Few big men in the country were as tenacious on the boards as Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado this year. That tenacity was recognized on Wednesday when it was announced that the freshman was taking home the Big East Rookie of the Year award.
Delgado, who hails from the Dominican Republic, averaged 9.9 rebounds per game, more than any other freshman in the country. That includes projected No. 1 pick Jahlil Okafor out of Duke. On top of that, he shot 55 percent from the field and averaged 9.3 points and 1.3 blocks while playing 28.1 minutes per game.
Delgado’s numbers improved during conference play, bumping his rebounds and points up to 10.7 and 9.8 a game, respectively. By the end of the season the 6-foot, 9-inch forward had recorded 10 double-doubles. His most memorable was a 19-rebound, 19-point performance in a losing effort to DePaul on January 22.
“He’s gone out and battled every game, played at a very high level every night,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “He hasn’t had a letdown night which is tough when you’re going against the guys that he’s had to go against. I think he’s really grown into a terrific young player.”
When asked about the award, Delgado decided to praise his teammates instead.
“I’m really proud for my team,” Delgado said. “Only one guy (gets) to win this, they’re happy too but I’m really happy for them. It’s not all about me, it’s all about them. I’m really happy for them and my family is really happy for me… If it’s not for them, I don’t win this award.”
Delgado now joins the late Eddie Griffin as the only other Pirate to win the award. Griffin received the honor in 2001. Prior to the start of the season, it was actually Delgado’s teammate and McDonald’s All-American, Isaiah Whitehead, who was picked to win the award.
“I think it really proves how important he was for us,” head coach Kevin Willard said Delgado’s accomplishment. “I think it proves the consistency that he played all year long, playing against older and bigger guys. I think he did the most consistent job of anybody of really sustaining a high level of play.”