Tim Delaney will be parading around Philadelphia again today.
For the second time in three years, Tim Delaney climbed the ladder to Hoops Heaven.
Once again, Delaney cut down the nets in Texas where the Villanova University men’s basketball team also won the NCAA tournament title in 2016 in Houston.
This time, the former Pitman High School star and the Wildcats claimed San Antonio as its title town after whipping Michigan Monday night in the finals. Villanova bashed Kansas in the national semifinal Saturday night.
“It is an absolute incredible accomplishment,” said Delaney, who is a 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore with the Wildcats. “It is a tribute to the type of people we have on our team. We aren’t just basketball players, everyone is a good person and we really care about each other.
“It is just a blessing.”
Of all the outstanding players in South Jersey history, Delaney is believed to be the only one with two NCAA men’s basketball championships.
South Jersey claims other champions with the Camden Connection – Milt Wagner, Billy Thompson and Kevin Walls – at Louisville in 1986 and Haddonfield’s Brian Zoubek with Duke in 2010, but Delaney is a member of a two-time champ.
“I’ve been able to talk to a lot of my friends from back home and everyone has been saying congratulations,” he said from school on Wednesday.
The double-dipping accomplishment is really rare. The last team to repeat was over a decade ago when Florida won in 2006 and 2007. Duke also won back-to-back, but that was way back a quarter of a century ago in 1991 and 1992.
Of course, UCLA dominated the game winning all but two titles from 1964 to 1975 (Texas Western in 1966 and North Carolina State 1973).
The only other consecutive championships since the tourney started in 1939 was Cincinnati (1961 and 1962), San Francisco (1955 and 1956) and Kentucky in 1948 and 1949.)
And, like Villanova, Kentucky won two in three years ((1996 and 1998).
“It is really awesome,” Delaney said. “It is really crazy how close-knit the community is, it is incredible.”
Delaney is rather familiar with cutting down nets at the end of the season as he also won a Group 1 state championship at Pitman as a junior in 2014. He scored 1,598 points in three seasons at Pitman before he transferred for his senior year in high school to Blair Academy in North Jersey.
Delaney had surgery on his left hip in October of 2015 to repair a torn labrum. He redshirted as a freshman when he saw one of the most dramatic shots in NCAA tournament history. He was on the Wildcats’ bench at NRG Stadium when Kris Jenkins sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Villanova’s 77-74 national title win over North Carolina.
He played in 21 games this season for coach Jay Wright, including the end of the semifinal win over Kansas.
“I’m good now,” Delaney said. “This was my first full season of basketball in a few years, so now I just have to go from there.”
Delaney enjoyed watching a couple of his former Pitman teammates enjoy a memorable season this year.
Darnell Foreman led Penn to an Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA tourney when the 16th-seeded Quakers lost to top-seeded Kansas.
Foreman, a 6-1 guard, was named Honorable Mention All-Ivy as a senior and he also was selected to the All-tourney team as he scored 19 points in the first half of Penn’s epic win over Harvard at the Palestra to earn the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
He finished his career for the Quakers averaging 10.7 points and starting all 33 games for coach Steve Donahue as the Quakers finished 24-9.
“He did an incredible job,” Delaney said about Foreman.
Meanwhile, also a teammate of Delaney at Pitman was Eric Stafford, who finished his senior season at Lafayette College.
Stafford and Matt Klinewski of Eastern were co-captains for coach Fran O’Hanlon. They both started all 31 games this season as the 6-8 Klinewski averaged team-highs with 16.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while the 6-5 Stafford led the Leopards with 96 assists while averaging 5.4 points.
Stafford was selected to the Academic All-Patriot League Team after carrying a 3.85 grade point average while a double major in Economics and Government & Law.
“That was a good group of people we had together,” Delaney said. “We had a really group of players and it is good to see where they are today.”
Delaney’s mother, Jeanine was a star player at Washington Township and Saint Joseph’s University. With the Minutemaids, she was a teammate of Karen (Healey) Lange. They both were rivals in the mid-1980’s with Gloucester Catholic’s Lisa (Angelotti) Gedaka, who is the long-time coach of the Rams.
Interestingly, Gloucester Catholic’s Mary Gedaka was named the Big East Conference Sixth Woman of the Year as a sophomore forward at Villanova. She was second on the team in scoring at 11.6 as the Wildcats finished 23-9.
Gedaka is the daughter of Lisa (Angelotti) Gedaka, who was a star player for Wildcats coach Harry Perretta and the Big East Player of the Year in 1988 and had her jersey retired.
“Yeah, they played against each other in college and now we are friends here,” Delaney said.
And Gedaka was joined on the Wildcats by another South Jersey legend’s daughter – frosh Grace Lange, the daughter of former Washington Township and Temple star point guard Karen (Healy) Lange.
“It is nuts,” Delaney said with a laugh about the South Jersey connections going back to her mother.
Indeed, and now Delaney connects South Jersey two multiple NCAA men’s basketball titles.