Last season, Seton Hall was plagued by injuries and dismissals. The absence of leading scorer Jeremy Hazell for half the season really hurt this team's chances of making the NCAA Tournament, which was realistically an attainable goal in the pre-season. Instead, the Pirates floundered to a 7-11 Big East record, 13-18 overall. Now Coach Kevin Willard will have to begin the rebuilding process with most of last year's team gone.
So how will the rebuilding process go in Coach Willard's second year?
Graduating: Eniel Polynice (3.8pts, 2.8rbds, 2.0asts), Jeremy Hazell (19.8pts, 3.5rbds, 2.4stls), Jeff Robinson (12.1pts, 6.4rbds), Keon Lawrence (4.5pts, 3.1rbds, 2.9asts) (Dismissed from the team late in the season), Jamel Jackson (4.6pts, 1.2rbds) (Dismissed from the team late in the season)
Early Entry: None
Aaron Cosby 6'2" SG NR
Kevin Johnson 6'9" C NR
Brandon Mobley 6'9" PF NR
Freddie Wilson 6'2" PG NR
Sean Grennan 6'1" PG NR
Haralds Karlis 6'5" SG NR
Seton Hall loses quite a lot of production from last year's team. Coach Willard dismissed troubled PG Keon Lawrance and SG Jamal Jackson near the end of the season. However, both players would have used up their eligibility anyway. Seton Hall also loses high volume scorer Jeremy Hazell, bruising power forward Jeff Robinson and defensive specialist Eniel Polynice to graduation. Then sophomore Ferrakohn Hall transferred after ten games into the season, and freshman Anali Okoloji transferred at the end of the season. The Pirates will desperately miss Hazell's scoring and Robinson's presence.
Seton Hall loses:
- 54.9 percent of their scoring
- 49.1 percent of their rebounding
- 47.2 percent of their assists
- 49.8 percent of their steals
- 41.8 percent of their blocks
Willard will have a few key pieces to structure this year's team around. Herb Pope is one of the best rebounders in the Big East. He also returns heady point guard Jordan Theodore. Rising Sophomore Fuquan Edwin should join those two in the starting lineup. The other two spots are seemingly up for grabs but one would assume one of the two returning big men, Auda or Germanipoor, would get the nod to start next to Pope, at least initially.
While Seton Hall will probably end up relying on its veterans for most of its production, they will also depend heavily on their freshman next year to begin to build towards the future.
- Aaron Cosby: will probably have the most impact as he will be the only shooting guard on the roster and one would assume he'll be thrust right into the starting line up. His scouting report reads a lot like Hazell's a high volume shooter with a knack for making tough shots. However, he lacks Hazell's height and length and isn't quite as good of a shooter.
- Kevin Johnson: A physical specimen of a big man with good hands: Johnson has a lot of potential. However, he doesn't really have an offensive game to speak of currently. He's a good rebounder and a solid shot blocker. But that's it right now.
- Brandon Mobley: A wiry four man, he easily gets pushed off the blocks. He's better in the face up where he can knock down a fifteen foot jump shot, but his range doesn't extend any further than that. He's an energetic rebounder with good quickness and court sense.
- Freddie Wilson: A creative point guard who is strong at attacking the basket and can create for others off the dribble. He needs to work on the consistency of his three point shot, improve his defense, and control his tendency to be overly flashy.
- Sean Grennan: Originally committed to Davidson early in his high school career. A shoot first point guard with limitless range. On the small side so does not take it strong to the rim on drives. Also needs to improve defensively.
- Haralds Karlis: Hails from Latvia so there isn't much of a scouting report on him. Willard plucked him from the Canarias Basketball Academy where he got Auda and Germanipoor from.
Things don't look great for Seton Hall. While they have three very solid pieces to build around, it's hard to see how Seton Hall will get enough scoring. Willard managed to turn the Pirates into a very good defensive team last year. However, unless this unheralded class of ragtag players can put points on the board Seton Hall looks to be headed for the cellar. Hopefully for Seton Hall's sake the freshman will get a lot of playing time and they can build towards the future. As good of a coach as Willard is he'll need to make some waves on the recruiting trail if he hopes to get Seton Hall out of the basement. Seton Hall should finish in the bottom 4 of the Big East this year.