What to expect of Blue Hens returning starting three this upcoming season

When the Delaware men’s basketball team’s CAA tournament run came to an end back in March, the Blue Hens looked to have a full, returning starting five to make another run at a conference championship.

UD Basketball vs Hofstra 2/22/20 - Louis Mason
Louis Mason/THE

The men’s team is set to tip-off its season Wednesday against UMBC with Kevin Anderson, Ryan Allen and Dylan Painter at the helm.

Managing Sports Editor

When the Delaware men’s basketball team’s CAA tournament run came to an end back in March, the Blue Hens looked to have a full, returning starting five to make another run at a conference championship.

Now with two of the five aforementioned starters leaving the program, Head Coach Martin Ingelsby is turning his attention towards the three returning starters — senior guards Ryan Allen and Kevin Anderson and redshirt senior forward Dylan Painter — to lead the Hens towards another shot at a conference title.

“I’ve been on them since the summer, since we lost [Justyn Mutts] and [Nate Darling], to really take a step forward from a leadership perspective,” Ingelsby said about Allen, Anderson and Painter.

Ingelsby enters his fourth season of working with Allen and Anderson. Their experience in the program is something Ingelsby values, as he hopes to rely on the pair, describing the two as “the most experienced backcourt in the league.”

“They’ve been with us through some ups and downs, through the progress we’ve made with our basketball program, and we want to really rely on them,” Ingelsby said. “Those guys lead by example, and I think they’ve really taken the bull by the horns in taking on that leadership role.”

Since arriving at Delaware as freshmen in 2017, Allen and Anderson have averaged 10 or more points per game in their first three seasons. In his freshman campaign, Allen was named CAA Rookie of the Year and Anderson earned third team All-CAA honors as a junior.

The chemistry the pair has developed in the program is a must-have in any starting lineup, especially with a shooting guard like Allen who relies on his scoring and a more traditional playmaking guard like Anderson. For Anderson, the chemistry the two have developed comes from how often they are around each other.

“Me and Ryan, our chemistry over the four years, we’ve been together probably 80% of the time,” Anderson said. “We know where each other likes to shoot the ball; we know what side of the floor we like; we know a lot of things about each other, and I think that’s really good for our team.”

The departure of Nate Darling should allow that chemistry to flourish this season, with Allen expected to be one of the main scorers for the Blue Hens offense.

Last season, Allen averaged a career-low 12.2 points per game, as he was tasked with more off ball duties due to the additions of Darling and Mutts. With a greater focus on playmaking, Allen improved as a playmaker and finished the year with 69 assists, a career high.

Allen hopes to be able to combine his newly learned playmaking abilities with his well-known scoring.

“I kinda had to find another way to be effective on the court with those guys being out there,” Allen said. “Finding good ways to be like a scorer and to sometimes be a playmaker and kind of mixing that up and doing that well will be the next step.”

Alongside Allen and Anderson, Painter is expected to provide vocal leadership for the Hens, along with his interior presence. Painter is in his second year with the Blue Hens after transferring from Villanova. In his first season at Delaware, Painter averaged 9.3 points per game along with 5.7 rebounds per game.

When talking of Painter’s leadership Ingelsby described how he “is out there talking like a savvy veteran.”

Painter attributes his vocal personality on the court and as a leader to his upbringing in the sport of football. His father is a longtime football coach, while both he and his brother played the sport as a child.

The Hens are set to have a variety of new faces on the roster this season. Freshmen Andrew Carr and Gianmarco Arletti join the squad, alongside three transfers — 6’3” guards Reggie Gardner and Logan Curtis and 6’8” forward Anthony Ochefu. As one of the leaders Ingelsby is relying on, Painter hopes to help get them up to speed on the program.

“I just think that talking to a lot of our young guys has been really important because we all know what it is like to be a freshman in college basketball, it’s a lot,” Painter said. “Just keeping them upbeat, motivated and teaching them how we do things around here has been really important.”

With Mutts and Colin Goss now gone, Painter sees his ability to contribute with a variety of “little things” as he described.

With the guard combination of Allen and Anderson, Painter wants to help out on screens and in the pick and roll to help open up the shooting lanes for the two. Goss and Mutts were top two in blocked shots last season, and Painter hopes to add to that by continuing to be a defensive presence. Painter finished with 16 blocked shots last season. Painter is embracing these little things.

“I think just playing my hardest and doing all the little things is important,” Painter said.

The contributions both on the court but more importantly, as leaders is something that Ingelsby has emphasized to all three, and all three understand that he is counting on them to lead the young players on the team.

For Ingelsby, he is already seeing their leadership show at practice.

“It’s just fun to hear Ryan and Kevin and Dylan to just talk more at practice,” Ingelsby said. “They’re continuing to take on that challenge, and I’ve got to continue to help them through that process.”


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