Angel Delgado is Keeping Seton Hall AfloatPosted by Mike Knapp on February 9th, 2017
Despite winning its last two games in overtime to keep its postseason hopes alive, Seton Hall’s season has not gone quite the way it had hoped. Coming off a campaign that included a Big East Tournament championship and a top-20 final ranking, the Pirates were probably expecting something slightly better than a 15-8 (5-6 Big East) record heading into the home stretch. The team has without question missed the play-making brilliance of all-Big East guard Isaiah Whitehead — who bolted South Orange for the NBA — but four upperclassman starters returned, including a player in junior center Angel Delgado who has emerged as one of the best big men in the country.
After earning all-Big East honorable mention last season while averaging a near-double-double (9.9 PPG; 9.3 RPG), Delgado came into this year in better shape and as determined as ever. And although the junior averaged a very healthy 14.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in non-conference play, his uptick in production during Big East play has been outstanding. In 11 conference games, Delgado is averaging 15.7 points and an astonishing 14.7 rebounds per game – 5.0 of which come on the offensive end. That translates to a superb 28.9 percent defensive rebounding rate, far and away the best in the Big East, and also a stellar offensive rebounding percentage of 14.5 percent – fifth in the league.
Delgado has been so good largely because of his relentlessness on the boards, but what is telling about his overall impact is how much Seton Hall struggles without its burly center in the game. Per Hoop Lens, Seton Hall’s offensive efficiency falls from a solid 1.09 points per possession to an atrocious 0.88 PPP when Delgado is on the bench. The culprit for the huge reduction in efficiency appears to be rebounding — when he is off the floor, the Pirates’ offensive rebounding rate drops from a solid 36.8 percent to an average 32.3 percent, and their defensive rebounding rate drops from 27 percent to 25 percent. That’s not to discount Delgado’s impact on the offensive end of the floor as well. He’s already posted as many double-figure scoring games in Big East play (10) as he did all of last season, and the team’s effective field goal percentage is far better when he’s on the floor (+8.7%). Even though he only shoots 56.0 percent from the foul line, he draws defensive attention (and commensurate reach-ins) at a high rate, ranking among the top 100 players in college basketball in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Put simply, Delgado has been an absolute monster on both ends of the floor this year, and is the primary reason why Seton Hall is shaky but still standing as far as the postseason is concerned. If the Pirates do make a move down the stretch and earn a trip to their second straight NCAA Tournament, it will assuredly be because of their big Dominican on the inside.