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Tim Delaney's leadership on full display at Blair Academy

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Ryan Saccoman

4-star recruit (ESPN) Tim Delaney raised many eyebrows when he decided to transfer to Blair Academy (NJ) from Pitman High (NJ) after his junior year. His team had just won the Group I Title and could have played out his senior year as defending champs.

Instead, he chose to finish his high school career at a place he felt would best transition him into college.

"I think the fact that we won the [title] last year made it a little easier," Delaney told NJ.com. "Winning it with those guys was just the perfect ending."

With being at a new school for only one year, and throwing eventual 'senioritis' on top of it, one may think Delaney wouldn't bring his A-game to his new team. BA coach Joe Mantegna's report is just the opposite. The two originally became acquainted when Delaney played in a tournament in Germany last spring, and now welcomed "one of the single toughest kids that [he's] ever coached."

"This kid is ready to take on the rigors of Villanova" added Coach Mantegna, who added that Tim was like that when he arrived his senior year. "It's rare to see a kid who is ready in terms of that aspect of the game."

To say Tim's last hurrah in high school basketball is easy would be a mistake. Delaney suffered multiple injuries this season including a broken nose that required two separate surgeries and a bruised retina. On top of that, Delaney will need off-season surgery on his hip. It will take place in the spring.

While the injuries are not welcomed, the response he has given certainly is.

"Tim doesn't owe us anything" Mantegna admitted. "He could have broken his nose and taken three weeks off, but the kid hasn't taken off a single practice." When facts like that get leaked about Delaney's work ethic, it comes as no surprise for Jay Wright to go and recruit this kind of kid.

The future Wildcat added that his year served at Blair Academy has forced him to give his all on the court. "Before I came to Blair, I could get away with not going after every loose ball or not boxing out on every rebound because I was bigger and stronger than everyone, but now it really comes down to everything being done right if I want to play well and help my team win."

The way Joe Mantegna describes Tim's play makes every Villanova fan's mouth water. "He's learned to guard big guys on defense, but then he can also take those big bodies away from the hoop and pick and pop and make 3-pointers on offense." When I got to see Tim Delaney at the Reebok Breakout in July last year, what really impressed me was his rebounding ability. He forcefully grabbed boards on both ends of the floor, sometimes with one arm. We all know the Wildcats lack depth in the frontcourt, and this seems like a kid who will bring help immediately.

"Villanova is getting one heck of a player" Mantegna concluded.