Local college notebook: DSU hoop team finding ways to get in workouts

DSU men’s hoop coach Erik Skeeters with his team last winter. “For the most part, they’ve been having to work to find some place to work out,” said Skeeters. “It’s been a struggle to find a gym.” Delaware State News file photo

DOVER — Before the pandemic, finding a basketball rim to practice on wasn’t the most difficult thing in the world.

But that was before gyms were closed and some outdoor rims were taken down to prevent groups from gathering.

With his Delaware State men’s players back home during the coronavirus pandemic, coach Erik Skeeters said they’ve had to look far and wide sometimes to find a place to shoot.

“For the most part, they’ve been having to work to find some place to work out,” said Skeeters. “It’s been a struggle to find a gym.

“And once they find one, they’re not in there by themselves or there’s restrictions with distancing and stuff like that. So it’s got to be late at night or early in the morning — funny hours — to get them in. But they’re getting them in.”

Since basketball is a winter sport, it’s easy to forget that college programs get a lot of work in during the spring and summer.

With most campuses closed since March and now summer leagues canceled, those players are missing out on some important development.

DelState’s players still have a strength workout that they’re supposed to do four times a week and then post the video to the team’s group chat.

“They’re working,” said Skeeters. “Guys, to their credit, they’re running around, they’re finding trails outside in their neighborhoods and using tracks to get their workouts in. Some of them found some gyms but they might have to drive 30 minutes.

“From what I’ve been told, the guys have really been getting after it.”

As much as anything, Skeeters said he likes the fact that his team finished the spring semester with a grade point average over 3.0. That tells him that they were still focused.

“That says a lot given the situation and circumstances,” he said. “That says a lot.”

Right now, DSU’s campus is still closed. But there is hope that at least some DelState student-athletes may be back on campus before too long.

In the meantime, Skeeters said the current situation reminds him of his earlier days in coaching. Back then, coaches weren’t allowed to have much contact with their players in the off-season.

“When I first started coaching in the 90s, the guys would just play open gym,” said Skeeters. “You couldn’t even go in the gym so you peeked through the window to see who’s in there. You’d ask them, ‘How were the runs?’

“In the summertime it was the same way. You might see them in a sanctioned summer league, take them to lunch, say ‘Hi’ to mom and dad and then it was like, ‘All right, I’ll see you in September.’

“This is kind of like a throwback time, back to the old days.”

Aloe among award winners

Caesar Rodney High grad Thomas Aloe was among three University of Delaware athletes who earned the Colonial Athletic Association Leadership and Sport Excellence Award for their respective sports.

Aloe (men’s lacrosse), Kyle Baker (baseball) and Jack Melville (men’s golf) were all award winners for the Blue Hens.

The awards, which are voted on by the CAA’s Faculty Athletic Representatives, are given to the student of each sport who represents the highest standards of teamwork, integrity, leadership and sportsmanship.

Aloe, a four-year member of the lacrosse team as a long stick midfielder, graduated with a degree in biological sciences in May and will head to the Rutgers School of Dentistry in the fall.

A two-year team captain, Aloe was named a USILA Division I Scholar All-American earlier this week.

Aloe was a second team All-CAA selection in 2019, and helped lead the Blue Hens to the CAA Tournament in back to back seasons.

Aloe, a three-year SAAC team representative, participated in numerous community service projects during his time in Newark including volunteering with Healthy Smiles, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Georgetown Dental Clinic and Hope Dental Clinic.

He also was an elementary-school mentor and was a member of the Health Professions Evaluation Committee.

DSU grid slate on track?

Delaware State president Dr. Tony Allen said that the school might have football players back on campus this month for voluntary workouts.

He also said that, for right now, the Hornets’ season is still moving forward as scheduled. DSU is slated to open on Sept. 5 by hosting Albany.

“A lot of that has to do with the conference and the NCAA,” Allen said during an on-line forum on Tuesday. “We have not heard anything different at this point.

“In fact, in July, we will start the return of our first student-athletes. That will actually be a good testing ground for us. I encourage all the student-athletes and their parents, who might be listening, you are going to give us a real opportunity to show us leadership in protecting yourselves and your teammates (from the coronavirus) and following all the protocols.”

Hens add hoop transfer

The Delaware men’s basketball team has picked up a transfer in Anthony Ochefu from Stony Brook.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward will have one season of eligibility remaining after sitting out next year.

With the Blue Hens slated to start four seniors this coming winter, Ochefu will help rebuild Delaware’s roster for the 2021-2022 season.

A resident of nearby West Chester, Pa., he played in 77 games for the Sea Wolves but started only eight times — all as a freshman.

Ochefu, whose brother, Daniel, was a member of Villanova’s 2016 national championship squad, averaged just 1.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 6.0 minutes last season. The best game of Ochefu’s career came when he netted a career-high 12 points in an upset of South Carolina as a sophomore.

Notes

• Former Wesley College women’s lacrosse player Shelby Schirmer recently won the DAISY Foundation Award in nursing. She was nominated for the honor by a patient’s son for the way she cared for his father while he was a patient in Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus.

• The University of Delaware swimming programs were named Scholar All-American teams by College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association. It marks the third consecutive semester the Blue Hen women received the honor, while the men have held the honor in the last two spring semesters.

• Blue Hen women’s golfers Isabella Rimton, Lene Sperling and Lexi Dart have been named Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholars.