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GO WEST, YOUNG HAWKS
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
PHILADELPHIA (12/10/01) -- As Horace Greeley, founder of the New Yorker magazine and New York Tribune once so famously said, "Go west, young man, go west." Though Greeley was referring to the then-burgeoning expansion of the American West, the same mantra could apply to Saint Joseph's tonight in the surgical dissection of their crosstown rival, the Drexel Dragons. Ranked #16 in the latest Associated Press poll (#18 ESPN/USA Today), coach Phil Martelli's Hawks (6-1) jumped to an early 31-8 cushion and never looked back en route to an 85-64 victory Monday night at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. The game featured what may have been the unveiling of Martelli's latest prized recruit, 6-3 freshman guard Delonte West, who nearly tallied a triple-double with eight points, seven assists, and 11 rebounds. "Delonte is as good a freshman as there is in the Atlantic 10," said Martelli after the game, "but he doesn't get a chance to show it because he's stuck behind two fifth-year players [in Marvin O'Connor and Na'im Crenshaw]." Crenshaw, in fact, led all scorers with 18 points, and in the process scored his 1,000th career point for Saint Joseph's, which came on a layup only 2:25 into the contest. Crenshaw became the 38th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Bill Phillips added 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting, while O'Connor, who led the Hawks coming into the contest with 18.8 points per game, had 12 for the evening in only 26 minutes of play. Tim Whitworth had 15 points for Drexel (2-6), while Eric Schmieder and Phil Goss added 10 points each. "He was fighting with sticks and we were fighting with bazookas," said Martelli of Drexel coach James "Bruiser" Flint, a St. Joe's alum who brought his first Drexel squad into the Fieldhouse knowing he was undermanned, but undeterred. Asked if a lack of depth hurt his team, Flint replied, "Yeah, of course it does. But to be honest with you, depth wouldn't have mattered tonight." It would have mattered little because the Dragons missed their first ten shots en route to a 32% performance, while the hot-shooting Hawks connected on 52% of their field goal tries, including 8-for-21 from beyond the three-point arc. After the game, Martelli was asked about West, the splendid freshman guard who saw his first extended action at the point this evening due to continued flu-like symptoms suffered by primary backup Tyrone Barley. "Delonte, to be honest with you, has a little bit of that 'D.C' element to his game," said Martelli (West was named last year's Metro Player of the Year by the Washington Post). "He thinks that a crossover dribble will earn you a point. But we've gotten most of that out of him." Indeed, Martelli ran the offense through West for a good portion of the second half, giving Jameer Nelson (8 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) a well-deserved breather while testing out his youngster. West responded with an excellent performance, not only padding his own stat sheet but helping fellow freshman John Bryant to a career night with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and a blocked shot, all on 4-for-4 shooting from the field, including a highlight reel dish-and-dunk (plus foul) that the two connected on in the waning stages of the game. In the end, Martelli's team completed the first semester of the 2001-02 season with a 6-1 record, prompting him to remark that, were he the team's professor, he would "grant them a 'kind' A." "Everything is a new experience, and they've responded very well. Everyone is basing our team on where we were in March of last year," remarked Martelli. "Early on, it's not like we were Darth Vader or something. We beat St. Peter's by 10 points, Delaware by five, it was life and death in our league opener with Duquesne." "For where we are right now as opposed to last year's team, with everything being new, I think we're OK. I mean, we weren't up 31-8 very much last year, unless we were playing our J.V. team." Still, as far as the polls are concerned, which see the Hawks fluctuating from week to week, often by as many as six to eight spots, Martelli isn't too worried. "These are the same guys who've got Nebraska playing for the [BCS] Title Game. I mean, they gave up more points [in their last game] than we do most nights." Martelli's squad, it should be noted, also managed to beat Colorado.


HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE:
Horace Greeley, who was a famed publisher during the Gilded Age of American history, was in all likelihood the only Presidential candidate to have ever sported a neck beard. A social reformer who advocated temperance, a homestead law, and women's rights, Greeley was defeated soundly in the 1872 election by Ulysses S. Grant. Disappointed with the result, and distraught at the death of his wife a few days before the election, Greeley died, insane, on Nov. 29, 1872.