NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — It is almost impossible in this day and age of the Internet and Twitter to find someone who literally comes out of nowhere to become a top national recruit.
Yet that appears to be what is happening right before our eyes to Angel Delgado.
The 6-foot-9 2014 forward has been in the United States for less than a year since coming over from the Dominican Republic, yet on Friday night Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Indiana coach Tom Crean and Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin were among those watching him.
“Really, I’m not playing it like that [for coaches], I play for my team, I play for win,” Delgado, 18, said after going for 20 points and 8 rebounds as the New York Lightning won their first game at the Peach Jam, beating the St. Louis Eagles, 77-65.
“Solid, not flashy, he just gets the job done,” one high-major Division 1 assistant told SNY.tv of Delgado, who spent last season at Troy (N.Y.) Redemption Academy but will find a new home this coming season.
Delgado said he’s played basketball for eight years in the Dominican, but has emerged in recent weeks while playing at the LeBron James Skills Academy and the NBPA Top 100 Camp.
“I think the last two camps that he’s been to, now nationally, everybody’s starting to recognize him,” Lightning assistant Dana Dingle said.
And why not?
The guy is a true rebounding machine.
“I really love rebound,” he said.
Asked if he was always like that, he said, “Always, always.”
Dingle said Louisville and Cincinnati were among the schools to offer recently.
“I know [Louisville] is trying to get two bigs right now,” Dingle said. “They believe Chane Behanan is going to leave early [for the NBA].”
Dingle said Cincinnati also recently offered.
Indiana assistant Kenny Johnson has also showed interest.
Meantime, Lightning teammate Mike Williams is working on getting Delgado to join him at Rutgers.
“A lot of the schools that haven’t recruited him…they just haven’t seen him,” Dingle said, anticipating a flood of new offers and calls in coming days.
And the Kentucky connection is not far away.
Dingle played at UMass for Wildcats John Calipari and went to high school with the Antigua brothers at St. Raymond’s. The Antiguas have known Delgado since his time in the DR, and Delgado could work out with the Orlando Antigua-coached DR Junior National Team.
“They’ve known about him longer than anybody,” Dingle said.
“They probably know better than anybody how he looked last year as in comparison to now and how hungry he got and has a chip on his shoulder and has stuff to prove to himself and his family and everybody.”
As for Delgado’s high school and college visit plans, Dingle said they will work that out in August.
By then, Angel Delgado will no longer be any kind of secret.