Delaware’s first month of the season has been hampered by canceled games, a rearranged schedule, and a pause of team activities due to COVID. The result? The Blue Hens have only played two games thus far and their 1-1 record gives little indication of where they stand.
Friday’s game at George Washington, one of their three remaining non-conference games before they begin conference play in the beginning of January, perhaps offers an opportunity for clarity on the state of the Blue Hens.
The expectations are high.
Despite losing one of the best players in program history, Delaware is expected to contend for a CAA title. The conference’s preseason poll put the Blue Hens second behind Hofstra, an improvement on their fifth-place finish in the 2019-2020 season.
The reason for the optimistic outlook? The presence of senior guards, Kevin Anderson and Ryan Allen.
Both were selected CAA Preseason Second Team after junior years where they averaged double figures.
Anderson scored 21 in the opener against Division II Salem University and 18 in the loss to UMBC. He hasn’t shown it yet this season, but he’s an effective passer as well. He led the team last year with 122 assists.
Allen is averaging 13.5 points per game thus far, up from 12.2 last season. Against UMBC he scored 15 points but was 0-7 on three-pointers. That was an aberration. Allen has been a strong three-point shooter throughout his career, hitting 65 last season.
Allen’s shooting will help offset the loss of Nate Darling, who recently signed a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets. The All-CAA guard scored 21.0 points a game in 2019-2020 and was sixth in the nation in three-point makes.
Their first two games have revealed a bit of bright news--the play of Ebby Asamoah. The sophomore has scored more points in his first two games than he did all last season. Asamoah scored 20 points off the bench against Salem, including six three-pointers. He’s connected on eight of his 12 attempts from long-range this season.
Senior forward Dylan Painter gives the Blue Hens experience in the frontcourt. Painter had to sit out the first-semester last year after transferring from Villanova, but soon became a starter. He should be the team’s best rebounder and along with Anderson and Allen will create a senior core that could propel Delaware to their first CAA title since 2014.