With the college basketball season starting Friday, I’ve predicted the following Big East standings so far:
8: St. John's
With the team I predict to finish 4th, I go to last year’s Big East Tournament Champions, the Seton Hall Pirates.
2015 – 2016 season
Seton Hall had a fantastic year last year. However, it did not start out all that great as an early loss to Long Beach State had many people thinking that this is the same old Seton Hall. But then something happened and they started winning. While they played a relatively weak out of conference schedule, they beat a very good Wichita State team, and while they had trouble beating Villanova and Butler in the regular season, they went 12-2 against the rest of the Big East, including a 9 point home win versus Xavier and a win @ Providence. Then, more of the same during the Big East tournament as they beat 3 teams who had beaten them at least once during the regular season, cultivated by a thrilling Big East Tournament final where they let a 14 point lead almost slip away, only to go down by 3, yet win the game on Isaiah Whitehead’s heroics.
Who left from last year?
Seton Hall has two major pieces from last year’s team who left. The list truly starts with Isaiah Whitehead, who was a do everything sophomore guard for the Pirates. He led the team in scoring, assists, blocks and was 3rd in steals, 4th in rebounds, and shot 37% from 3. While he wasn’t always the most efficient player as evidenced by his 102.2 ORtg with the 31st highest usage rate in the nation, he also had a top 50 assist rate and drew a ton of fouls. To say that he’ll be missed is an understatement. The other major piece was Derrick Gordon, a 5th year transfer from UMass and New Jersey native. While he didn’t put up the biggest numbers (8 points, 3 rebounds a game) he was the emotional leader of the team and everyone fed off of his energy. He had a similar impact as Dwayne Anderson did for Villanova teams of year’s past. Derrick was instant energy and a winner. Also gone from last year’s team was little used Braeden Anderson, a little used big man who had another year of eligibility, but is attending law school at Seton Hall.
Who is new?
Seton Hall has a few new players, including a 5th year transfer, a transfer eligible at mid-season due to suspension, and two freshman. Seton Hall’s 5th year transfer is Madison Jones, a PG from Wake Forest, who, according to various newspaper articles, was kicked off the Demon Deacons. He is definitely a PG, but isn’t much of a scorer as he didn’t attempt a 3 pointer and shot 59% from the FT line. The transfer eligible at mid-season is Jevon Thomas, from Kansas St. Thomas will likely take over the ball handling duties once he becomes eligible during the season for choking a grad assistant. For the Pirates, hopefully he can overcome those issues and handle the ball because they are light on ball handlers. The other 2 freshman are both shooting guards, sharp shooter Myles Powell, who can really shoot the ball, and Eron Gordon, who can also score the ball.
There wasn’t a lot of turnover on the Pirates last year as 9 players return from last year, including 4 starters. Those players include guard Khadeen Carrington (14/3/3), guard/forward Desi Rodriguez (12/5) big man Angel Delgado (10/9) and defensive big man Ismael Sanogo (5/7). Those 4 will likely start again this season. Other returning players include forward Michael Nzei, Veer Singh, Myles Carter, Rashed Anthony and guard Dalton Soffer. Nzei is a high energy player, Singh is a stretch 4 who should earn big minutes this year, and Carter/Anthony and Soffer were little used players who may be able to earn some minutes this year.
Big OOC games
The Pirates, unlike most years, are actually challenging themselves in the OOC schedule and playing only 5 OOC games at home, and one at MSG. They play @ Iowa for the Gavitt Games, against Florida in the Advocare Invitational along with Gonzaga, Stanford, Miami, & Iowa St, @ Hawaii and against Cal in Hawaii for the Pearl Harbor Invitational, the Under Armour Reunion in MSG against South Carolina, and of course, the battle for New Jersey against Rutgers. They also play Delaware, Columbia, Central Connecticut and Fairleigh Dickinson.
PG – Khadeen Carrington (JR – 6 ft 4)
SG – Myles Powell (FR – 6 ft 2)
SF – Desi Rodriguez (JR – 6 ft 6)
PF – Ismael Sanogo (JR - 6 ft 8)
C – Angel Delgado (JR - 6 ft 10)
Remaining rotation (in anticipated order)
PG – Jevon Thomas (JR – 6 ft 1) – when eligible
SF– Veer Singh (SO – 6 ft 8)
PG– Madison Jones (SR – 6 ft 2)
PF – Michael Nzei (SO - 6 ft 8)
SG – Eron Gordon (FR – 6 ft 3)
C – Rashed Anthony (JR – 6 ft 9)
SG – Dalton Soffer (SO – 6 ft 6)
PF – Myles Carter (SO – 6 ft 9)
Seton Hall has some very good players and they were far from a one man show. Desi Rodriguez can continue to break out and they have some shooters around the guys who like to take the ball to the basket. The issue with this team is going to be taking care of the ball, with limited ball handling on the team. Will a press just disrupt the Pirates? Also, I think Seton Hall plays a little smaller this year and we’ll see Singh and Rodriguez play some 4 and they could even be in there together as the forwards, as the defense will definitely need to spread the floor. In the end, I think there is too much talent to let their lack of ball handling deter them too much, but they will struggle against the talented defensive teams.
OOC – 9-3
Big East – 11-7
Combined – 20-10