From the sports editor: Wesley excited to face Hens in men’s hoops

Dean Burrows

Dean Burrows said Wesley College has always been interested in scheduling Division I programs in men’s basketball.

They’d talk to big schools who wouldn’t mind playing an NCAA Division III program.

But, many times, those Division I schools were only interested in scheduling small programs in their own state.

Burrows said the Wolverines’ frustration was that they couldn’t get Delaware or Delaware State to give them the same opportunity.

Finally, though, Wesley will get on the court with the Blue Hens.

The Wolverines announced earlier this week that they’ll play Delaware in Newark on Nov. 17 to open the regular season.

“It’s something we always wanted to do,” said Burrows. “Just to have that opportunity, that’s all our guys want.”

Burrows said Blue Hen assistant coach Bill Phillips called last week to say they had an opening if the Wolverines were interested.

Wesley had to do some juggling to make the game happen. But Burrows said he wasn’t going to pass up a chance like this.

“We had to move some things around and so on and so forth,” said Burrows. “For anybody else, I don’t think I would have. But for that opportunity. … “

The Wolverines have played two other teams from Delaware’s conference (the Colonial Athletic Association) in recent years. They lost at Elon, 106-77, in 2015 and fell at William & Mary, 70-47, in 2011.

In both games, Wesley played some very competitive stretches against the Division I foes.

Burrows just wants the experience to be fun for his players and for the fans.

“They’re fired up,” he said about his players. “You grow up in the state wanting to play in the state tournament on that floor — or maybe even playing for the University of Delaware one day. All our guys are (excited), no matter where they’re from, just to be able to go out and compete.

“That’s the biggest thing. They (the Hens) are going to have taller guys, they’re going to have stronger guys in a lot of spots. But our skill level, I’d put it up there. Who knows what’s going to happen? We’re going to show up and compete and I’m sure they’re going to as well.”

Veach makes quick NFL climb

It was just eight years ago that Brett Veach was Andy Reid’s right-hand man.

Literally.

Veach, the former Delaware standout receiver/kick returner/halfback, broke into the NFL as Reid’s assistant. That meant he got to stand next to the Eagles’ head coach during games, write down notes or take care of any other menial tasks Reid might need done.

“I think the first time I went out there, it was a preseason game against Baltimore, it was like, ‘Wow,’” Veach told me before an Eagles’ playoff game in 2009. “But then once you get to know all the guys so well, it’s almost like when you’re in college or you’re playing high school. When you know everybody, I think it removes you from that grand stage type of thing — where when you watch it on TV it’s like this overwhelming event.

“When you’re with those guys every day, it almost becomes second nature.”

All of which makes it fairly remarkable that, earlier this week, Veach was named Reid’s actual right-hand man.

The Kansas City Chiefs promoted the 39-year-old to their general manager position, which is a pretty coveted job in the NFL world. Reid is now the Chiefs’ coach.

The fact that one of Veach’s former UD teammates, ex-quarterback Matt Nagy, is the Chiefs’ co-offensive coordinator gives Kansas City even more of a Delaware connection.

Veach was 10th on the Hens’ all-time all-purpose yards list (3,382 yards) when he finished his career in 2001. Now it appears his biggest impact in football may come off the field.

“Brett has a sharp football mind, a tremendous work ethic and a keen eye for finding talent,” said Chiefs’ CEO Clark Hunt. “Over the last four seasons he’s played a critical role in building our football team.”

Delle Donne in tweet tiff

Elena Delle Donne found herself in a little bit of a Twitter kerfuffle earlier this week after taking a playful poke at NBA rookie Lonzo Ball.

The former Delaware basketball star tweeted out “How great would it be if (Lonzo Ball) blewout his shoe in his first summer league game? Should have gone with @Nike.”

Ball — and his father — are selling their own brand of shoes that go for $495.

Delle Donne’s tweet received close to 500 comments and thousands of likes. Some people weren’t too happy with her.

“I was getting killed. Got to love it, though,” she told The Associated Press. “It was a joke, I like to mess around, think of myself as a kind of funny person.

“All the hype around the BBBs (Ball’s shoes). How many times have athletes blown out a shoe? A shoe? Not talking injury. People were taking it like I wanted him to get hurt. Are you kidding me? I want him to have a great future. It’s so funny. One joke and it’s like, phew. Guess he’s got a lot of fans already.”

Odds & ends

• The Caesar Rodney High Leadership Academy will be holding a used sports equipment drive for local kids.

On Aug. 4-6, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., used sports sports equipment can be dropped off at CR High or Postlethwait Middle School.

• The American Legion baseball state tournament starts next Saturday, July 22, at Wilson Field in New Castle.

• The Wesley College football team was ranked No. 11 nationally in the D3football.com preseason poll.

It’s the 11th straight year that the Wolverines have been ranked in the preseason. They’re also the highest-ranked New Jersey Athletic Conference squad.

• Smyrna High football coach Mike Judy said he hasn’t talked to Leddie Brown since the standout running back decided to transfer to a Maryland school.

But Judy said he wasn’t upset about the senior-to-be’s decision to leave, either.

“It’s the nature of the game and the nature of sports in general,” he said. “Stuff like that is going to happen. People might call me crazy but I would be the first person to help a kid try to get somewhere that’s right for him.

“In the end, that’s what it’s all about. You’re just trying to help the kid get to the next part of his life.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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