Seton Hall’s men’s basketball team had an up and down thanksgiving week and find themselves up against more stiff competition during the out of conference portion of their schedule.
The Pirates lost their top gun (Isaiah Whitehead) from last year to the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA in the2016 NBA Draft. Prior to leaving Seton Hall Whitehead averaged 21.9 points per forty minutes on the way to leading the pirates to a Big East Tournament Championship (first in 23 years) and the programs first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years. With the Pirates success last year came a tough non-conference schedule in 2016-17 season and the departure of Whitehead. How would the pirates combat both these tough tasks, look no further than the other four members of that excellent 2013 incoming freshmen class.
Whitehead took and made the game winning shot that made Seton Hall the last team to defeat Villanova prior to their NCAA Tournament championship. In that Big East Title game Ismael Sanogo, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado were also on the court to close out that championship victory.
“The team had built up some serious momentum to that point and Khadeen Carrington has come into his own as a player as well,” said Jay Bilas an ESPN college basketball analyst in an ESPN season preview show.
The Pirates began the season with three straight victories heading into the Advocare Invitational in Kissimmee, FL. While in Florida the Pirate were victorious but just once in three games. One of those losses was at the hands of Florida in a close game on thanksgiving night. In the game Carrington was big time scoring 28 points but didn’t receive much help from his teammates.
That game is one the Pirates can use as a great example of what they need from the other three players from that 2013 class if they want to be as if not more successful than last season.
“We know we are going to get a gritty defender in Ish every night, we need Desi to be that extra wing player like what Deeno turned into next to Isaiah last season,” said Coach Kevin Willard in an interview with PSN earlier this year.
The Pirates sit at 4-2 ahead of a showdown with Colombia at Prudential Center on Dec 1. After that the team heads to Hawaii where they will face Hawaii and Cal on back-to-back nights in the FOX Sports Pearl Harbor Invitational, which celebrates the anniversary of Pearl Harbor every year.
The Cal matchup is an interesting one as it pits the the pirates against one of the nations best players in sophomore Ivan Rabb who surprisingly forwent the NBA Draft in favor of his sophomore season. The Pirates will get a much-needed boost in the form of Ishmael Sanogo, as he returns from injury.
It is clear that Carrington has become the go to scorer from for Seton Hall but if they can combine his scoring with Sanogo’s defense, Delgado’s post scoring, protection and rebounding consistently the pirates will find themselves competing in the Big East Conference.
The x factor is Rodriguez, he is an athletic forward whose improved his shot but if he can take that next step similar to what Carrington did towards the end of last season it may give the pirates that second go-to-option and propel them to a top team in the nation.
“Myles Powell is the best pure shooter the pirates have had in a long time,” said Bilas when ESPN broke down the logistics of each power five conference.
Powell can catch and shoot and ever create his own shot. If the pirates can find a way to get him through the freshman ups-and-downs in the early part of the season the pirates can be more than formidable.
The season is a long one but there are clear pluses that the team can build upon as they try and get through their first season without Whitehead the schools first draft selection since Eddie Griffin in 2001 (1st Roun