It’s time to give Delaware some respect for the athletes that have developed right in our own backyard.
Too many times, the national media and some scouts seem to overlook The Small Wonder as a state that has quality athletic talent. Delaware has put out amazing athletes over the years, and we want to highlight them.
Over this series, we will take a look at both men’s and women’s athletes who are excelling at all levels of collegiate and professional sports.
Many Delaware hoops fans remember Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland of St. Georges Technical High School as a wiry, elite shooter who became one of the state’s most prolific scorers. From 2015 through the 2019 season, Bones went from freshman contributor on a team competing for state championships, to one of the faces of Delaware basketball by his senior year.
He electrified crowds with his silky-smooth ball handling, high basketball IQ plays, tough finishes at the rim, and, of course, his limitless shooting range.
If you were to come up with the perfect combo guard in a lab, Bones is what that creation would be. His talents led him to receiving a full scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) following his senior year.
The 6-foot-3-inch Hyland inserted himself into the VCU rotation immediately as a scorer off the bench. By the second half of the season, Bones had made his mark as a player on the rise in the A-10, starting 9 games for the Rams down the stretch.
He led the Rams in scoring in five of their last 14 games prior to the Covid-19 cancelation of the season prior to their March 12 matchup with UMASS. Hyland was extraordinary as a true freshman, especially on a team that had NCAA Tournament aspirations at 18-13.
Bones averaged 9 points per game and just under two assists per game in 20.6 minutes per game, while playing all 31 games. His task was simple: Come in and knock down outside shots. He did that extremely well.
He shot 43.4% from beyond the arc, which was the 51st best mark in all of Division I College Basketball. That’s one heck of an accomplishment for a true freshman.
In his second season, Bones has taken another leap forward in his development. He has earned a starting position in the Rams backcourt and has become The Guy for VCU in 2020-21.
Through four games this season, he leads the Rams in minutes (28.8 per game), points (14.8ppg), and free throw percentage (92.9% on nearly 3.5 attempts per game).
The jumps in those statistical categories, plus his steals per game jump (from 0.8 in ’19 to 1.5 in ’20), show that he is working on his game and that work is paying off.
In VCU’s tip-off tournament, the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic, Bones earned All-Tournament Team honors.
The tournament, played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had some really talented teams. The field included 14th-ranked West Virginia (who the Rams fell to 78-66), perennial tournament hopeful St. Mary’s College, and Penny Hardaway’s led Memphis Tigers.
If you watch a VCU game this year, you will surely hear the broadcast team highlight Bones as a player to watch. In the upcoming week you can catch Bones on ESPN+ with a game against North Carolina A&T Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
Then try to catch a game that I have marked on my calendar on Dec. 12: VCU vs Old Dominion at 5 p.m. on NBCSN. This game will have Bones vs another former Delaware high school player who has been killing it, Malik Curry of St. Elizabeth.
Bones Hyland has always played with a ton of confidence, and with his team depending on him to be more of a focus for them offensively, Bones has been getting “bizzy” early this season.