Seton Hall senior center Angel Delgado has made his name as a dominating presence on the offensive and defensive glass, but rebounding is not all the Dominican Republic native is bringing to the table so far in 2017.
While Delgado continues to rebound at a high pace, he has become more of a complete player for the Pirates, improving on the offensive end in a variety of ways.
Last year, Delgado showcased his ability to make passes out of the post, setting up his shooters for good looks on the perimeter. With opponents often double-teaming Delgado whenever he touches the ball, his ability to pass out of the post and set his teammates up for high percentage shots has become an important part of Seton Hall’s success on offense this season.
“I think the big fella is playing much better basketball than he did last year,” head coach Kevin Willard said following the team’s upset victory over No. 22 Texas Tech on Nov. 30. “He’s become such a great passer.”
His improved passing was on display against No. 17 Louisville on Dec. 3, as Delgado provided sophomore sharpshooter Myles Powell and fellow senior Desi Rodriguez with some quality looks on the perimeter during the game. Delgado providing his teammates with high quality shots was a big reason why the Pirates had success spreading the floor in the 79-77 upset victory.
“We still throw it to him a ton, but I think he understands that he has so many weapons around him and teams are going to have to stop double teaming him,” Willard said. “I think he’s playing better than he did last year and the guys around him are working with him to make it easier for him.”
“[Delgado] gets us a lot of easy looks. I think that’s one reason why we get open threes is because you have to put four guys in the lane against him. If not, he’s going to score or get your big guy in foul trouble.”
Senior point guard Khadeen Carrington has also praised Delgado’s passing and how it allows Seton Hall’s offense to play inside out instead of the ball being stuck on the perimeter.
“We like getting the ball into Angel a lot,” Carrington said. “He’s a great passer and he draws a lot of attention.”
Delgado has also developed more of a versatile low-post game, as he has been hitting jump hooks and mid-range shots with more consistency compared to his first three years at Seton Hall. Delgado can still use some work with his back to the basket, but being able to step out and hit a 15-foot jumper brings a new element to the Seton Hall offense.
Offense has not been the only end of the floor where Delgado has changed his game in 2017. Despite being a dominant rebounder, Delgado is not the best on-ball defender in the world. In the past, he has also shown some difficulty dealing with the pick and roll and stopping dribble penetration.
Willard has seen a different side of Delgado this season, as he no longer has to rely on the likes of Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nzei to bail Delgado out on the defensive end.
“Defensively, he’s become someone we can depend on,” Willard said. “We don’t have to hide him.”
A more complete Delgado not only benefits the Hall, but also improves Delgado’s professional potential. After nearly testing the NBA Draft waters a year ago, Delgado decided to return to Seton Hall in hopes of showing scouts that he is the complete package as a big man and not just a one-dimensional rebounder.
No matter the reason for Delgado’s naturalization as a big man, it can mean good things for Seton Hall moving forward. If Delgado keeps playing like this as the season progresses, he will not only be known as a glass cleaner but also an all-around threat on both ends of the court.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.