Lets take a look at the forwards for this coming season.
I will start with the most important player for this year's Seton Hall team, returning leading scorer and rebounder Kelly Whitney. Whitney played in 27 games, starting 25, and led the Pirates in scoring with 11.9 ppg and rebounding 6.3 rpg. The Sr. 6-8 240 power forward out of Chicago, Ill will need to return to his Soph version if the Pirates are to make an appearance in any tournaments this year. Whitney had disappointing year that saw a suspension as well as his scoring and rebounding numbers drop from his superb sophomore season. Met increased resistance defensively last year as teams focused on him on the block and constantly double-teamed him. Kelly gives big men a tough time because he can use quickness or strength to get to the rim and score. Kelly can be one of the Conf's most efficient and dangerous low-post scorers.
Next up is the 6-7 242 Lb Jr. transfer from Minnesota Stan Gaines. Stan is hardworking forward from Chicago. He reminds me a lot of Andre Sweet because he is a jack-of-all-trades type of player. Gaines will provide inside help with rebounding and defense. He brings that rugged Big 10 style of play to this team. He has terrific strength and athletic ability. To me he looks like a defensive end on a football team. In 2003-04, played in 30 games, making 17 starts for the Golden Gophers while averaging 26.4 minutes per game. Averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds. Look for Gaines to be around 9 and 6 this year for the pirates.
Mani Messy the 6-7, 220 junior forward from St Benedict's Prep in NJ has a chance to really increase his playing time this year if he has made the must needed improvements defensively. He is a good deep shooter with tremendous athletic ability who up until this year not seen much playing time. Mani scored a combined 18 point in 8 games last year. With the graduation of John Allen and the departure of JR Morris Messy will need to step up to bring firepower to the SHU roster.
The lone freshman in this group is 6-9 240 Lb David Palmer from Oak Hill Academy Va. Palmer will be a much needed athletic big man who will compete for playing time. At one time David was considered one of the nation's top frontcourt recruits who committed early to Illinois. He is two years removed from a major ankle injury that derailed his junior season. Look for Palmer to bring energy off the bench as well as blocked shots and dunks. While at Oak Hill Academy he averaged 5.8 points and 5.8 rebounds as a part-time starter for the nation's No. 1 team according to USA Today.
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