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Delaware State coach has Villanova connection

There are three people who former Villanova ahead Will Sheridan sees as father figures in his life: his precise father, Jay Wright, and Delaware State coach Stan Waterman.

While the Wildcats’ Monday residence sport in opposition to Delaware State (6:30 p.m. FS2) might be seen by most as a chance to get again on monitor after a loss on Friday at Temple, the sport has added significance for Sheridan and Villanova’s second Forward Nnanna Njoku. Both performed below Waterman on the Sanford School in Hockessin, Delaware.

» READ MORE: Temple absolutely deserved its court docket storm after upsetting Villanova…that was large

“It’s going to feel really weird,” Njoku mentioned. “It will be difficult not to laugh a little just because I’m used to going up to him before the game and asking him what the game plan is like, what should I do differently. And now I have to do this against him.”

Waterman is in his second year as coach of the Hornets after spending 30 seasons at Sanford. During his tenure, the Warriors won eight state titles, including 2002 with Sheridan and 2019 and 2021 with Njoku.

“I’ve watched a variety of Villanova basketball, I’m an enormous Jay Wright fan,” Waterman said of the Wildcats’ retired Hall of Fame coach. “The issues that they did very well, we tried to implement and set up in our program at the highschool degree.”

Waterman also coached Villanova forward Eric Dixon. Waterman was the U.S. youth basketball assistant in 2016 and 2017 when Dixon attended national team training camp.

Waterman faces a difficult journey to repeat his Sanford win at Delaware State (1-1), a year after taking charge of a team that won 3-16 in 2020-21. He finished 2-26 in his freshman season, and KenPom.com ranks the Hornets 362nd out of 363 Division I teams this season.

» READ MORE: Insights into Haftu Strintzos’ journey from Ethiopia to Australia to cross-country star Villanova

He sees Villanova as the standard of basketball cultures and wants to develop the state of Delaware the way Villanova developed under Wright. However, Waterman has experience building a program. Njoku says that one of the reasons he chose Villanova was that his culture was similar to what he was in under Waterman at Sanford.

“Sanford was an enormous basketball college, Villanova is a large basketball college,” Njoku said. “From the viewpoint of teaching, we performed in a really managed method and performed to our strengths [at Sanford]. I’ve a sense that Villanova is doing simply that.”

Sheridan speaks to Waterman repeatedly, though he hasn’t performed for him in 20 years.

“It’s really all about relationships, and to see our relationship surviving and growing 20 years later is pretty impressive,” Waterman mentioned. “I take this responsibility – as a coach, as a teacher, as a mentor – very seriously and I challenge it [my players] to be able to do the same thing to pass it on to the guys who are coming behind them.”

Sheridan continues to be following Waterman and his group. He attends most Villanova video games, however between journeys final week he visited Memorial Hall in Dover for the Hornets’ 104-67 win over Division III Immaculata.

“I don’t think he even knew I was coming to the game,” Sheridan mentioned. “Coach is in my life. That’s my sort. I textual content him on a regular basis. I’ll admit he is very targeted and dedicated to Del State Basketball proper now, so I’m getting a number of fewer messages again, however I’m holding in contact.

Waterman understands Monday might be a tough sport for his group.

“We’re really looking for a way to be No. 1,” Waterman mentioned. “But then also an opportunity for us to see how an established and successful program really works.”

Njoku awaits a problem.

“I have a couple of friends who play in the team and they told me he trains the same way he did at Sanford,” mentioned Njoku. “They do the whole lot very exactly, managed. It needs to be enjoyable.”

However, Sheridan knows what he’s hoping for.

“I cheer for Coach Waterman, however I would like Villanova to win,” Sheridan said. “Cut me open, I’m bleeding blue and white, I’m Villanova. Like I’m Delaware, I’m Coach Waterman, however I’m a wildcat.”

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