Paul Delaney III likes to keep his options open. He's quick enough to drive to the basket or take a dribble and force the defender to retreat a step or two, freeing him up for a jump shot.
If that doesn't work, the UAB guard can look for an open teammate.
``He has mostly one speed,'' Blazers teammate Lawrence Kinnard said. ``When he's going, he's going as fast as he can go, and most people can't stop it. They try to back up off him and he does one hard dribble and he just stops on a dime and pulls up.''
As a result, Delaney has become a rare figure in basketball: A guard who leads Conference USA in field goal percentage, ranking 17th nationally. In fact, no other Division I guard ranked among the top 34 through games of Feb. 8.
He is hitting 59.6 percent of his shots going into Saturday's game with SMU.
Delaney has also helped the Blazers (16-8, 6-3) win six of their last seven games since coach Mike Davis moved him to point guard.
e miss it?''' Davis said. ``It's unbelievable to have a guard leading the conference in field goal percentage. It's unheard of.''
Delaney had plenty of time to put on 5 pounds of muscle and fine-tune his jump shot while studying the play of other guards in college and the NBA. A first-team all-conference player as a sophomore, he received a medical redshirt after tearing a knee ligament in the fourth game last season.
Davis said he has returned stronger, faster and more explosive.
Delaney is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists while leading the team with 44 steals.
Both he and the Blazers have thrived since his move to point guard, where he played as a junior after Davis took over the program and shifted him from shooting guard. Delaney earned first-team all-conference honors after ranking among the league's Top 5 in both assists and scoring that season.
Delaney has averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 assists over the past seven games. He also had the school's first triple double in a win over Tulane, collecting 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Blazers' only loss during that stretch came on a basket by Tulsa at the buzzer.
``I think the change helped us,'' Davis said. ``It really helped us a lot. The chemistry is great. He's a big point guard who can get to the basket. When he's making the extra pass, it makes us a very, very good basketball team.''
ishes out the credit as well as he does the ball. The Blazers are CUSA's top shooting team and Robert Vaden leads the league in 3-pointers made.
``Basically all my assists come from my teammates,'' he said. ``If they weren't able to hit the shots that they hit, I wouldn't be able to get the assists that I get. I have to give them credit for opening up the opportunities that I've had.''
The presence of Vaden and Kinnard on the perimeter helps ensure that teams are seldom able to double-team him. Delaney also draws plenty of fouls; his 126 free throw attempts easily leads UAB.
All in all, he's enjoying his comeback season.
``It feels good to come back out and be able to improve on my last season playing instead of falling off,'' he said. ``I knew I wanted to come back better, come back stronger. I knew if I did that, I'd give my team a better chance of winning a game.''

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