JONESBORO — C.J. Delancy is headed for the Big Apple.
Delancy, Valley View’s 6-foot-9 senior center, signed a letter of intent Friday to play basketball at Long Island University next year.
The Sharks, who play in the Northeast Conference, made Delancy a scholarship offer earlier this year. He didn’t feel like waiting to see if other Division I teams would follow LIU’s lead.
“I had a few others looking at me, but they’re the ones who really jumped and took a chance on me,” said Delancy, who verbally committed to LIU in the spring. “I felt like taking a chance on them.”
Delancy committed to the Sharks after an all-state junior season in which he helped lead Valley View to an 18-8 record. Shooting 55 percent from the field, Delancy averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots per game.
Jason Manchester, Valley View’s 18th-year head coach, said Delancy is the first Division I signee he has coached.
“We couldn’t be more happy and pleased with where C.J. is headed,” Manchester said. “To watch his development and the way this young man has grown up, I was telling his mom earlier that I remember him walking through intermediate (school) when he was probably in the fourth, fifth, sixth grade, and you saw a tall, skinny young man who was kind of awkward in his body and didn’t know really how to use it.
“It took him a while to figure that out, but he’s figured a lot of things out over the last few years and his best basketball days are definitely in front of him.”
Manchester said Delancy projects as a power forward for LIU. Over the past year Delancy has made a commitment to gaining strength, Manchester said, and he is also developing his offensive skills to step out of the paint.
“Since sophomore year, I’ve been working on my post moves and everything, and I feel like I have that on lock,” Delancy said. “Right now, that (facing the basket) is a pretty big portion of my game that I’m working on.”
Delancy’s junior season included 11 double-double efforts and a triple-double against Little Rock Catholic. He blocked 104 shots for the season.
Manchester said Delancy can dominate a game for the Blazers without scoring.
“He’s obviously known as a shot blocker and his sophomore year, that was all he was known for, but now he can score and do other things,” Manchester said. “He does so many things for us, but I’m really proud this year of his leadership. He’s done a great job of leading our basketball team and I look forward to him growing over the next few months in his leadership role as well.”
Located in Brooklyn, LIU was picked second in the preseason Northeast Conference coaches’ poll behind Fairleigh Dickinson. The Sharks finished the 2019-20 season with a 15-18 record that included a 9-9 mark in the NEC.
Delancy liked the Sharks’ coaching staff and was attracted by LIU’s surroundings, too.
“It feels amazing,” he said after signing. “To be able to go farther with my basketball career and going into New York with some good competition, it feels amazing.”