Delaware State has seen its share of great basketball players over the years. Bob Vanderhost is certainly one of them. Vanderhost played some outstanding basketball for the Hornets, which is why he’s going to be inducted into the hall of fame during a ceremony on Friday night, Oct. 12 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Dover, Del. The event will begin at 7 p.m.
“I feel great,” Vanderhost said. “I look forward to being inducted into the Delaware State Athletics Hall of Fame. I played from 1968 to 1971. I played against some great players during my career. I played against Mike Gale from Elizabeth City State. I played against the Ford brothers (Jake and Hank) at Maryland Eastern Shore. I played against Norfolk State when they had Bob Dandridge, Rudy Peele and Pee Wee Kirkland.”
Vanderhost was a terrific shooting guard. He scored over 1,000 points in his college career. He played during a great era for Black college basketball. Gale, a former Overbrook High star, also played in the NBA. Dandridge had a long NBA career, winning league championships with the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Bullets respectively.
“I came in the second semester at Delaware State,” Vanderhost said. “Coach Benny George saw me. He asked me what I was doing. I told him I just got home from the service. I was in the Army. He asked if I wanted a scholarship. I said, sure and he gave me a scholarship.
“He was a good coach. In fact, we had some good coaches at that time like Clarence “Big House” Gaines from Winston-Salem State and Bobby Vaughn from Elizabeth City State.”
Vanderhost grew up playing basketball on the playgrounds in Philadelphia. He was an All-Public League standout at Simon Gratz. He played with Hilderbrand Pelzer at Delaware State. Pelzer had a fantastic career at Edison High School before heading down to Delaware State. Vanderhost and Pelzer had a good foundation for the game.
“We started playing at Moylan Recreation Center at 25th and Diamond Streets, which is now Hank Gathers Recreation Center,” Vanderhost said. “We played there. Everybody was down there. We played at one end of the court and at the other end was John Chaney, Wilt Chamberlain, Guy Rodgers and all the other guys who played there.
“They called us the high school hotshots. I remember Ted Blunt and Bobby Young from Northeast came down one day. We finally had a chance to play up the other end. They had some great players who came down there like Hal Lear, (Ray) Chink Scott and Joe Howell. There were some great players during that time.”
After Vanderhost finished his college career, he had a chance to be an assistant basketball coach at Delaware State for one season. The experience served him well. Vanderhost did a fantastic job of coaching in the Charles Baker League, a summer basketball league for many NBA and professional basketball players from overseas. He coached Maurice Arnold Insurance to three Baker League championships.
“I had Earl Cureton, Clemon Johnson and Andrew Toney who all played for the Philadelphia 76ers,” Vanderhost said. “They were really dedicated. Sometimes they would come out to a basketball camp and sign autographs. They would do that. Then, one time I was coaching the Baker League all-star team. We were playing against Charles Barkley and Maurice Cheeks. I think at halftime they had us by 20 points. I was walking around raising sand.
“You know what they did. They got together. It was Gene Banks, Earl Monroe, Lewis Lloyd, Billy Ray Bates and Chubby Cox. Gene and Billy Ray told me to just relax. We got it this half. I went over there and sat down. The next thing I knew they had put on a show with Lewis Lloyd and Earl Monroe. Both of them had over 50 points. Billy Ray Bates and Gene Banks just took control of the backboards.”
Vanderhost is retired and lives in Wilmington, Del. He spent most of his career working for the Wilmington Housing Authority. He was the assistant director of special projects.
Vanderhost is one of 11 former athletes who will be inducted.