Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The legend grows

For weeks we've been cautioning people against expecting too much too soon from Delaware's Elena Delle Donne. Sure she was the best recruit in the country in 2007-08, a titanic talent ticketed as the next glorious link in the UConn championship chain. Then she fled Storrs and resurfaced as a Delaware volleyball player who insisted she hated basketball. Now she's back on the hardwood, but the way we figured it, who knew how much of the drive that made her a hoops great was coming back with her?

Apparently, plenty. Word is that Elena the Great dropped 50 on St. Joseph's in a closed scrimmage and has been all that and a bag of chips throughout the Blue Hens' preseason.

Now we're still not quite ready to board the increasingly crowded Delle Donne bangwagon. Sketchy press reports are fine, but we want to see all this greatness for ourselves. Nor are we likely to get overly excited if Elena goes off over the next few weeks. Delaware's not-quite-ready-for-primetime non-conference schedule mitigates against putting too much stock in early numbers. And once she's fully back into the grind of women's hoops, will she lose interest again?

For now, though, 50 points is 50 points. Her talent remains intact. And Delle Donne's pursuit for her vast potential is yet another reason why the outlook for this season gets more interesting by the dribble.

By the way, if things develop to their fullest, could Delle Donne and Baylor's Brittney Griner be the Magic vs. Bird of women's basketball? Think about it. Griner would be Magic, the black, never-seen-it-before talent from the established power. Delle Donne is Bird, the white, big-time scorer who makes others better and lifts an off-the-radar program into the big time. Obviously a lot will have to go right for these comparisons to hold. But if these two meet up in a tournament game over the next four years, remember, you heard it here first.

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