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Cardinal O'Hara product Izaiah Pasha decides on Delaware after postgrad year

04/05/2024, 12:15pm EDT
By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)

Izaiah Pasha, the former Cardinal O’Hara All-Philadelphia Catholic League selection, finally feels settled.

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard had some concerns this time last year when he was about to graduate from O’Hara. He had committed to Iona and former Gaels’ Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino back in November 2022 and thought his college future was set. But when Pitino took the job at St. John’s in March 2023, Pasha changed his mind and was looking to join Pitino at St. John’s after a year at a prep school.

Those plans did not exactly work out, though Pasha finds himself content and much closer to home, when he committed to Delaware and head coach Martin Ingelsby on Wednesday evening. It came down to San Diego, Sacred Heart and Delaware. Pasha played at St. Thomas More (Conn.) prep school this past season, averaging 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists a game, while shooting 59% from the field with 31 three-pointers.

Former O'Hara star Izaiah Pasha announced his commitment to Delaware on Wednesday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL FIle)

At Delaware, he will have four years of eligibility with true freshman status.

Pasha, who averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds a game his senior season at O’Hara, is projected to play point guard for the Blue Hens, who finished 19-14 overall and 10-8 in the CAA this season. In 2022-23, Delaware won the CAA Tournament and played Villanova tough in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before losing 80-60.

“I played point for St. Thomas More, they trusted me a lot with the ball and we won 30 games,” Pasha said. “It wasn’t a big adjustment. I always felt like I was a point guard. We had so many guards at O’Hara, so I couldn’t really show my point guard abilities. But I always felt I had the skills to play there. At the beginning of the AAU circuit, I had the ball in my hands.”

He has put on 15 pounds since playing at O’Hara. He always had superior athleticism and with the added weight, he says he feels more explosive.

“I’m happy I made the move to play at a prep school for a year,” Pasha said. “It helped prepare me to be on my own. Delaware offered me two years ago, and when I visited on Wednesday, I was looking to check boxes. I’ll admit, I was very, very scared. I was scared in the sense that this was about to become very real and I was finally going to college. I told coach Ingelsby during dinner Wednesday night that I was going to commit to Delaware.

“It was between San Diego State, Sacred Heart and Delaware. But Delaware checked all the boxes for me, a great school, great coaching staff, and it is close to home. My main goal, and coach Ingelsby’s goal for me, is to come into Delaware and make an immediate impact and be rookie of the year (in the CAA). I want to get better, and I know a little bit about the CAA, with Drexel, Towson and Charleston.”

Pasha said Temple was a priority during the fall and was a strong consideration. Owls’ coach Adam Fisher liked Pasha. But, Pasha admits, he was hesitant to commit to Fisher, who was not willing to wait and moved on from Pasha. On Monday, Temple junior point guard Hysier Miller, the Owls’ leading scorer this past season, declared he was leaving Temple for the transfer portal.

“Temple told me they were going to be in the portal heavy at first, and I was not about to wait around for them this time, because I waited around too much already,” Pasha said. “Delaware will help me get better. I feel they trust me. Pitino never came back to me, either. 

"St. John’s wanted me to go to St. Thomas More, and coach Pitino and coach Ricky Johns suggested it. Then they never spoke to me again. Honestly, it’s good, because I saw them play and their style did not fit me. It’s okay. I have moved on. Delaware is a better fit for me. My mom, Melinda (Laureano), told me to go with my gut. There were a lot of college coaches that lied to me. This is a happy ending. I’m only looking at the future. You can’t wait today with the transfer portal.”

Pasha said he likes how fast and open Delaware plays, which will allow him to play on and off the ball. The Blue Hens will be losing their top-three leading scorers to graduation in seniors Jyáre Davis (17.1), Gerald Drumgoole Jr. (13.9) and Niels Lane (9.7), who combined to score an average of 40.7 points a game, more than half of the Blue Hens’ offense (73 points per game).

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.

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