Just when things were starting to look up for the Retrievers, a bombshell was dropped from Catonsville, as UMBC announced that senior play-maker Chris De La Rosa had left the team, citing “Personal and family issues.”
De La Rosa, a dynamic point guard who last season ranked first in the conference in assists (6.0 apg) and third in scoring (15.5 ppg), was a preseason First Team All-Conference selection in both the America East Coaches Poll as well as One-Bid Wonders’ preseason predictions.
De La Rosa had only played in one game this season following off-season surgery, but had made an immediate impact, scoring 17 points to go with 10 assists. Losing the dynamic point guard – one of the most talented players in the league – is a huge blow to the Retrievers, who had shown surprising promise, playing with energy, fight, and young talent, that the program had been lacking both of the previous seasons.
The long climb out of the America East cellar will be that much steeper for a UMBC squad that had won a combined nine games during the previous two seasons.
The silver lining for UMBC is that De La Rosa’s departure means more playing time for the young Retrievers, and could even help the team in the long run, as this would be the last season for the senior either way.
More on this story as it develops.