The former Enfield High basketball star has decided to leave Central Connecticut State University after three seasons and will transfer to Division II University of Tampa in Florida. With the NCAA’s blanket waiver for 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has two years of eligibility remaining and can play immediately.
The 5-foot-9 guard took an official visit starting March 29 that she called amazing and committed to the Spartans April 1.
“There was a lot to think about with the extra year of eligibility,” Delano said Sunday. “I reached out to a couple of schools and sent them highlight films figuring that I had nothing to lose. I felt like that I had outgrown Central. I didn’t feel like the player I was and Central didn’t help me to get back to where I was.
“I looked into Tampa and it seemed like they had what I wanted. The people there are passionate about basketball and their players. When I reached out to them, the coach (Tom Jessee) called me back 30 minutes later. I was a little nervous because I don’t think my time at Central reflects what I am as a player and how I worked and practiced. I talked to my teammates and they felt the same way.”
Delano was a two-time all-conference performer and a 1,000-point scorer at Enfield High and helped her team to four state tournament semifinal appearances.
But a day after signing her letter of intent with the Blue Devils, she suffered a displaced tibia/fibula at the ankle during a state tournament soccer game against Cheshire that would cost her almost all her senior basketball season.
It would continue to bother her in college. She played 58 games with three starts over three seasons and totaled 167 points, 55 rebounds, 37 assists, and 31 steals. As a junior, she averaged 3.7 points in 11.5 minutes over 17 games. The Blue Devils went 4-14 under interim coach Kerri Reaves, who replaced the head coach who recruited Delano to Central - Beryl Piper - following her resignation in May.
“I still don’t have the mobility I used and that’s something that may never be the same,” Delano said. “I would go to physical therapy three or four times a week after I got hurt and I had a second surgery before my freshman year to get the metal and screws out. The ankle still bothers me. I wouldn’t say that I’m hesitant but I’m working hard to get back.
“I’m going to Tampa for a new beginning and in a new environment. I’ve never really been away from home before and I’m looking forward to it.”
Tampa finished its shortened 2020-21 season 7-0 and won the Sunshine State Conference championship by defeating Palm Beach Atlantic in the tournament final. In 19 years with the Spartans, Jessee has guided the Spartans to 10 of the program’s 13 NCAA Tournament berths and four Sunshine State Conference tourney championships.
Delano will arrive on campus for classes in late August and with a bit of a chip on her shoulder.
“I want to go there and not only be a better player but a better person,” Delano said. “I am so motivated and I’m working out constantly in the gym to get ready. I can’t wait to get on the court there. I want to prove everyone wrong and fall in love with basketball again.”