Local college notebook: Middletown marches have personal meaning for DSU’s Caputo

DSU women’s basketball coach Dave Caputo and his wife, Denise, walk in a recent social justice march in Middletown. Delaware State sports information photo

DOVER — Plenty of college coaches have been on social media lately, lending their support to the call for social justice.

But Delaware State women’s basketball coach Dave Caputo thinks actions speak louder.

That’s why he took part in a pair of marches held recently in Middletown, where he lives.

One of the demonstrations attracted approximately 2,000 people. Speakers talked about holding political leaders and police accountable on social and criminal justice issues as well as stressing the importance of voter registration,

Caputo, who walked with his wife, Denise, carried a hand-made sign that read ‘Black Lives Matter.’

“It was powerful,” he said. “There were a lot of great speeches, a lot of great information.

“It was important for me, number one. … because what’s going on in today’s society is pretty disgusting. Number two, I have two children, they’re both black, my wife is black, so it hits home even harder for me. Obviously, I fear for them and their safety. My players are black, so I worry about them.

Dave Caputo

“Being sympathetic and listening is important,” Caputo added. “But it’s not enough. And it hasn’t worked — because it’s still going on, every day in America. I just think we all need to take more action. That’s one thing I want to do, get out there and protest more and get more involved.”

That being said, Caputo is very active on social media promoting DSU’s women’s basketball program.

The second-year Hornet coach doesn’t go too long without touting some good stats that DSU put up during the season or announcing a new recruit. Caputo thinks it’s important to get the word out about the rebuilding program, which went 12-18 last winter.

“That’s what these kids are looking at,” he said about platforms like Twitter and Instagram. “They like the visual, they like to get on the social media. That’s just how kids are doing it nowadays. You’ve got to market your program on there.

“If it was up to me, I’d get rid of all of it but that’s how we communicate these days. That’s how pretty much recruiting is done — through text-messaging. Obviously, every kid we sign, we talk to on the phone. But the majority of the conversations we have are through a text or through other sources.”

Lately, Caputo has been highlighting his recruiting class. He’s signed three Division I transfers: Shannon Dozier (Ole Miss), Kiana Coomber (Memphis) and DaiJe Harris (Cal State-Bakersfield). Harris, a grad transfer, and Dozier, who sat out with the Hornets last year, will be eligible right away.

DSU also picked up Christy Ojide, a 6-foot-4 player from Barcelona, Spain.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some of those recruits haven’t even been on DSU’s campus yet. Instead, they’ve seen the school through virtual tours and talked with the coaching staff on Facetime.

“Other than them actually setting their two feet on the campus, we pretty much covered everything they would do and see,” said Caputo. “I think they felt good about it. And, I think the biggest thing with all the girls that are coming, they either knew somebody on the team or they had a connection to DelState. That kind of made their decision easier.”

Mutts down to three

Delaware basketball player Justyn Mutts has apparently narrowed his choice of transfer destinations down to three schools.

Mutts tweeted a photo on Friday with the logos of Mississippi State, Houston and Virginia Tech and the words ‘Top Three.’

After playing one season with the Blue Hens following his transfer from High Point, the 6-foot-7 forward has two seasons of eligibility remaining as a grad transfer. Mutts put his name in the NCAA transfer portal last month.

According to a story on a Virginia Tech website, the Hokies’ coaches had a Zoom call with Mutts, who averaged 12 ppg and 8 rpg last winter.

Notes

• Dover High standout Wanya Wise is going to continue his basketball career at Chesapeake College. He was an honorable mention All-Stater for the Senators this winter.

• A pair of Delaware football players were named to the Hero Sports Pre-season All-CAA team: Smyrna grad Will Knight at running back and Middletown’s Kedrick Whitehead at safety.

Nick Bitsko Jr., the son of a Delaware offensive lineman by the same name, was the No. 24 pick in the MLB draft on Wednesday. The younger Bitsko is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound pitcher from Central Bucks East (Pa.) who was taken by Tampa Bay.

No players with direct ties to the state of Delaware were taken in the abbreviated, five-round draft.

• The University of Delaware recently had 10 student-athletes named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

The Blue Hens’ honorees included Camille Aitcheson (track & field), Aashaka Desai (women’s golf), Chayanna Gallardo (softball), Abby Gonzales (women’s basketball), Jake Hervada (men’s lacrosse), John Marti (baseball), Roxanne Ramirez (track & field), Kori Rasmussen (volleyball), Deja Rodriquez-Santiago (track & field) and Kai Starnes (track & field). Desai was also the Female Sports Scholar of the Year second runner-up.

• UD cross country runner Abby Bolt was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team. A graduate transfer from St. Mary’s (Calif.) who made All-CAA, Bolt posted a 3.88 grade point average in molecular biology and genetics.