With the college basketball season right around the corner, it's time for the Blue Zone to take a look at the 2023-24 Duke women's basketball roster. We previously looked at Emma Koabel and Oluchi Okananwa. Next up is freshman forward Delaney Thomas:
Last year’s stat line: N/A
Game breakdown: Delaney Thomas is the object of force and versatility on the court. The 29th-ranked freshman forward’s skill pushed her high school team to the WCAC championship last year. In 2021, Thomas helped Team USA win the gold medal in the U16 FIBA Americas Championship and maintain a formidable 6-0 record.
Thomas is effective and powerful on the court. The Charles Town, W.V., native’s height certainly gives her an advantage in rebounding — she averaged 7.1 per game as a senior. She has impressive ball-handling skills and can push past defenses with ease, allowing her to sink shots inside the paint. Outside the paint, her shooting abilities do not waver: During her senior year, she landed 50% of her three-point shots. In total, Thomas averaged an impressive 15.4 points per game last year.
Role on the team: Along with adding much-needed height to Duke’s team sitting at 6-foot-3, the freshman forward has the opportunity to fill the shoes of last year’s graduated Blue Devils. Like Thomas, last year's starting forward Elizabeth Balogun was powerfully versatile. The Lagos, Nigeria, native ranked highest in rebounds and second highest in points per game on the team. With this hole left to fill, Thomas is exactly what Duke needs — and more. Thomas’ ability to steal consistently — averaging two steals per game last year — will assist the notorious Blue Devil defense.
If she can prove herself, the freshman forward has the chance to rack up significant playing time, as she won’t be competing with already established Duke forwards. She will probably split time at the four with Jordan Wood, another first-year forward.
Thomas’s skill is already impressive — it will be exciting to watch how she translates this to the collegiate level.
Projected stats: 19.5 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.