There are two reasons Andrew Delaney feels as if he’s surrounded by family at St. Augustine Prep.
One, because he is. Delaney is a 6-foot-7 senior swingman for the Hermits. His brother, Matt, is a 6-6 sophomore forward.
The brothers should be key players this season for the Hermits, who project as one of the top teams in South Jersey as well as Non-Public A state-championship contenders. St. Augustine will open the season Saturday against Toms River North at the PBA Tipoff showcase in Ocean City.
“It’s awesome,” Andrew Delaney said of playing with his brother. “We’ve played together in pickup in the summer and stuff, but this is the first we’ve played organized basketball together. It’s been a great experience.”
But there’s another reason Andrew Delaney feels at home after a nomadic high school career: He’s a smart, tough, mature kid who seems to have fit seamlessly into the school as well as veteran coach Paul Rodio’s powerful basketball program.
“He is 100 percent a St. Augustine kid,” Rodio said of Andrew Delaney. “From the coaching staff to the teachers to the administration, he is loved. Everybody is rooting for him.”
St. Augustine is Andrew Delaney’s third high school. He spent two years at Clearview, starting as a freshman and sophomore for the Pioneers. He spent last year at Blair Academy, a private boarding school in Warren County.
For the personable redhead, spending his last high school year at St. Augustine in Richland, in Atlantic County, feels a little like finally finding a home.
Especially with his kid brother by his side.
“At first you think it’s going to be chaotic, two brothers on the same court,” Andrew Delaney said. “You think there might be a lot of yelling. But we click. We’ve been playing together, working together, enjoying it.
“We know each other’s every move.”
The brothers’ rapport on the court was clear during a recent scrimmage against Holy Cross. Andrew is more of a perimeter player, a rangy slasher who can shoot from distance. Matt is a more of a force in the paint, a tenacious rebounder and inside scorer.
But they are both versatile, as Andrew showed with several strong drives to the glass and Matt displayed by burying a three-point jumper.
“It’s like having another me out on the court,” Matt Delaney said. “It’s like I know everything he’s going to do.”
Matt Delaney saw major minutes as a freshman last season for the Hermits. But he’s taken his game to another level this season thanks in part to the presence of his brother, according to Rodio.
“I think his brother’s play has been elevated because of his ability to see Andrew’s work ethic,” Rodio said. “He is the hardest-working kid in our program, so Matt follows his brother.”
The Delaneys are the younger brothers of Villanova junior forward Tim Delaney, who has won a pair of national championships with the Wildcats.
Andrew Delaney said he never expected to move around so much in his high school career.
“If you had told me in eighth grade before I started high school that I’d be going to all these different places, I’d be like, ‘Oh, no. That’s crazy,’ ” said Andrew Delaney, who like his brothers attended St. Margaret’s grammar school in Woodbury Heights. “But it’s taught me to adapt and be grateful for what I have.
“Whatever is ahead of me, I feel like I can get comfortable with.”
Andrew Delaney has committed to Adelphi, an NCAA Division II program on Long Island.
His departure for college next summer will mark a continuation of his well-traveled career. But for now, Andrew Delaney is planning to make the most of his one and only season at St. Augustine, where playing with his brother isn’t the only reason he feels so comfortable.
“Coming here, I didn’t know everything I was getting into,” Andrew Delaney said. “It’s hard to change again.
“But a place like this is great. They’re so welcoming. I walked in, and I felt at home.
“You really don’t know what the tradition is like until you’re here. The first day of practice, I didn’t know what I was getting into. But you start to see the way they play, the way they prepare themselves. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”