Tom Zamonski (@tomzamonski)
Fruit and fluids could be the missing link in fixing Delaware’s early season woes.
“We lost two games because of cramps and that has probably never happened in the history of college basketball,” Blue Hens coach Monte Ross said after his teams’ loss to Temple on Sunday.
Ross was referring to Delaware’s two earlier losses against La Salle and Kansas State.
During the Blue Hens’ opener against La Salle, Jarvis Threatt had the hot hand, leading all scorers with 17 points, but could have done even more damage if he did not cramp up in the game.
In Delaware’s NIT Season Tip-Off game at Madison Square Garden last week, Jamelle Hagins was dominating the game with 15 rebounds before exiting the game with cramps in his thigh. During his exit the Blue Hens were exploited in the paint and Kansas State took control in the win.
“It was a new experience,” Hagins said, following the game. “It must been something I ate or didn’t eat.”
It was an issue that Ross saw as a serious concern for his team going forward.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and find out what we are doing, what we are eating, what we are not eating,” Ross said at the time, “and if it’s stealing secrets from someone else then we need to steal some secrets. We have to find out exactly what the problem is here.”
Fortunately for Delaware, the Blue Hens and Hagins were able to solve their cramping issue after the KSU game. The results were obvious during their game against Temple.
“He played 38 minutes today so I think he’s over it,” Ross said on Sunday of Hagins’ cramping issue. “But we have done some things that tried to combat that so it won’t happen to us again. It has worked for us for the last two games because we haven’t had any issues with that so I hope it is the last we see of it.”
The solution for the Blue Hens was not from a can of Vlasic, like other teams have famously done in the past.
“We didn’t go to pickle juice but we did some pretty good measures that have worked for us,” Ross said with a smirk.
Although Ross did not say what his team did to address the issue, Hagins explained his new pregame routine.
“I have been taking a lot of salt pills and drinking a whole lot of Gatorade and getting a whole lot of fluids in my system before the game,” Hagins said. “I have also been eating oranges and bananas before the game and that has been helping.”
The new ritual worked well for Hagins as he looked incredible against Temple. Hagins set a career high 29 points and scooped up a game-high 12 boards in a loss to the Owls.
If oranges, bananas, and some extra electrolytes is all it takes for Hagins to play at his peak, the Blue Hens will be a tough squad to knock off in the CAA.