While Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado ranks high statistically throughout the nation, he is not being considered one of the nation’s best centers in award recognition.
Earlier this month, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, which recognizes the best center in college basketball.
The nation’s top rebounder and second-best double-double man, Delgado, was not one of them.
This list includes Eric Mika of Brigham Young University, Tacko Fall of UCF, Justin Patton of Creighton, Yante Maten of Georgia, Przemek Karnowski of Gonzaga, Tim Kempton of Lehigh, Jock Landale of Saint Mary’s, Thomas Welsh of UCLA, Josh Hawkinson of Washington St. and Ethan Happ of Wisconsin.
Putting up 21 double-doubles this season and 13.2 rebounds per game entering Feb. 22, Delgado has been a consistent machine for Seton Hall. He has five 20-point games this season and has been named to the Big East Honor Roll nine times. He also put up back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games this season, being the first Big East player to post just one of those games since 2010.
Still, Delgado isn’t brought up nationally as one of the best centers in the game.
According to Seton Hall’s roster, the Pirates don’t have a center on their team at all. All the bigs are listed as forwards, including Delgado, Rashed Anthony, Desi Rodriguez, Ismael Sanogo and Mike Nzei.
Rodriguez and Delgado don’t have the same playing style; Rodriguez drives to the rim and shoots from range, while Delgado posts up and devours rebounds. Yet both are listed under the position of forward on the roster.
Delgado hasn’t been shy about how dominant of a player he is currently.
“Nobody can stop me right now,” Delgado said after his 21st double-double on Feb. 18. “That’s only my opinion. That’s why I just play hard every single time, that’s why I play so tough.”
While positioning can be attributed as one reason that Delgado isn’t a finalist on the list, Hall of Fame official Pat Ochoa told the Asbury Park Press in an email that, “The selections are made with input from multiple media members. They use stats, team records and the eye test to gauge their selections.”
Delgado’s stats alone earn him a spot on that list. Heading in Wednesday, the team boasts a 16-10 record and an eye test of Delgado shows that he acts as center almost the entire time he is on the floor.
Even though the finalists have been named, it is not too late for Delgado to get recognition and receive the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award. There will be a new, shortened list announced during the second week of March, in which the field for the award will be cut down to five players. Delgado is able to make this new list, but he’d have to make a big jump in the eyes of the media members that vote to be considered one of the top-five college basketball centers in the country.
While Delgado continues to grab rebounds at the highest pace in the country, and lists double-doubles game after game, he is still not getting national recognition. If he continues his dominance, there’s a chance to get on the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar award list, but for now, he remains South Orange’s best kept secret.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @eswint22.