“I think it’s tremendous for Rob and Ryan,” says Lafayette men’s basketball head coach Fran O’Hanlon. “They will be able to continue their playing careers and it will be a great cultural opportunity as well. They’ve worked so hard over the past four years and I’m glad to see them continue playing together, which is pretty cool for them.”
Delaney and Willen are both excited at the chance to play professionally, but the decision-making process was not an easy one for Delaney.
“It’s a big life change and I wanted to be very level headed about this decision,” he says. “It had to be a good fit basketball-wise, culturally, and financially. I also wanted to be sure that I would be able to defer a job commitment I had made last fall.”
After getting the go-ahead from his previous job obligation, Delaney began to realize his ambition of playing professionally could become reality.
“The more I talked to the people in Aalborg, the more I became comfortable with what they had to offer,” he adds. “When Ryan came into the mix, I knew it was something I wanted to go after. I feel so blessed to have an opportunity like this and also to be able to share it with one of my closest friends. The whole process has been very humbling.”
Bringing in Willen came at the urging of Delaney, who suggested the team look at adding Lafayette’s sixth all-time leading scorer.
“I’ve been dreaming about playing professional basketball since I was a little kid,” Willen says. “Getting the opportunity to live with Rob and to play basketball together for one more year is a perfect situation. Hopefully our chemistry from college will show up on the court, and we will be successful in our first year of pro basketball.”
Their new head coach, Mads Olesen, said the following (translated from Danish):
“We have been in contact with so many agents and players this summer before we found the right ones. We were looking for some team players who also take responsibility on the (court) both offensively and especially defensively, and I am sure we have received (them). I expect they will fit into the entertaining style of basketball we would like to play, and immerse themselves in our culture.”
Delaney and Willen are not the only members of the Lafayette basketball Class of 2012 to continue their careers. Jim Mower ’12 and Sarah McGorry ’12 each received Victory Scholarships to continue their basketball-playing careers as graduate students in Europe.