RAS Jesse Delancy
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#IN what has been an impressive debut season with the Benedict College Tigers men’s volleyball team, Bahamian Ras Jesse Delancy was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Player of the Year.
#The announcement on Tuesday as the SIAC unveiled the Inaugural 2022 Men’s Volleyball All-Conference Teams, featuring 14 first and second-team representatives from the league’s top players.
#The all-conference team was voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors and will be recognised at the Inaugural 2022 Men’s Volleyball Championship Tournament. Rookies dominated the list with 12 of the 14 honourees in their first seasons.
#“Honestly, I feel accomplished because it was a goal that I had set before the season,” said Delancy, a 22-year-old graduate of CV Bethel. “Every game, even though I may not have had a good game, I did my best to help my team win.
#“I know I’m relatively new to volleyball, but I tried my best to brush off the bad games and in my head, I kept in mind the fact that I wanted to be the Player of the Game or the MVP. That is what kept me going. So I feel accomplished because I achieved a goal I had set for myself.”
#After playing the sport for about a year and a half, Delancy, who was voted on the All-American first team, became the first player from Benedict to achieve the Player of the Year award after he racked up a number of Player of the Week and Month honours during the season.
#“I caught on rather quickly just playing the game and watching as much volleyball as I could,” said Delancy, who surprised a lot of people with his performances. “I just excelled from there.
#“But I owe a lot of my success to my coach and my teammates because they put a lot of trust in me and I put a lot of trust in them. They know that I will be the player to lead them and I have the trust in them that they will be there to back me up.”
#The sophomore outside hitter delivered for the Tigers as he led the league in kills per set (3.24), points per set (3.89), and attacks per set (7.04). He is ranked nationally in all three categories.
#Delancy also ranked second in hitting percentage (.269) and fifth in aces per set (.345/set) for the league; had a season-high 23 kills against Central State; recorded 15 solo blocks and 12 block assists and he posted 67 digs this season, including season-high 9 digs versus Kentucky State.
#His Bahamian Benedict teammates Donovan Wilmott and Cint Forbes also earned all-conference accolades for their regular season performance.
#“It feels amazing to have the Bahamians on the team because I never played with them at home, only in pick up volleyball games,” he said. “It was good that if I used Bahamian slang, they understood what I was saying,” he said.
#“We have about five Bahamians on the team and we all performed very well. So I’m proud of our achievements, especially for all of us coming from the Bahamas.”
#In its inaugural season, the Elite 14 award recognised the student-athlete who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the SIAC championship level in his or her sport while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers, including Clint Forbes, who was the first recipient of this award in his respective sport.
#“I knew what our guys are capable of doing and so I tried to push them to reach that standard,” he said. “Whenever they played below that standard, I would get on them.”
#Benedict’s Head Coach Gwendolyn Rouse, who recruited the Bahamian players when she was given the new men’s program to go along with her chores as the women’s head coach, was selected as the inaugural SIAC Coach of the Year in her first season leading the men’s team.
#“I think her recognition gave us the extra boost that we didn’t have,” Delancy pointed out. “Whenever we lost, she was right there to lift our spirits up.
#“She lived up to the award she got. She really helped the team to get to where we are today.”
#Rouse has led Benedict’s women’s volleyball for 35 years and has recently taken the lead over the men’s programme as well. In her first year with the men’s programme, she led them to a 4-6 conference record and a 6-13 overall record.
#The Tigers’ roster includes Bahamians freshman Terran Walkin, a 6-0 setter from St Augustine’s College; junior Donovan Wilmott, a 6-2 middle blocker/outside hitter from Doris Johnson High School’; freshman Zion Beckford, a 6-4 right side/outside hitter and freshman Clint Forbes, a 5- defensive specialist who also play as the libero.
#On Thursday, the Tigers completed their historic season at the SIAC Championships that were played at the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
#The Tigers however, fell short of advancing to the final on Thursday when they lost 3-0 to Edge Water College 25-19, 25-19, 25 as Delancy led Benedict College with 12 kills. (See story this page)
#Benedict wraps up the season at 9-15 and finishes in third place at the championship.
#Off the court, Delancy has been just as exceptional in the classroom. He’s trying to improve on the one B on his report card to enable him to achieve a 4.0 or at least a 3.8 before his final grades for this semester are posted.
#“It’s quite easy because I’ve matured a lot in the past two years,” he pointed out. “Volleyball is my passion. That is my love and for me to continue doing what I love, to get to the next level, I have to improve my grades.”
#Delancy is the son of Eugene Delancy and Felicity Darville. His grandmother is National Hall of Fame golfer Agatha Delancy and his grandfather is National Hall of Fame football player Allan Ingraham.
#“Jesse made history in the United States in Intercollegiate volleyball within three months of playing at the college level,” his proud mom said. “I think he’s in the right place at the right time as the sport of volleyball continues to grow to higher levels in America.
#“This was the first Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference in volleyball for men in its history, and Jesse won player of the year. In this way, he also made Benedict College history.”
#According to Darville, a journalist, Delancy is a young man who has matured into a determined and focused individual, who always had that star quality and has used his manners and respect to take him around the world.
#“He has five siblings in his clan of support, including his eldest brother Ras Elijah Delancy, who is an avid golfer who has played at collegiate and national levels,” Darville said.
#“Jesse left Nassau with goals as he headed for Benedict College at the start of this year. The fact that he has achieved them means he has found the right formula that will propel him to success. I love my son and I am proud of him. Go, Jesse and go, Tigers.”