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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #102: Tony Delk

There were a lot of former Kentucky Wildcats on the Celtics teams of the 1990s and 00s, partially because of Rick Pitino's tenure and partially because the school was a basketball factory in the nineties. Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, heck Rajon Rondo.

Tony Delk should have been among the best of them. He should have been an NBA star, bringing with him an NCAA resume that included a 1996 national championship during which he was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, an All-American with a school-record 283 three-pointers. His shooting and defense got him selected 16th overall in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, but he never found a groove in the pros. He bounced between eight teams in his ten seasons, averaging under ten points and two assists per game for his career. He scored over 30 one time, and it was memorable, a 53-point eruption in an overtime effort for the Suns that included 20-27 shooting from the field. Outlier.

Delk was part of the Celtics for 89 games over the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, even starting 55 of those games in his most sustained shot at a regular gig in the NBA. He was actually an important piece in their two-series playoff run in the spring of 2003 against the Pacers and Nets, scoring over 15 points per game alongside Walker and Pierce. I remember him as a long-armed, high-energy guy. I also remember, rather vividly, the apparent complete absence of a neck. If you ask my what I remember about Tony Delk, the neck is a big part of it. Great college player, mediocre NBA role player, long arms, no neck.

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