Being On President Obama’s Mind Has Every Hen Honored And One Head-Hen Worried
By: Matt Janus
Little Rock, AR- Not often in life do you get the opportunity to have the President of the United States of America discuss you on national television. The University of Delaware women’s basketball team got to experience it on Friday though. Cross another item off the Blue Hens’ bucket list.
President Obama ran through his women’s NCAA tournament projections with ESPN’s Dorris Burke on Sports Center. The president not only picked Delaware to reach the elite eight, but mentioned CAA Player of the Year Elena Delle Donne by name.
“It was amazing and obviously, I am still smiling about it,” Delle Donne said on Saturday. “Not many people have the president speak your name and it is an honor. We were just thrilled about it, that the president was talking about our team. It has been a motivator to go out there and do the best we can.”
Delle Donne is not the only one pleased to be on the mind of her commander in chief. Word spread of President Obama’s prediction through the team plane on the runway at Little Rock International Airport on Friday morning. Players were mighty excited to hear how far the prez had them headed.
Delaware guard Lauren Carra was amazed by the whole presidential segment.
“It was incredible yesterday to sit down and watch that,” Carra said with a huge smile draped across her face. “He even brought our name up and hopefully we are going to play and get some more attention.”
Delaware is six wins away from more than just hearing the president mention its name. Each year the national champion is invited to the White House to meet the commander in chief. The Blue Hens had the chance to meet Vice President Joe Biden when the Delaware graduate attended a game at the Carpenter Center earlier this season. So it is only natural for the team to dream of an up-close encounter with the other half of the executive branch.
But Tina Martin said it would be premature to let your mind wander in that direction. The UD head coach was honored to have her team on the president’s mind, but wanted her players focused on nothing other than their opening round encounter with UALR
“Obviously we are thrilled, but we have to take it one step at a time,” Martin said. “I think Mr. Obama was having Vice President Biden’s back with that one (Obama picking UD to upset Tennessee in the Sweet 16). It’s really nice that he mentioned us certainly, but we can’t worry about that. Those are tapes that they can show their grandchildren when they are 80-90 years old. Right now we’ve got to live in the moment though and get ready for Arkansas Little Rock.”
Blue Hen forward Danielle Parker is focused on the task at hand, but she was still able to realize not only is being on the president’s radar screen a sign of just how big the Hens have become, but that it is also something to be savored.
“It is amazing to be part of a team that the president is talking about,” Parker explained. “It is a blessing to be in this position and just have people around the world take notice.”