Angel Delgado, projected as potential Player of the Year in Big East next season, is now not expected to return for senior year at Seton Hall. (Photo by NJ Advance Media)
For a second consecutive season, Seton Hall may be pondering life without their most dominant player.
Angel Delgado, the junior forward who led the nation in rebounding this past year and was the driving force behind the Pirates' second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, is suddenly not expected to return to South Orange for what would be his final go-round at the collegiate level.
ZagsBlog's Adam Zagoria was first to report this bombshell revelation, which was immediately confirmed by Jerry Carino, who also covers Seton Hall for the Asbury Park Press.
Currently projected to be undrafted in the latest prognostication by DraftExpress, Delgado had been testing the professional waters since late March, when he announced he would enter the NBA Draft. However, the 6-foot-10 Dominican did not sign with an agent, and has yet to do so, technically leaving the door open for a comeback to a Seton Hall team that is widely viewed as a Top 25 outfit should he reprise his role as the Pirates' rim protector alongside guards and fellow classmates Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez.
Delgado averaged 15.2 points and 13.1 rebounds per game for Seton Hall en route to winning the Haggerty Award two weeks ago, given annually to the best player in the New York metropolitan area. Should he eschew his senior season, he would join former teammate Isaiah Whitehead on the list of players recruited by head coach Kevin Willard to leave early for a professional career. Whitehead recently wrapped up his rookie season in the NBA as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
Should Delgado leave, Seton Hall would have a gaping hole to fill down low, even with Ismael Sanogo back for a senior campaign. The Pirates did sign incoming freshman Darnell Brodie and seven-foot junior college transfer Romaro Gill, but talent the likes of Delgado; an Associated Press All-American and unanimous first team all-Big East Conference selection, is seemingly impossible to replace overnight. Nevertheless, he offered effusive praise for his team and its prospects next season, with or without him.
"I think they will be a perfect team without me or with me," Delgado told Zagoria. "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."