After two years of rebuilding under Head Coach Martin Inglesby, the men’s basketball team finally possessed something it hadn’t truly experienced in half a decade: hope.
Then Ryan Daly announced that he would transfer out of the program.
Daly, the Blue Hens leading scorer in that two-year period and the former Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Rookie of the Year, has decided to transfer to St. Joseph’s University near his hometown in Philadelphia. He had become the face of the rebuild here at Delaware. He was an icon. He was the symbol of a rebounding athletics program after years of misery.
Daly may have made the choice for personal reasons. After all, he will be a legacy student at St. Joseph’s; his father, grandfather and mother all attended the school. He has not publicly expressed any dissatisfaction with the coaches and players here at Delaware that might motivate him to leave. On the contrary, he praised those he worked with in the basketball program.
That doesn’t change the fact that he is betraying not only the players he has competed with for two years, but also the students of the university who had thought they might be witnessing a revitalization of the basketball team that had once competed in the NCAA tournament.
The team will not be without talent in the seasons to come. Ryan Allen became the second Blue Hen in a row to win CAA Rookie of the Year and was our leading scorer after Daly. Kevin Anderson went down with an injury midseason but flashed the potential to be a star before that occurred. Eric Carter will be an important veteran cornerstone of the team as he enters his senior year this fall. These players will be the core of any future success and are all set to return as Blue Hens next year. But Daly was the leader of the team in more ways than one and will leave a hole that will not easily be filled.
Should we celebrate the man for what he did in two seasons as a Blue Hen and wish him well in his future career? Or should we mourn his absence and curse his name for showing us a glimmer of hope — only to snatch it away? Despite the apparent contradiction, perhaps it is most fitting to do both.
Northeastern was the team that ended our season in the CAA tournament this year. However Daly was the one to end our hopes that 2019 might just be the breakout year for this young Delaware team.
A widely known proverb says “a person either dies a hero or lives long enough to see themselves become the villain.” In two successful seasons, Daly lived long enough here to become the villain.