In this week's series of What the Hell Happened To, we remember an electric guard fromKentucky, who once scored 53 points in an NBA game. He was the inspirational leader for the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats who won the NCAA championship, and a key member on the Celtics' Cinderella bunch from 2002. You probably remember Tony Delk.
He was selected by the Hornets with the 16th overall pick in the talent-laden 1996 draft. After one season and a few games with the Hornets, he was dealt to Golden State for BJ Armstrong. He'd play 2 seasons with the Warriors before signing as a free agent with the Kings in 2000.
It was with Sacramento that he'd start to make a name for himself but after just one campaign, signed with the Suns. That 2001 season with the Suns is when he'd go for that 53 point explosion vs his old team, the Kings. He shot a remarkable 20-27 from the field that game. The next season, he'd be traded along with Rodney Rogers for Joe Johnson, Randy Brown and Milt Palacio.
He'd stick around with the Celtics for the rest of that magical 2002 run as well as the following year, before being traded to the Mavericks along with Antoine Walker for Raef Lafrenz and Jiri Welsch. He'd play for Dallas, Atlanta and Detroit over the next 3 seasons, never playing more than 56 games in a year. For the 2007 season he'd play for Panathinaikos in Greece, where he actually helped win the European Championship and Greek Cup. In 2008 he'd play 3 games with the Carolina Giants of the Puerto Rican Basketball League before retiring.
I really liked Delk's game, and think he'd actually be the solution to the current Celtics' problems of not having a 3rd guard who could play both the point and 2. When they acquired him, they already had Erick Strickland, so it was a bit redundant having both guys. Delk was the more talented offensive player but Strickland was better defensively and a gutsier. I liked both of them. When Kenny Anderson was traded I thought Delk would do a sufficient job starting at the point. But he was a bit injured and actually replaced by the corpse of JR Bremer. One interesting thing I remember about him on the Celtics is that I believe he wore #7 when he first arrived to Boston, but then switched to #28. When looking at his basketball-reference page, I was able to verify that.
Today Delk is actually an assistant coach to John Calipari at Kentucky, along with former NBA players Rod Strickland and Scott Padgett. He's recently announcedinterest in the head coaching job at Western Kentucky University. He also heads up the TDSCF, which stands for the Taylor Delk Sickle Cell Foundation, named in honor of his daughter who suffers from this disease.