BYU men's basketball: Raul Delgado decides to come home to BYU

Published: Monday, Jan. 30 2012 6:03 p.m. MST

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — Western Nebraska's Raul Delgado has decided to come home. After leaving his home in Springville to play junior college ball, he'll be returning home to play just minutes north of his home at BYU.

Delgado committed to sign a letter of intent with BYU after an official visit to the school. He'll come to BYU ready to contribute immediately for the 2012-2013 season at both guard positions.

While playing his final season for Western Nebraska he has received a lot of options in regards to where he could play Division I basketball.

Programs such as Wyoming, Utah State, Detroit and TCU came forward with offers while Virginia, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M had started to show a lot of interest.

He rested on BYU in large part because of family.

"Family is the most important thing for me," said Delgado. "I love being close to my family, so now they'll be able to see my games and it's great. That was the biggest reason why I chose to commit to BYU — family."

Ironically, it was family that first brought Delgado away from home in the first place.

Upon graduation from Springville he was courted heavily by Salt Lake Community College which held a lot of appeal. As a non-qualifier, he had to go the junior college route, but before he inked with SLCC his cousin came calling.

"My cousin is Francisco Cruz, who now plays for Wyoming," related Delgado. "He was playing for Western Nebraska and wanted me to come out there to play with him, so I visited and really loved the place. I've really enjoyed my time here, but I miss my family, so it's going to be good to come back home."

Delgado's original home is Chihuahua, Mexico which is where current NBA player Eduardo Najera hails from. Like Najera, Delgado is a part of the Mexican national team which traveled clear to China to compete over the summer.

He knows Najera personally and has looked up to him since he was a kid.

"It's great seeing someone from my hometown go on to play in the NBA," said Delgado. "He's been sort of a role model for me and I'd obviously love to have a chance to play in the NBA some day."

When he signed with Western Nebraska, Delgado was known as a defensive stopper and a slasher, but not as someone with much of an outside shot. Not happy with his designation, he set about tirelessly to improve his shot.

The results are readily apparent when reading through his stat sheet where he shoots 43 percent from the arc. He is currently the Cougars' leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game.

"Raul is one of the best workers I've ever coached," said Western Nebraska coach Russell Beck. "He's a very athletic player and he's our best scorer. He's a tireless defender and I think he's going to do great at BYU."

According to Delgado, BYU coach Dave Rose sees him as a ready replacement for the graduating Charles Abouo next season. Abouo is widely recognized as BYU's best defensive stopper in the backcourt which is something Delgado feels he can emulate.

"I won the defensive player of the year when I was in high school," said the 6-foot-2 guard prospect. "I've worked on becoming a more complete player, but I still defend very well and love that part of the game. I've seen Charles play and he's a great defender, but I think that I can bring a lot of that same intensity."

While at BYU he'll be able to reacquaint himself with former Provo Bulldogs Brandon Davies and Kyle Collinsworth — both of whom he forged strong friendships with when growing up.

He'll also be able to operate in a system that he feels very comfortable with.

"I love how Coach Rose coaches and the style he has," said Delgado. "He likes an up-tempo and aggressive style and that fits me with how I like to play. That was another big reason — I feel like I fit right in with what BYU does."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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