Zillah’s Claysen Delp Striving to Reach His Potential
2022 Zillah guard Claysen Delp is one of the top overall basketball talents in the Central Washington region.
It might seem like a hot take to proclaim a sophomore, who is in his first year starting, as one of the best players in the region, but there is very good reason to believe this.
On a Zillah team that is consensus top three in the state, Delp is the second highest scorer (15 points per game). He also hardly ever checks out, and his strong 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame makes him an excellent defender.
Perhaps the biggest reason he doesn’t quite have the mainstream spotlight yet is because he plays on a team that’s loaded with star talent.
With teammates like Mason Landdeck (D1 prospect), Weston Ide (three-year starter), and Sebastian Godina (three-year starter), Delp may actually be the fourth most well-known player on his own team.
Yet despite not always getting the spotlight, Delp couldn’t be happier with his role on the team this year.
“I’m really enjoying the increased responsibility I have this year compared to last,” he said. “Every game I’m expected to be around the second highest scorer on the team, and I’m loving the opportunity to step up.”
Last year as a freshman, Delp would come off the bench and give Zillah valuable minutes. He ended up being a crucial reason why Zillah would go on to win the gold trophy.
That season, Delp got the chance to play alongside varsity mainstays like Antonio Salinas, Brock Ellis and Cesar Diaz. He believed that observing those three seniors was crucial to his development as a player.
“The biggest thing I learned from those guys was how to be tough. Whether it’d be games or practice, you just have to be tough and grind every day,” Delp said.
The head coach of the Leopards, Mario Mengarelli, has described Delp’s development in the program as about as perfect as he could’ve hoped for.
But there’s a harsh reality coming around the corner that Delp is fully aware of.
Sometime in the next year, Delp is going to be expected to transition from a supportive role, to becoming a top leader. Not just on the basketball team, but for the football team, and Zillah community as a whole as well.
This might sound like big expectations to place on a 16-year-old, and it certainly will be a challenge. But If there’s anyone that can handle it, it’s Delp -- and he’s says he’ll be ready when that day arrives.
During Delp’s upcoming junior year, he’ll be in his third year as Zillah’s starting quarterback, and one of the few returning players from this year's basketball team.
One of the biggest reasons he’s so confident in taking on what’s next, is because of what he’s learned from the two greatest mentors in life: Callie Delp and Trey Delp.
They are Claysen’s older siblings, and they each had wildly successful prep careers at Zillah. Growing up, Claysen learned a lot of unique lessons them.
“Callie was the one that instilled confidence and belief in myself. She told me that if I work hard, I can go places,” Claysen said. “Trey was a bit quieter, but seeing him have success on varsity inspired me that I can do the same as well.”
Not only is Claysen striving to have a varsity career like his siblings, he’s trying to beat them. One of his biggest goals is to break several Zillah records that are currently held by Trey Delp.
Playing college sports is still several years out at this point, but there’s every reason to believe that Delp can fulfill another goal, which is to receive an athletic scholarship.
“I don’t care if it’s football or basketball, I just want to get school paid for, for my family,” Delp said.
Potential is the best way to describe Delp at this point in his prep career. He’s accomplished quite a bit already, but his ceiling is totally unknown.
As his career progresses, you should hear a lot more about him as far as football and basketball recruiting. He has the grades to support his mission, as he currently sports a dandy 3.7 GPA.
This is a player you’ll want to keep track of going forward, as he has a lot of exciting years left in him. If the stars align, Delp can reach the highest level in any avenue he chooses.