In the most recent installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with College of Charleston great Thaddeous Delaney. In four years at the school Delaney blocked 203 shots (still the best in school history) while putting up scoring and rebounding numbers that still rank in the top five all-time. As a senior Delaney was one of the leaders on a team that went undefeated in the TAAC and won an NCAA Tournament game.
Jon Teitel: You were recruited to Charleston by Coach Gregg Marshall. Why did you choose to go to Charleston, and what made Coach Marshall such a great coach?
Thaddeous Delaney: Marshall is a great coach who knows his Xs and Os. He also recruited my Eau Clair HS teammate Marion Busby who was a couple of years ahead of me, so that helped a lot.
JT: You were a three-time First Team All-TAAC performer and won four straight conference tournaments. How were you able to remain so consistent throughout your college career?
TD: A little of that goes back to my high school days, as I had one of the best coaches in South Carolina named George Glymph. Coach Kresse at Charleston allowed me to go back home in the offseason to work out, which also allowed me to develop my game.
JT: What are your memories of the 1994 NCAA Tournament (Delaney scored 12 points in a loss to Wake Forest, who was led by Tim Duncan's 16 points and 13 rebounds)?
TD: It was eye-opening for me, as I was a freshman who made it to the tourney in my first year. We had a lot of veteran guys who provided us with leadership, and I knew that I wanted to get back there. Duncan was also a freshman, but he was fundamentally sound even back then.
JT: In 1995 you had a career-high 21 rebounds against Charleston Southern. Was it extra-special to do it against your in-state rival, and what is your secret for rebounding?
TD: It was great to do it against an in-state school. I do not watch the ball when the shot goes up. I just try to find a man and box him out. The key is to just out-work your opponent.
JT: What are your memories of the 1995 NIT (Delaney scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a five-point loss to Providence, who was led by Austin Croshere's 28 points)?
TD: They had a pretty good team, and we tried to battle them way up north in Rhode Island. We held our own against a Big East team.
JT: In 1996 you were named conference Player of the Year after your team became the first to ever go 16-0 in TAAC play. What did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor, and how big a deal was it to go undefeated during the entire conference season?
TD: Being named POY was one of my preseason goals, and my teammates did their part to help me accomplish that. We always believed that we would win no matter who we were playing against. That 16-0 record was impressive, but we knew that we had target on our back every night.
JT: You scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds before fouling out in a six-point win over Tennessee. What did you learn from your previous postseason losses that allowed you to succeed in 1996?
TD: I finally got the excitement out of my system that I had during my first two years in the postseason, and was just ready to clock in and go to work. We knew it would be hard as a mid-major, so we had to do something special in order to get where we wanted to be.
JT: You scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a four-point overtime loss to Rhode Island (Tyson Wheeler made two free throws to send the game into OT after his team did not score a FG in the final 14 minutes of regulation). Did you think that you should have won that game, and what was the feeling like in your locker room afterwards?
TD: Wheeler was great, but our PG Anthony Johnson held his own against him. We were still hungry for winning and felt that we had a great team. We were a little disappointed because we thought we were the better team that night.
JT: What are your memories of the 1997 TAAC Tournament final (Delaney scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a 10-point win over FIU)?
TD: I was just watching that tape the other day! We were not eligible to play in the conference tourney during my first two years, but it was great to finally get there and win it at home in front of our great fans.
1997 NCAA Tournament
JT: You scored 12 points and had a school tournament-record six blocks in a nine-point OT win over Maryland (Coach Gary Williams had Laron Profit and Terrell Stokes sit out for the first six minutes after they showed up late to a team meeting), the only tournament win in school history. Were you getting used to playing yet another close postseason game, and how much of a factor was it to have Profit and Stokes sitting out to start the game?
TD: We always knew that we would be an underdog playing against a higher seed. Profit and Stokes did not factor in. We just went out and followed our game plan.
JT: You scored 14 points and had a school tournament-record 13 rebounds in a four-point loss to eventual national champ Arizona to end your team's 23-game winning streak (Mike Bibby had 18 points). How much confidence did you have due to your long winning streak, and how proud were you of your team coming so close to beating the eventual national champ?
TD: We felt that we should have won, as we were leading for a lot of the game. A few missed shots here and missed rebounds there cost us. That game showed the nation that we no longer needed the Cinderella tag, as we were a force to be reckoned with.
JT: After graduation you played in Argentina, Australia, Chile, the Philippines, Spain, and the D-League. What did you learn from these experiences, and how did they compare to college basketball?
TD: I mainly played in Europe. Pro basketball is a whole lot different than college. You have a lot more freedom, but if your team is playing poorly then the finger is often pointed at the American players. Now I am an assistant coach with the girls' varsity team at Eau Claire HS. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would get to travel around the world, but basketball helped me do that. My younger sister Janae' Stevenson is at UNC Greensboro, and she has even started a few games despite being a freshman. It just shows you what you can do if you work hard and put your mind to it.
Delaney is also on Jon's list of best fantasy players in So-Con history.
Appalachian State: Donald Sims (2011) 2185 PTS (#1), 358 3PM (#1), 89.2 FT% (#1), conference POY
Charleston: Thaddeous Delaney (1997) 1564 PTS (#4), 1119 REB (#2), 203 BLK (#1), 54 FG%, All-American, conference POY
Chattanooga: Willie White (1984) 1972 PTS (#1), 197 STL (#2), 83.1 FT% (#3), conference POY
Citadel: Regan Truesdale (1985) 1661 PTS (#1), 688 REB (#5), All-American, 2-time conference POY
Davidson: Stephen Curry (2009) 2635 PTS (#1), 221 STL (#3), 414 3PM (#1), 41.2 3P% (#3), 87.6 FT% (#1), 2-time All-American, 2-time conference POY
Elon: Jesse Branson (1965) 2241 PTS (#1), 1969 REB (#1), 2-time All-American, conference POY
Furman: Frank Selvy (1954) 2538 PTS (#1), 3-time All-American, national POY
Georgia Southern: Chester Webb (1956) 2542 PTS (#1), 1685 REB (#1), 2-time All-American
UNC Greensboro: Kyle Hines (2008) 2147 PTS (#1), 1047 REB (#1), 185 STL (#3), 349 BLK (#1), 58.4 FG% (#4), All-American, conference POY
Samford: Steve Barker (1982) 1902 PTS (#2), 85 FT% (#1)
Western Carolina: Henry Logan (1968) 3290 PTS (#1), 1037 AST (#1), 221 STL (#1), 4-time All-American
Wofford: James "Daddy" Neal (1953) 2078 PTS (#4), 1521 REB (#1)