What a crazy year it has been and we still have 10 games before the Big East Tourney. I think its fair to say that this has been one of the most confusing seasons that there has ever been in SHU basketball history. In this State of the Union Address I would like to take a look at the past, the present, and the near and far future.
Considering the summer brought rumors of the staff's early demise the year started out pretty good. Gaining commitments from the rapidly improving senior Malcolm Grant and talented Ohio juniors Orlando Allen and Quincy Owens. On the court the pirates put an old fashion drubbing on Manhattan. Then came a bad spurt of basketball as Duke and Richmond would beat up the Pirates on on the road while also playing lackluster against Mid-Major competition. There were a lot of unhappy pirate fans running around the Internet calling for heads to roll.
Seton Hall sat an unimpressive 8-3 taking on the St Johns' Red Storm. The Johnnies totally dominated the first ¾ of the game looking as if they were going to basically walk into the Pirates house and just take there TV from their living room with them sitting in their lazy boy. I was watching the game thinking this is the straw that will break the camel's back. But somehow led by Donald Copeland and company, the pirates stormed back from a double-digit deficit to win in overtime. Just when you thought that team was going to build on this miracle that just had happened, Seton Hall would go on a 3 game losing streak. The Pirates played tough in all three games but they just couldn't make the big plays to get the W. Once again the Pirates would find themselves on the brink of destruction. Down 11 points to South Florida at home with about three and a half minutes left, the pirates would show their heart again. Led by Jamar Nutter, Seton Hall mounted one more miraculous come back that would lead to an OT win.
Over the last few years Seton Hall has been known as a team that struggles on the road especially against ranked teams. If you had taken a poll, there was not one fan that thought Seton Hall had a chance at taking either game against Syracuse or NC State let alone both in hostile turf. Coach Orr had never beaten his Alma Mata in the Dome and only beaten them once period. But lead by a resilient coach and his staff, the pirates went and beat two top 25 teams on the road. Where does this leave us? 12-6 with two really nice road wins and an up-coming 3 game schedule that is favorable. We must win 2 out of these 3(If not all three). We must continue to see the improved play and the whole game effort.
The Near Future
With 6 to 7 more wins in the regular season the pirates will put themselves in a position to dance. If the pirates have 19 wins to go along with another upset (maybe WVU at home?) this should be enough to punch their ticket. I would also like to see the continued improvement from David Palmer and Paul Gause. These two have been major sparkplugs in Seton Hall's turn around. These two recruits were highly scrutinized but I think have proven they have the talent to play in this conference. Donald Copeland has also proved a lot of doubters wrong this year and he should be recognized as the Big East's most improved player. But we need to find out who the real Seton Hall Pirates team is. Is it the team that played the first ¾ of the St Johns and USF games or is the team that played the last two games? These final 10 games will decide the long-term future of the Seton Hall Pirate Program.
The Long Term Future
If the Pirates finish with 18 or more wins Coach Orr's contract must be extended at least 4 years. It would also be in his best interest if he brought in an Ace recruiter in the NY/NJ area. This is a must for the long-term stability of the program. The Staff also need to find a legit PG for next year's team. The Pirates currently do not have a solid PG with years of eligibility on the roster and with the decommittment of Malcolm Grant they find themselves in Dire Need. At this point I don't think it matters if they goto Alaska to find him, they need a quality point guard. The staff's hands are tied because of the contract status of the coach but there is plenty of PT to offer.
What happens if the Pirates don't win 18 games? I think it depends on how much improvement we see and if the good effort is still there. If warranted an extension needs to be given. If not, then the change must be made. Seton Hall Basketball cannot go through another summer like the last.
Shakes' Final Take- We need to win the games we should and take one that we didn't think we could. 18-19 wins going into Big East would be great. If this happens, I will be the first one to call for the Coach Extension.
Shakes' State of the Union Address
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