Malcolm Delaney's final days at Virginia Tech are channeled toward basketball

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 14, 2011; 10:56 PM

BLACKSBURG, VA. - Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney has no use for an alarm clock, and he's rarely seen on campus these days.

The 6-foot-3 guard had enough credits to graduate with a degree in consumer studies after last semester, but because of NCAA rules, he needed to take at least one course to remain eligible to finish out his basketball career.

So Delaney chose a one-credit senior seminar focused on putting together his resume. The class meets just seven times this semester.

"It's not a tough class," Delaney said last week, trying his best to hold back a smile. "I don't have to wake up early - I can sleep in - and I don't have to worry about traveling from class to class. It's definitely an easier load for me."

For Delaney, though, this season is all about resume-building, whether it's trying to lead the Hokies to an NCAA tournament berth for the first time during his career or proving to NBA scouts he has the skill set to play at the next level.

Delaney is once again among the ACC's elite, averaging 19.0 points and 4.3 assists per game heading into Tuesday's home matchup against Maryland. He recently became the fourth player in Virginia Tech history to eclipse 2,000 career points and was one of 30 players in the country named to the Naismith Award midseason watch list.

And as was the case throughout his life, the Baltimore native's accomplishments are moments of resilience, no matter if he has overcome something real or perceived.

"Malcolm's his own worst critic and he's hard on himself. He takes a lot of things personally," Coach Seth Greenberg said. "That's what makes Malcolm, Malcolm. I'm not sure if it's good or bad sometimes, but who am I to judge someone for taking things too personally? That's kind of what makes him pretty good. That drives him."

Growing up in east Baltimore, Delaney eschewed the streets, something instilled in him from a young age because of the sturdy, two-parent home he was raised in.

Instead, he became a star at Towson Catholic as well as on the AAU circuit with a team sponsored by Carmelo Anthony. He was named state player of the year by many outlets following his senior season. But Delaney said his refusal to have his recruiting process shepherded by street agents paved the way for rumors about his game and limited his college scholarship offers.

Never before, though, were the doubters as frank as they were when he declared for the NBA draft without hiring an agent last spring. Greenberg said before this season the critiques from NBA executives and scouts, who wondered if Delaney could play point guard professionally, were often "brutally honest."

Delaney said his parents and friends didn't hold back when it came to analyzing his game, and what he heard during the process had an effect. He desperately wants to join the NBA ranks, especially because one of his best friends, Donte Greene, already plays for the Sacramento Kings.

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