Bloodsworth finds a home with Wesley

Smyrna High grad Greg Bloodsworth has scored in double figures in five straight games for the Wolverines. (Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Greg Bloodsworth can’t imagine what his life would be like without basketball in it.

He’s been playing since he was five.

But, at 19, he knows he’s got more years behind him than he has ahead of him as a player.

“I actually was thinking about that the other night,” said Bloodsworth. “What would I be doing if I stopped playing basketball?

“It’s tough to think about it but eventually that time is going to come. I’m just going to keep proving myself and making sure I’m the best I can be.”

After last season, the former Smyrna High standout decided the best place for him to try to live up to his hoop potential is at Wesley College.

After playing one year at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in North Carolina, Bloodsworth is starting to have an impact for the Wolverines. The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard will make his sixth straight start today when Wesley (3-6) hosts Salisbury (4-6) today at 4 p.m.

Bloodsworth has scored in double figures in each of those last five contests, netting 24 points with five assists in a 97-89 win over Centenary on Nov. 26.

Wesley coach Dean Burrows was disappointed to lose Bloodsworth to Mid-Atlantic the first time around. He was a second-team All-Stater as a senior at Smyrna.

But Burrows said the way the youngster left things made it easy to welcome him when he called about transferring.

“We knew what type of player he was coming out of Smyrna and St. Thomas More,” said Burrows. “But he handled things the right way in terms of letting us know and explaining what was best for him and his family. That’s all you can ask for at the end of the day.

“If he didn’t handle it the right way, then we wouldn’t have had that conversation. But we get the call and said, ‘Yeah, let’s sit down and talk.’ The rest is his history.”

Fitting in with a new team is hardly a new experience for Bloodsworth.

Wesley is his fourth program in four years. He played at St. Thomas More and then Smyrna in his last two high school seasons before going to Mid-Atlantic Christian last school year.

Bloodsworth averaged 15 points a game in 11 games with the Mustangs, scoring 28 in one contest.

The Smyrna native said it usually doesn’t take too much time to adjust to a new group of players.

“You get used to it as a point guard,” said Bloodsworth. “You just find a way to make stuff happen. I knew a couple of the guys and we had a connection. They brought me in as family.

“The first thing on my mind is I’ve always got to prove myself. I feel like I definitely fit in. I feel like I’m just getting better as the season goes.”

Bloodsworth’s scoring has jumped up pretty dramatically. He went from averaging 5.75 ppg in his first four contests to 17.4 ppg in the last five games.

Striking a balance between being a playmaker and a scorer is always going to take time, though.

For the season, Bloodsworth is averaging 12.2 ppg and 1.9 assists per game. Only standout senior Brian Cameron averages more on the team — 28.6 ppg and 4.6 apg.

“When Greg’s consistent, we’re tough,” said Burrows. “He’s getting better and better. He’s very coachable, which, for us, is first and foremost.”

“The first couple games it was tough, trying to figure myself out,” Bloodsworth said about his dual role. “But as I got it going, I think I put both together and everything was good. … I feel I can help the team either way. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m going to do.”

Bloodsworth said, even when he was going to school in North Carolina, his parents would come to every game. But now that he’s back in Delaware, more of his family can see him play.

“It’s a lot better,” he said. “It feels like home, most definitely.

“We’re not where we want to be at right now,” Bloodsworth said about the team as a whole. “Every game we’ve won, we’ve seen a span of 25 minutes of the way we want to play. And then we’ll go away from it and do our own thing. It’s about staying consistent.”

Wesley gets long rest

With difficulty scheduling non-conference opponents, Wesley’s early slate is usually a little hit or miss.

But this year’s schedule includes an especially big gap.

After today’s game with Salisbury, the Wolverines don’t play again until Dec. 28 when they go to the two-day Christopher Newport Tournament. All told, Wesley will play just three games between Nov. 30 and Jan. 3.

The Wolverines also won’t be able to hold team practices for most of December.

“It’s unprecedented for us,” said Burrows. “It’s going to be hard.”

Burrows said it’s going to fall on the players’ shoulders to stay sharp during the long layoff. The Wolverines have players from seven different states as well as one each from Australia and England.

“To put these guys through what we do and for them to come out here, they’ve got to love it,” he said. “So if you truly love something, you’re going to make sure you stay on top of things and do what you need to do. So when you come back, you’re ready to go.

“It’s going to be difficult but we don’t make any excuses whatsoever.”

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