Elena Delle Donne: Delaware’s greatest athlete

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University of Delaware Athletics
Former Blue Hen and current WNBA player for the Washington Mystics, Elena Delle Donne, on her home court at Delaware.

BY
Senior Reporter

Is Elena Delle Donne the best player to ever come out of Delaware?

That’s been a question for quite some time now throughout the state of Delaware.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, her Delaware legacy grew a little bit more when the university announced its Athletics Hall of Fame inductees, with Delle Donne leading the new members.

It’s not that hard to see why she was inducted into the Blue Hens’ Hall of Fame.

A three time CAA Player of the Year, Delle Donne is the all-time leading scorer in Delaware basketball history.

She is also the school leader in three point field goal percentage and blocks. As a senior, Delle Donne averaged 26 points (2nd in nation) and 8.5 rebounds.

In the 2013 NCAA tournament, she became ninth player in women’s NCAA history to score over 3,000 career points.

She and the other Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at an invitation-only induction ceremony Oct. 26 at the Carpenter Center and featured at halftime of Delaware’s home football game against Towson on Oct. 27.

Before attending the university, Delle Donne attended Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, where she was a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Delaware. Out of high school she was ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2008.

Delle Donne went on to be selected by the Chicago Sky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

“If somebody told me that in five years I would be the No. 2 draft pick going to the Chicago Sky to play my professional career I would have told you you were crazy,” Delle Donne said to The News Journal when talking about the night of the WNBA draft and reminiscing on her five years at Delaware. “When I left Connecticut I told myself that basketball’s not going to be in my future. It’s been such a growing experience for me.”

Now, she is a five-time all star, an MVP and an Olympic gold medalist.

Delle Donne has between 5-10 years left of professional basketball if she can stay healthy. In that time, she could break WNBA records and win quite a few WNBA championships as well. She may even be the first person born and raised person from Delaware to go into the professional Basketball Hall of Fame.

Her legacy isn’t finished yet, but the amount of success she has had in such little time is incredible. She played high school basketball in Delaware and was the best player in the state for over three years. She stayed home and continued to play basketball for the university and led them to heights the Blues Hens hadn’t yet seen.

Even though now she is a basketball superstar what I appreciate about Delle Donne is that she doesn’t forget where she came. She visits Delaware every offseason, spending her time training at her former high school, Ursuline Academy during the winter. She also runs fundraisers and basketball camps during the offseason to give back to the community.

There are plenty of professional athletes that are from Delaware currently. Maybe one of them can surpass the legacy of Delle Donne in their sporting career. Or there is a kid right now, that nobody knows of, who we will be talking about like how we now talk about Delle Donne. Time will tell.

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