Since he first started dribbling a basketball, Andrew Delaney’s goal has been to play at the highest level in college.
And, after seeing his older brother, Tim, win a national championship with Villanova University two years ago, Delaney’s determination to play big-time ball only intensified.
So, there is really no surprise that Andrew Delaney is taking the path he feels is best for him to accomplish that goal, which is why he is transferring to Blair Academy.
Delaney, who started the last two seasons at Clearview High School, will start his junior year in the fall at the basketball power in North Jersey.
“This is the best option for basketball,” Delaney said. "There is no other place like it, so I knew this was the right decision.”
Blair has become one of the top programs in the state under coach Joe Mantegna in the last two decades.
And, Blair is also where Tim Delaney transferred for his senior season in 2014-15 after helping Pitman win a Group 1 state championship as a junior.
“I saw what Tim did and I had to take the opportunity,” said Andrew, who will receive a basketball scholarship to Blair.
Andrew, a 6-foot-5 combination guard, led the Pioneers in scoring the last two seasons, averaging 12 points as a freshman and 13 points last season.
“It's not easy,” Andrew said about transferring. “I had to talk to my coaches and teammates, but if this wasn't a basketball decision it would be a lot harder.”
Delaney will live on campus at the boarding school in Warren County. He is getting a head start on the college experience.
“Yeah it's like going to college two years early,” said Delaney, who was a Tri-County Conference Royal Division first team selection last season.
Delaney has grown up with the vision of playing Division I college basketball. His mother, Jeanine, was an outstanding forward at Washington Township High School and then at Saint Joseph’s University.
And, Tim, who is 6-foot-9, has certainly only increased Andrew’s passion to reach his goal. Andrew saw one of the most dramatic shots in NCAA tournament at NRG Stadium when Kris Jenkins drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Villanova’s 77-74 national championship win over North Carolina.
“It has definitely been unbelievable,” Andrew Delaney said. “Last year was awesome to watch Nova and how they did, but the year before when they won the national championship, we flew to Houston.
“It was a great experience to see it all at this age.”
Andrew Delaney also has seen the importance of education as Tim underwent hip surgery last February after playing in just seven games for the Wildcats. It was the second surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip in two years for Tim, who scored 1,598 points in three seasons at Pitman.
“The classes are different,” Andrew said about Blair. “My brother told me to take a few classes like constitutional law, but I think most of them are the basic classes like English, math and science and I think senior year they'll be more different classes.”
Tim Delaney, a finance major, was coach Jay Wright’s first commit of his freshman class when he made a verbal commitment in June of 2013 to Villanova.
Andrew Delaney said, “I don't have any offers yet, but I do have some interest from some colleges.”
His mother, Jeannine, has credited her father, Bob Fisicaro Sr., for helping the development of Tim and Andrew – and Matthew, who is 6-5 and wears a size 17 shoe as an 8th grader.
Their pickup games at their house in Mullica Hill are certainly competitive, but Andrew is spending the summer playing high level AAU ball.
Last week, Delaney played in the AAU tournament Rumble in the Bronx with the Albany City Rocks.
“We don't have many practices,” Delaney said about the team based in Albany, N.Y. “We had practices in the beginning before the season.”
He is the only player from New Jersey on the team.
“A lot of them are from Rochester and Syracuse and Buffalo,” Delaney said.
“It's another level,” Delaney said. “You're just not playing against kids in South Jersey, you're playing against kids from all over and every single one on the team can put the ball in the basket.”
Now, Delaney will also compete against the highest level in New Jersey the next two years.
“It is going to be totally different,” Delaney said. “It will be a big change, but everything will be for the better.”