CR grad Stevenson set for fresh start with Hens

Demetrius Stevenson spent two seasons at Rutgers, one of which he sat out because of an injury. Rutgers sports information/Ariel Fox

DOVER — Demetrius Stevenson was torn between the two.

The Caesar Rodney High lacrosse standout had verbally committed to Rutgers.

But he was intrigued by Delaware, which had just hired a new head coach in Ben DeLuca.

“It was a big decision, kind of going back and forth between sticking with my commitment to Rutgers or switching and going to UD,” said Stevenson.

In the end, Stevenson still chose the Scarlet Knights. Two years later, however, the Blue Hens ended up being his choice after all.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound midfielder recently decided to transfer to Delaware after two seasons at Rutgers. He’ll still have four years of eligibility remaining since this spring’s abbreviated season didn’t count against any college athlete’s eligibility.

“Being close to home, my family can come see me,” said Stevenson. “It wasn’t as much a lacrosse decision as it was an academic and family decision.

“I knew if I was going to transfer, I was going to come back to Delaware. I didn’t really explore too many other options. As soon as I was in the (transfer) portal and I was talking to Coach DeLuca, I knew that was the place I wanted to land.”

It didn’t hurt that Stevenson was a former CR teammate of Thomas Aloe, who was one of the Blue Hens’ captains as a grad student this year. Ironically, Aloe is heading to dental school at Rutgers while Stevenson is coming to Newark.

The two former Riders talked before Stevenson made up his mind.

Stevenson was a three-time All-State pick at Caesar Rodney, finishing with 119 goals in his career.

“Growing up, he (Aloe) was kind of an idol of mine,” said Stevenson. “He was a kid who was committed to D-I. Having him to use as a resource was just great during this whole process.

“He’s been a great friend. That helped me become really comfortable in my decision.”

This spring, Stevenson played in three games for the Scarlet Knights, recording one assist.

The three-time high school All-Stater sat out last season while recovering from hip surgery. The torn muscle and bone chip were old injuries that Stevenson aggravated when he got to college.

Stevenson, who was a two-time All-American in high school, thought he played well in some scrimmages for Rutgers when he was healthy. He saw time at both midfield and attack.

“It was a huge adjustment for me,” he said. “Being one of the top players in the state here, it was a big fish in a little bit of a smaller pond. Then you go up there and every kid was an All-American, every kid was the standout player at their high school. You’ve really got to compete.

Demetrius Stevenson

“Honestly, I think I did a really good job of that.”

Clearly, Stevenson is more prepared now to play in college than he was two years ago. He netted 119 goals with 33 assists at CR.
Stevenson gives his coaches and teammates at Rutgers credit for pushing him to be better.

“I wouldn’t be the player I am without my experience up there,” he said. “I really developed as a player in different facets of the game — just my IQ, my understanding of spacing, my footwork, my shooting, dodging. … all developed when I was at Rutgers.

“Developing a good work ethic up there was something that I learned and it’s still going to be instilled in me as I’m going to Delaware. I definitely think I’m a lot better than when I was originally being recruited by Delaware.”

Under DeLuca, the Hens reached the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time in eight years. They were 4-2 this spring when the season was ended.

Because he still has four seasons of eligibility left, it’s not like Stevenson lost anything by going to Rutgers. He’s ready to chalk it up to experience and move on.

“It’s kind of a fresh start,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’m starting over but I’m coming into Delaware’s program basically as a freshman (eligibility-wise) but with the experience of a junior on the field.”