Bahamian collegiate volleyball player Ras Jesse Delancy had a huge year for Benedict College Tigers. He received recognition before but none was bigger than winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Player of the Year Award as presented by Off The Block – a blog focusing on college men’s volleyball news and analysis.
Delancy, who is an outside attacker, had a good 2023 season coming away with a national best 5.38 kills per game and had a whopping 20 kills or more in seven games.
“Winning the award was something that solidified a thought I had to myself – that I am the best. I won the award for my school, an entirely new volleyball conference and a program that leads the entire NCAA in kills. My teammate Donovan (Wilmott) said it in the simplest way possible – ‘I’m the best scorer in the United States’,”Delancy said.
He was not surprised to win the award as he knew that he had worked hard and always tries to outdo himself and be the best version of himself.
The towering player secured his second straight Southern Athletic Conference (SIAC) Player of the Year Award and all-conference first team selection. In addition to those honors, he was named the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the 2022-2023 season. The 6’6” player helped the Tigers to sit in third in the SIAC Standings with a 6-5 win/loss record. They sported an 11-8 overall record. The season was a little disappointing for him in terms of where they finished which was in the semifinals of the SIAC Volleyball Championship Tournament – the same as the previous season.
Although he received these accolades, the Bahamian is not satisfied.
“Among all of the accomplishments, I’m not where I want to be,” Delancy said. “There’re still parts of my game that I need to work on but I have to remember not to be too hard on myself. I haven’t been playing very long but I know what could happen when I strengthen my weaknesses. The potential I have is exciting.”
After the season ended in April, Delancy entered the transfer portal and was looking to play in the NCAA Division I but was unable to accept any offers. Instead, he is committed to the University of Charleston in the NCAA Division II for next season and is looking forward to it.
“I got an offer from a very prestigious division one school in California but, unfortunately, I can’t play,” Delancy said. “They have a rule that didn’t work in my favor which is when you first start college, whether you play a sport or not, you have five years to play division one and this was my fifth year since I started school. The new school I committed to, the University of Charleston, is a great school with an amazing coach, there is great competition and they also play some NCAA Division I schools. We play the California school I got an offer from. Next season is going to be exciting and history making.”
A voting committee of about 30 men’s volleyball coaches and volleyball media members from around the nation determined the winner of the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year. The top three vote-getters were named finalists for the national honor.
Delancy received 30 votes to defeat the runner-up, Concordia University’s opposite hitter Uriel Batista, by nine votes. Daemen University outside attacker Zach Schneider finished third with 17 votes.