WELLSVILLE - Summer is an important time of the year for high school and college athletes.
The players and coaches take part in various camps and leagues throughout the summer months in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming seasons during the course of the school year.
Six local girls' basketball teams are competing in the Wellsville Girls Basketball Booster Summer League.
TALKING TO KIDS — Franciscan University of Steubenville women’s basketball coach Suzy Delaney talked to players Tuesday at the Wellsville summer basketball league.
-- Aaron Petchal
Wellsville, East Liverpool, Beaver Local, Oak Glen and Toronto are all taking part in the summer league for the second-straight year. Weir replaced Southern Local this year.
Prior to the start of play Tuesday, players from a few of the teams were addressed by Suzy Delaney, who is in her first month as head coach of the Franciscan University of Steubenville women's basketball team.
"I thought she did a good job," Wellsville head coach Ed Swogger said. "That is something we had talked about prior to her coming was what it takes to get into college and what they look for."
Swogger contacted Delaney and asked if she would be interesting in coming and talking to the players.
"It was through me," Swogger said. "I was trying to add something to the summer league. It's not just playing ball. I was trying to get a coach to come in and talk to the girls about really whatever they wanted to talk about, but when I talked to coach Delaney we kind of zeroed in on the recruiting and the academic aspect of what it takes so you can get to play college sports.
"That's how it came about. I contacted her, and she agreed to come up."
Delaney, who stayed to watch the night's action, talked to the girls about what it takes to get into college.
"Things are going well," Delaney said. I'm happy to be here. I'm thankful to coach Swogger for inviting me here. I just came to talk to the girls a little, and to watch some basketball."
East Liverpool girls head coach Allan Dingey finds himself in a similar position as Delaney. Dingey has been the Potters head coach for two weeks. Dingey has replaced Emily Reed, who resigned at the end of this past season.
"I thought it was very interesting," Dingey said. "I know she was limited on how much time she had to talk, but I think that was something the girls usually don't get to hear, so it was good for them."
Oak Glen head coach Scott Wiley and a couple of his players were in attendance to hear Delaney's talk.
"It was real good," Wiley said. "I think it is a good thing anytime the girls can hear about stuff like that. We preach to the girls about what they need to do if they are interested in playing in college."
Delaney graduated from Union Local. She played basketball for the Jets before playing a couple of seasons at Wheeling Jesuit. Delaney ended up transferring to FUS in the summer of 1996 and graduated from there in 1999.
"It has gone pretty well," Delaney said about her first month on the job. "We are building a program, and I'm getting used to the head coach role. I'm working in all of the new systems, but it is going well."
The Barons finished last season 3-21.
"We had a pretty young team last season," Delaney said. "We only graduated two seniors, and one of our girls was the newcomer of the year from our conference as a freshman. We have a solid group coming back."
The women's team only had one player on the roster last season from an OVAC school. Lacey Huck, who was a freshman forward, graduated from Fort Frye. Also locally, Bethany Potvin, a graduate of Jefferson County Christian, was a freshman guard last season.
Delaney said she hoping to get more local players to come to the school.
"I'm just here to watch obviously, but definitely I am," she said. "It would be good for the community, and also for our commuters we have a half tuition commuter grant scholarship, so that is a big draw for the local community.
"I hope to get out and get involved in the local communities and to see a lot more games."
The university is open to students of all backgrounds. The school has students from all 50 states as well as multiple foreign countries.
"We do have a dynamic culture at the university," Delaney said. "It's a great college. It is a great place where you and your parents can come - if your are coming for basketball - you can hang with the players and do that sort of thing.
"We have had encouraging results. We have had positive results.
"I think it is a case of wanting to bring the girls, or whoever, onto the campus and have them kind of experience for themselves if Franciscan is a good fit for them."
Delaney, who is a resident of Steubenville, hopes the fact that she is from the area will help players decided to come to the university.
"I hope so," Delaney said. "I hope it will maybe just give me a connection with them, and they will say, 'Ok, I'd like to go and check it out, or find out more about it.'"
Delaney made the trip to Wellsville not as a recruiting trip, but as a way to give the girls more information on playing in college as well as giving them just some basic information the girls can use if they decide they want to be play in college when they graduate from high school.
"This trip isn't a recruiting trip," Delaney said. "It is more about me talking the girls about some stuff. I don't want an NCAA violation. It's not about me coming here and trying to get girls to come to Franciscan University, but is more about me giving them a general kind of view of playing in college.
"If maybe that is something they are interested in, I talked about some ways to kind of help them move toward that.
"Hopefully, they will have a successful high school career, and they could move on if they would like to do that."