The dictionary has two definitions for the word shambles: one is the state of complete disorder. The other can be described, from the olden days. Both definitions are applicable to the current state of Delaware Blue Hens basketball.
In a time not so long ago, all the way back in the 2013-2014 season, Delaware won the CAA championship and competed in the NCAA tournament. It appeared that the squad had a bright future in the conference and that there were more bids to come. This off-season seems to have lasted an eternity, and the days of seeing any sort of post-season activity are imaginary, legendary or part of an ancient oral history. One year after making an appearance at the big dance, the Blue Hens completed a 10-20 campaign. This year they were in the middle of a horrendous 7-23 season when other news at the school moved to front and center.
In December of 2015, the Athletic Director Eric Ziady announced that he would be stepping down effective December 31st 2015. It is very difficult to gain any traction for a program when there is no leadership to guide each individual sect toward its main goal. Matthew Robinson became the interim Athletic Director for the school. To make matters worse, the person in charge of hiring the AD announced that he too would be leaving the school. Patrick Harker accepted a new position as the president of the Federal Reserve of the Bank of Philadelphia in early March. He indicated that he intended to stay until the term ended on June 30th in hopes that the school could gain back some ground and find a new president to replace him. Then, later that month, coach Monté Ross was terminated. While the normal coaching vacancy is filled in a timeframe of two weeks, the Hens are still without a head coach over two months later.
This left the school left in a state with no coach, no athletic director, and a president on the way out only two calendar years after making the tournament. So it couldn’t possibly get any worse, right?
Apparently it can, because the seas were parted for the mass exodus of scholarship players from the squad intending to find lands of sweet honey elsewhere. Since counting all bodies is important at this point, let’s consider who all has left including the graduates: Sean Locke, proud owner of 26 minutes in the 2015-2016 season, graduated along with second leading scorer Marvin King-Davis. Several players transferred with the knowledge that they would have to sit out a year, but that seems preferable to the situation that their current school is in.
This week we found out the destination of one of the better transfers in the NCAA, Kory Holden. He will join Frank Martin and South Carolina, skipping a year to be eligible for the 2017-2018 season. Chivarsky Corbett has also found a new school in UTSA. Maurice Jeffers has announced that he will become a graduate transfer, and Skye Johnson and Eric Carter are also on their way out.
Now that the dominoes have fallen in place, that leaves exactly four scholarship players, no coach, no AD an interim president. The only possible thing that could make this worse is if there were rumors of sanctions coming out about the school for misconduct or violation of NCAA rules.
In any case, the upcoming season will be very tough. The coaching position is still vacant and very little seems to be giving anyone hope. The school hired its first female AD in Chrissi Rawak. They have also found a new President in former Stony Brook Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dennis Assanis. They need to get moving on finding a new coach if they are going to even have enough bodies to put on the floor next season. Otherwise we will be talking about a butcher shop more than a hen house as the imagery of the school’s athletic program.