Dean Burrows loved getting back on the floor with his guys last week.
Even though the Wesley College men’s basketball team isn’t playing anything close to a normal season, it still felt good to be in the gym again.
“It’s been therapeutic for me, man,” said Burrows, the Wesley head coach. “Being back in the gym and putting stuff together — starting to build. It’s been a blast.
“We were on the cusp of being very good,” he added.
Now, though, Burrows won’t get the chance to see how good this group could become.
On Monday, Wesley announced that it won’t have athletics after this school year as parts of the school become part of Delaware State University.
The Wolverines may get to play some real games next month. After the spring, though, Wesley athletics is closing up shop.
For a young coach like Burrows, who’s only in his sixth year as a head coach, it’s a tough break. But Burrows, who has dealt with some serious medical issues over the last few seasons, is also the kind of guy who just keeps plowing ahead.
A year ago, he led the Wolverines to the Atlantic East Conference crown and the program’s fifth NCAA Division III tournament berth despite being in and out of the hospital.
So even shortly after the news broke on Monday, Burrows was already thinking about what happens next for him and his players.
“At the end of the day, my heart goes out to the kids,” said Burrows, who doesn’t have a senior on the roster. “It’s already enough for everybody during a global pandemic — some athletes not playing last year and some having their seasons cut short.
“You can say a lot about this generation of kids. But they’re resilient. And my guys, the focus that they’ve shown in the week and a half that we’ve been practicing since we started back up ... We’ve talked about controlling what we can control. They’ve done a great job with that. These kids have done everything, from study hall hours, to the weight room, to when we’ve been practicing. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Burrows will help his players find new schools to finish their careers. Of course, he also has to find a job for himself, too.
And who knows? Maybe he’ll end up coaching some of those same players again — just somewhere else.
“Now my job is help them with what they want to do,” he said, “while I’m looking at what’s next for me and trying to figure that out.
“Things take time,” said Burrows. “The reward is seeing us put in the work, day in and day out, for the last five years, get it to where we are ... and continuing to build and work. That’s the tough part to swallow.”
NJAC OKs spring football
It looks like Wesley College will get to play a few more football games.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference, of which the Wolverines are members, announced on Friday that it will have a short spring football schedule in March.
Christopher Newport, Salisbury and Wesley will be in the league’s South Division. Teams can play a scrimmage on the weekend of March 6-7 with schools then permitted to play games on each of the next three weekends in March.
Along with facing their two divisional foes, each team’s third game will be against a school from the other division. The NJAC North will be comprised of Kean, Montclair State and William Paterson.
Teams will compete for divisional championships. Divisional all-conference honors and league awards will also be selected.
Hooping it up
The Delaware women’s basketball team may be in first place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings but the Blue Hens still have plenty to prove.
Today and Sunday, Delaware (13-1 CAA, 16-2 overall) plays a pair of 6 p.m. games at third-place James Madison (7-4 CAA, 9-7 overall). The Dukes have won 16 straight games over Delaware.
The Hens haven’t beaten JMU since Feb. 24, 2013. While Delaware, which is No. 20 in the College Insider Mid-Major rankings, doesn’t have to beat the Dukes to win the regular-season title, it would like to prove it can beat the Dukes before the CAA Tournament.
The state’s other NCAA Division I basketball programs would just be happy to play a real game again.
Delaware’s men’s squad is still stuck in a COVID-19 shutdown. The Hen men haven’t played a game since Jan. 31 and aren’t slated to play again until Feb. 27 at Towson.
Delaware State’s men have played just twice since Jan. 30. The Hornets have picked up a game with Mount St. Mary’s, which they’re hoping to host on Sunday at 1 p.m.
And the DSU women have played just three games in February. They’re not scheduled to play again until Feb. 27 when they host Howard.
Eden Davis, the Dover High basketball All-Stater who is a freshman at Texas A&M-Corpus-Christi, netted a season-high points in a recent game. ... Former Smyrna High quarterback Isaiah Wilson, who helped the Eagles to a Division I state title in his one year with them, has transferred from Norfolk State to Lincoln University. “Very talented kid that can make all the throws with the ability to get outside the pocket,” said Lincoln coach Josh Dean. ... A pair of Delaware State women’s basketball recruits have been nominated for the McDonald’s All-America East Regional team — Caesar Rodney’s Jada McCullough and Conrad’s Ja’ Nylah Whittlesey. ... Delaware recruit Mia Yanogacio from New Jersey has also been nominated for the McDonald’s squad. ... Middletown High QB Jaden Davis has added Arkansas to his long list of scholarship offers. ... The UD women’s basketball team leads the country with 19 offensive rebounds per game.