Nate Darling, Delaware sizzling to start the season
Delaware mens basketball, led by redshirt junior guard Nate Darling, is off to a hot start at 6-0. Darling is second in the NCAA with 26.4 points per game.
Managing Sports Editor
Delaware men’s basketball is hot!
They are off to a flaming 6-0 start to the season, which is the second best start in school history. The best came in 1998-99 when the team won its first eight games.
“I think this group is really gelling well together on both ends of the floor,” Head Coach Martin Ingelsby, who is in his fourth year at the helm, said. “I’ve been really proud of who we are developing into on the defensive end and our ability to guard, and really make a team earn their offense. [Offensively] we’ve got some weapons.”
One of those weapons is redshirt junior guard Nate Darling. Darling is averaging 26.4 points per game, which ranks second in the NCAA.
“Guys are finding me, I’m kinda hot right now,” Darling said. “I’m just playing through the offense.”
The Ingelsby had high praise for the guard.
“He’s such a talented scorer,” Ingelsby said of Darling. “He’s got great size, can really score from all different levels. He’s a winner. He’s worked so hard in the offseason to be able to put himself in this position.”
A big part of Darling’s game has been his three-point shooting. Darling has hit 23 three-pointers, which is tied for third most in the NCAA. His 40 three-point attempts are the lowest among the top seven three-point shooters.
Darling is shooting a blistering 58% from the great beyond (23 feet to 40 feet). His shooting was on display most notably in Delaware’s win over the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), when he hit eight of 10 three-pointers for 37 points.
However, Darling wants you to know that he is more than just a sharpshooter.
“My whole life I’ve kind of been a shooter,” Darling said. “But I’ve kind of expanded by game a lot and turned myself more into a scorer. That’s what I kind of pride myself in being, not just considered as just a shooter.”
Darling took no time to get back into playing college basketball. He had to sit out last year after transferring from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the summer of 2018.
“I’ve been playing [basketball] for probably 16 years straight now without skipping a season, so that was like my first year without a season,” Darling said. “It had some ups and downs, I enjoyed some parts of it, hated a lot of stuff about it, but I worked on my game and it was worth it.”
The prospect of a bigger role in his last two years of college, and Ingelsby’s style of play, led Darling to Delaware.
“I feel like at UAB I still would have had a bigger role my next junior and senior year,” Darling said. “The style of play here and the coaching staff, it just fit me a lot better.”
Darling and the team garnered some national attention after ESPN spotlighted them, putting the rest of the country on notice. However, when asked if he talked to his team about getting into the NCAA Tournament, Ingelsby said he has not and instead has his team focusing on “improving everyday and trying to get better week by week.”
Delaware’s next game is Wednesday, Nov. 27 against Stony Brook. After being on the road for five straight games, this is a chance for the surrounding community to show their support after a 6-0 start.
“We got off to a great start, 6-0, and hopefully this community and this campus can really rally around this group,” Ingelsby said. “It’s a fun group to watch and play, we compete, play hard, a really unselfish group on both ends of the floor. We’re excited to get back after on a Wednesday night against a really good Stony Brook team, and hopefully this community and this campus can get out there and support us.”
All statistics are accurate as of Nov. 25