Let the record show that the first pixels of this post were electrified several days ago. I have hard evidence in the form of an email exchange with the Teej. That's important, because the subject of this post is featured in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated. First Grantland steals our stuff, now the venerable SI? Do we know any lawyers, 'cause this shit's getting out of hand. Here's the post, no hard feelings or anything:
It's no secret that we're huge CAA Basketball fans. We also have been known to be fond of women. When one of the best female basketball players in the country happens to do her hooping for a CAA team, it's hard for us to ignore for too long.
When we last heard from Elena Delle Donne, she was shocking the collegiate hoops world by leaving Geno Auriemma's UCONN program before she played a single game and transferring to Delaware to play volleyball. The all-everything high school basketball star was widely considered the country's best recruit, with a dazzling combination of size and skill. Delle Donne was voted Naismith, Gatorade, and McDonald's national player of the year in 2007-08 after leading Ursinus High School to four straight Delaware state titles. She was a latter-day Larry Bird, except that she did the Hick from French Lick one better, not only moving down a level in competition, but changing sports altogether.
“I committed to UConn hoping the passion would come back,” Delle Donne
said in an interview with USA Basketball. “I got there and realized I needed to be home. Something was
wrong. I didn’t love the sport anymore.” Delle Donne's close-knit family lives just 20 minutes from Delaware's campus, so she left the relatively bright lights of Storrs, CT for Newark, DE.
After a successful freshman volleyball season with the Blue Hens, where she was named to the All-CAA team, Delle Donne felt her passion for basketball rekindled. Despite offers from numerous NCAA powers, she chose to resume her hoops career where she felt comfortable.
All she's done since then is average over 27 points per game, win CAA Player of the Year awards and All-America nods, lead the USA to a World University Games gold medal, scoring 15.7 points and grabbing 8.5 rebounds per game, and completely upend the CAA's natural order. She's dropping a nation's-best 29.3 points per game in 2011-12 for the 14-1 Blue Hens, whose only loss came at an undefeated Maryland team. Though her 6'5" frame casts her as a post player, she's hitting 48% of her three-point attempts and 93.3% of her free throws. She's a badass.
“It’s like I’m a 10-year-old playing AAU basketball again,” she said with a smile. “I’ve got the love for the game.” That sounds just a little big Gheorghey, no?