The man who has the sixth-most rebounds per game in the country resides in South Orange, N.J. When that man is hot, so are the Pirates.
That man, Angel Delgado, has put up 11.8 rebounds per game through Seton Hall’s 12-game season. The junior also ranks 10th in the country in total rebounds, racking up 141 altogether.
For Seton Hall, a Delgado double-double means a win. The big man has put up eight this season, which ranks for fifth-most in the country.
Even struggling through injury, Delgado has put up six straight double-doubles. The big man’s last 21 double-doubles all came with wins for Seton Hall. At this point, double-digit outings in the scoring column and on the glass are expected from Delgado.
One reason Delgado has been able to dominate more so than in past seasons is the maturity he has gained. That was seen in the first half of Seton Hall’s game against Rutgers on Dec. 23 when Delgado had a dry spell in the first half. He bounced back in the second half, though, putting up 15 points on 5-9 shooting.
“If he was 2-9 [from the field] in his first year [at Seton Hall], he would have been done,” Kevin Willard said after the Rutgers win. “He would have been done defensively, he would have been done rebounding, and he has matured. He has come a really long way emotionally.”
Delgado credits his composure to experience on the court.
“Couple years ago, I was like ‘Oh my God,’ I didn’t know what to do. Now, I got a little more experience,” Delgado said. “You already know, like, there’s two halves. If you play bad in the first half, you have to bring it in the second half, and that’s what I did.”
Delgado has received nods for his play this season, including three consecutive Big East Weekly Honor Roll acknowledgements. He was also named All-Met Player of the Week, and the Joe Calabrese MVP following Seton Hall’s defeat of Rutgers.
As Seton Hall enters Big East play, Delgado will be tested to keep up this high level of play. The Pirates have a big test right off the bat, facing the No. 10 Creighton Bluejays on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
The Bluejays hold a 12-0 record, and the Pirates will be looking to hand the team its first loss of the season, on Creighton’s court, no less.
It will be difficult for Seton Hall to win without not only a balanced attack, but the usual big game from the big man Delgado.
Delgado will match up with freshman Bluejay big man Justin Patton, who has averaged 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Delgado will look to keep up his 14.7 points per game against the big man.
If Delgado and Seton Hall win to start Big East play, the Hall may just work its way into the AP Top 25.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @eswint22.