Big East Summer Capsules: Seton Hall PiratesPosted by mlemaire on August 13th, 2012
While most relish the onset of Summer, college basketball junkies do not. Most of the news surrounding the sport is recruiting rumors and commitments or injuries and transfer news. In order to help keep folks up-to-date on what their teams are doing during the summer, we put together these summer capsules for each team in the conference. Next up is Seton Hall.
1. Is it possible that assistant Shaheen Holloway hasn’t used up all of his eligibility yet?
We are joking, although I wouldn’t put it past an ambitious Pirates’ fan to at least do a little digging into the matter given the looming issue at point guard for the program. Say what you want about the importance of Herb Pope, but there should be no argument that senior point guard Jordan Theodore was the team’s most important player last season. He was one of the best point guards in the conference and now he is gone, leaving behind lots and lots of questions for Holloway and coach Kevin Willard to find the answers for. Texas-transfer Sterling Gibbs would have helped answer some of those questions, but his appeal to play right away was denied. Sean Grennan also might have helped with depth, but he transferred to Fairfield to find easier playing time, and now the program will have to rely on the duo of Freddie Wilson and incoming freshman Tom Maayan to run the offense. Wilson is the most experienced, if you count averaging eight minutes per game last season as a freshman as experience. Maayan is a good pass-first guard, but he is coming off ACL surgery and may need time to get acclimated. The Pirates’ coaching staff has been staying upbeat and saying all the right things about the position this summer, but it’s hardly a secret that that is an area of concern for the team that needs to be fixed right away, otherwise this young Pirates team is going to stop before they get started.
2. Transfers are going to be the key to the Pirates’ success
When you lose your team’s top two players to graduation you need to do something to plug that gaping hole, and luckily for Willard and his staff, they didn’t have to look too far considering that two candidates were already on the roster and another wasn’t far away. Transfers Brian Oliver and Gene Teague sat out last season due to NCAA rules and Kyle Smyth earned the graduate exemption to play right away, so all three are ready to go this season and you better believe Willard will deploy them immediately. Oliver is a New Jersey native who came to the Pirates by way of Georgia Tech and he is quite the chucker (attempting at least 4.5 three-pointers per game in both seasons for the Yellow Jackets), but if he can shoot consistently he should be a dangerous offensive weapon for the Pirates. Another New Jersey native, Teague is a wide-bodied Southern Illinois transfer who should slide right into the spot left vacant by Pope. He is a decent offensive post threat and is a capable rebounder. If he can be more careful with the basketball he should prove to be a reliable big man in the conference. Smyth left Iona as the school’s most lethal shooter and despite the logjam at shooting guard, the senior should find playing time because of his long-range prowess. All three of these players will play meaningful minutes because Willard doesn’t really have a choice, and if they can contribute during those minutes, the Pirates will at least be a pesky opponent.
3. There is no doubt about it, this is Fuquan Edwin’s team
Despite the excellent seasons from Theodore and Pope, one could make the argument that Edwin was the team’s best all-around player last season. The athletic sophomore was third on the team in scoring (12.7 PPG), second in rebounding (6.5 RPG), and first in thefts (3.0 SPG) while shooting almost 50 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the three-point arc. Now Pope and Theodore are gone, leaving Edwin as the team’s elder statesmen (assuming you don’t count the transfer Smyth) and best player. Whether he likes it or not, the soft-spoken and mild-mannered junior will be looked to for leadership this season, both on and off the court. On the court, he is clearly well-equipped to handle the spotlight given his defensive prowess, slashing ability, and shooting that will force defenses to stay up on him. In fact, he could be one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and will be a pain in the behind for anyone who draws him as a defender. The question will be whether he can handle the leadership responsibilities off the court and in the locker room. By all counts Edwin is not a “rah-rah” type of personality and that is fine, but someone will have to get this young team motivated, and Edwin seems like the obvious de facto choice.