This was my first opportunity to see the formidable combo of 6-3 point guard Malcolm Deleaney and 6’9” center Donte Greene. They’re high school teammates at Towson Catholic and they form a terrific 1-2 punch for the 16U Mt. Royal/Team Melo.
Thanks to a scheduling change I was only able to attend one game and this was no contest. Mt. Royal/Team Melo led by 29 after 3 quarters.
Malcolm Delaney - The opponent was clearly inferior, and Delaney appeared to lack aggressiveness in the opening minutes against Wilmington’s zone. Malcolm is a scoring point guard but didn’t do much of it until he found his stroke from deep in the 2nd quarter. The Towson Catholic star finished the half with 8 points after going 2-2 from 3 in quarter number 2. Malcolm likes the 3, that’s easy to see – he’s fearless from deep and took a couple of shots well-beyond the 19’9” arc. Without question his favorite spot on Thursday was the top of the key. By my calculations Malcolm finished 3-6 from deep, and 2 misses were the result of poor shot selection. At the end of the 2nd half he chose to shoot one without setting his feet and then took one from almost NBA-range in the 2nd half that didn’t draw iron. Bottomline -- when he takes a good one, he usually makes it.
As a playmaker Malcolm loves the one-handed pass which as we all know can be effective, or it can be a killer depending on the situation. It never hurt the Maryland prep in this contest and the one-handed, thread-the-needle pass he threw in transition was a thing of beauty. He does have an excellent feel for the game and excels in the open floor.
Delaney didn’t start the 2nd half but when he returned we saw more of his repertoire. He looked a lot more active and aggressive on both ends of the floor. The highlight of the 2nd half was a brilliant steal by Delaney, he then found teammate Donte Greene in transition for the jam.
Donte Greene – Which brings us to his talented teammate. I got my first look at him in warm-ups, and the best way I can explain it is – he just looks like a player. He’s a slender 6-9 but not without any muscle. I watched him effortlessly nail 2 3-pointers in a row pre-game. Which segue ways us right to Greene’s first shot of the game – a missed 3. Not too worry, he definitely has the stroke from long distance but didn’t take another until late in the 2nd half – which he promptly nailed by the way.
I was impressed by Donte’s vast array of weapons at the offensive end. He’s efficient facing up or with his back to the basket. Versus the Warriors zone he gathered the ball baseline and spun on his man for an easy jam then later in the first half Greene made a wonderful read and slipped the screen for an easy 2. He plays smart and has an excellent demeanor on the court and always seems to be giving 110 percent.
I can’t think of much he didn’t do to be honest. He ran the floor extremely well and showed his handle leading the break and made one of his own eye-popping plays with a one-hand pass in transition that led to an easy 2. Quickly I recalled the last 6-9 player I saw do that on the same court a year ago – North Carolina recruit Tyler Hansbrough. Another footnote about Donte’s passing --- he was deadly from the high post area vs. the zone though he was triple-teamed at times; granted it wasn’t an aggressive triple but he always managed to find an open teammate.
At a young age footwork and strength are sometimes lacking but Donte displayed both in this contest. Early in the first quarter he soared above the pack for an impressive one-handed snare. He missed 3 point-blank shots inside but battled for the rebound each time until he got fouled thanks to an extremely quick 2nd jump.
At the defensive end he was the “one” at the back of the 1-3-1 zone and bothered a lot of shots. Surprisingly I didn’t see much shot-blocking out of him. He’s a terrific leaper but it just didn’t seem like he had the timing today.
The only “negative” I can think of is that he left me wanting more. I actually wanted him to shoot more and I thought he should’ve dominated. Especially since the Wilmington Warriors didn’t have a player in uniform over 6’5”.
I’d definitely like to see what both players will do against stiffer competition. That’s sure to happen as they advance through pool play at the 16U Super Showcase.