 60-70 players will be invited to the Combine, where all 30 NBA teams will be represented.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s one of my goals right now,” he said. “I think next week I find out about the Combine.”
Delgado, who has not hired an agent and can return to Seton Hall for his senior season, is anxious for feedback.
“Yeah, of course, I gotta know what they think about me,” he said.
In the meantime, he will work out for the Atlanta Hawks on a Saturday, a league source said.
Whitehead, who has been through the experience, is advising Delgado, who starred at The Patrick School in New Jersey before pledging to Seton Hall.
“He always talk to me about trying to work hard,” he said. “When I go there, try to do my best.”
Delgado isn’t projected to be drafted by DraftExpress.com, but it remains unclear what he needs to hear to return to campus.
“I’m just going through the process and see what they’re going to say,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re gonna say yet.”
If he does return to campus, Seton Hall could be a Top 25 team with a nucleus of seniors Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ish Sanogo along with rising sophomore Myles Powell plus an incoming recruiting class that now includes big man Darnell Brodie, guard Myles Cale and stretch four Sandro Mamukelashvili. Seton Hall remains in the hunt for five-star point guard Trevon Duval, a close friend of Powell’s who could announce as soon as next week.
“I think they will be a perfect team without me or with me,” he said. “I think Seton Hall’s coach is doing a really great job. And with me or without me, I think they will be really good.”
He said his family supports him no matter what his decision.
“If I stay or leave, they will be there for me,” he said. “It’s not a rush, I’m just trying to make the best decsiion for me.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.