I have no idea where kids and families find the strength some times. I have no idea how it’s not easier to just give up and move on. Haley Dalonzo of Middletown South gave ST. PETERS UNIVERSITY A VERBAL COMMITMENT LAST NIGHT. To arrive at this marriage last night, there had to be some bumpy times. There had to be some difficult decisions to be made. Haley Dalonzo, has had more decisions to make than almost any kid I know in recent years.



 I met Haley Dalonzo when she was in 4th grade. I nick named her The Future, because her future was so bright. She was a special athlete even at that age. She was quick, strong, and so competitive. She also said not a single word, no matter how much I teased her. It was always a chore to get her to speak, because she was all about letting her game speak for her. She also was a soccer player and not just a run of the mill, soccer player. She was a stud who played on an elite team. But she found time to do both and when she got to high school that’s exactly what she did. But like all players who excel at the highest level. She needed to make a decision 2 years ago. Play high level AAU basketball or continue with high level soccer, while keeping one foot in basketball.


I will never forget walking out of Rutgers Prep two years ago with Mr. Dalonzo, we discussed his daughter. He told me for the first time his daughter would train full time in basketball. She would be in the gym all fall. He told me she would go play with the AAU guru Beth Chambers. Haley, he said wanted to play Division 1 basketball. She was now all in with both feet. She also would begin her Freshman year at Middletown High School.  It would be a special year as she and Stephanie Karcz would lead Middletown South to it’s first state title in 20 years. She also made the All Shore Freshman team which meant she was a lock to be a Division 1 player. It was a year that the entire school would never forget, local kids staying home and winning the title for the town and playing in the TOC. Haley was on the cuff of stardom and it was clear her future was bright. She was playing for one of the best high school coaches in the state, in Tom Brennan. Her high school team was sure to be a contender for another State title, a SCT, another TOC  and she was considered one of the best players in the Shore. The future looked very bright for Haley Dalonzo.


Last summer, the buzz surrounding Haley Dalonzo was big. The college coaches fell in love with the explosive guard with the college ready body. She finished a summer playing for Beth Chambers and the Central Jersey Hawks. It was a team stacked from top to bottom. She raised her game to a different level and joined the elite. She was mentioned in the same breath as all the Top Guards in the shore and she was just entering her junior year. In the fall Haley Dalonzo took it up to a new level. She lived in the gym, she missed nothing and more importantly took no short cuts. If there was a work out she was there. The transformation from great soccer player to full time committed basketball player was amazing because of all she gave up. This was a young lady who soccer was a major part of her life. Soccer was where her friends and her competitive edge came from. It was this sport that taught her about being competitive and being a teammate at the highest level of competition. Now she had officially walked away from it all, Haley Dalozno wanted everyone to know she was a BASKETBALL PLAYER.



It was last year when the D1 offers for Haley Dalanzo started to come in. It was last year her stock had begun to rise. It was last year that schools were calling and writing letters. It appeared that Haley Dolanzo, had a made a decision that no matter how hard it was, that it paid off. Haley Dalonzo was going to be able to write her own story. It seemed all was going right for Middletown South last year to start the season. Stephanie Karcz was off to a Player Of the Year type start and Haley Dalonzo was having a year that was just as good. Many believe they were the best one/two combination in the state. Two powerhouse guards, built like mack trucks running over the competition. This was going to be the year Middletown South could match the elite team’s of the shore talent wise at least from a starting 5 stand point. It was the year when all was right and everyone was ready for nothing short of greatness. The stars were lined up perfectly and Dalonzo was playing like a first team All Shore Player. But then it all went it bad…real bad. Tom Brennan was forced to step down for health reasons (he is back this year) and then HALEY DALONZO TORE HER ACL.


When I received the news that Haley Dalonzo tore her ACL, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this could be happening to a kid, who had made so many sacrifices. I was heartbroken, because here was a kid with D1 offers on the table. I was worried, that news would travel and travel fast right to the ears of college coaches. I was worried that as junior, she would not just lose her junior year, but because she tore her ACL in December, her senior year as well. It also meant what to do about college, their would be no AAU before her senior year. It was decision time for Haley Dalonzo, She should play it safe or just jump on the offer. “A bird in the hand vs. a bird in the bush”. She didn’t have a choice, she learned the hard core facts of college athletics….it’s a business. The  schools that offered her, stopped calling, wouldn’t answer her calls. All Haley Dalonzo heard was crickets!. It had to be a painful and scary time for someone that made such a hard decision a year earlier. She must have doubted herself and her decision. This summer I told Haley Dalonzo, to attend academic elite just to walk around, I wanted college coaches to remember that she was still out there. I was worried they would forget about the “Future” and miss the boat on one of the best players in the state.


There were D2/D3 schools trying to get Dalonzo to commit early. She had schools who knew how to recruit that were putting the pressure on her to make a decision…good recruiters trying to steal a player do this. But Haley Dalanzo and RBR coach James Young were working and getting ready. Haley knew if she could just get back for the season, the D1 schools would come back and realize she is THE FUTURE AND MAYBE THE FUTURE OF THEIR PROGRAM.  Haley Dalonzo was taking a risk putting so much energy into rehab and passing on D2 offers. But like every hard decision she has made along the way, it has paid off. She waited and took a major risk, she found out that all the love she received from schools early was not the kind of love she expected in the end. But she never went into panic mode, she never gave in to bad times, she fought for her athletic life. HALEY DALONZO showed what a real confident decision maker looks like after being pushed to the brink of disappointment……Because  “THE FUTURE…AKA HALEY DALONZO IS  OFF TO ST. PETERS UNIVERSITY…..



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