What’s next for Seton Hall as they lose their “Core Four”?
It has been about a week since Seton Hall’s season ended at the hands of Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. While the season could be deemed a success, the Pirates still felt as if their journey could have gone longer into March instead of just the first weekend.
“It stinks, basically, to leave like this,” said Angel Delgado, who dominated the Jayhawks with 24 points and 23 rebounds in his final collegiate game. “We had so much expectation. We wanted to win every game, be the best team in the tournament.”
“To leave like this” is in regards to the departure of the four seniors on Seton Hall’s roster. Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo have exhausted their eligibility and will graduate in the spring. With these departures, the question is what happens with this team next season with so much senior leadership departing?
The Pirates are already being called Myles Powell’s team next season. The only underclassman in the starting lineup this season, Powell had a breakout season. He finished averaging 15 points and shooting 43 percent from the field. Coach Kevin Willard will lean on Powell for leadership as playing with the departed players made him a better player according to Carrington.
“Myles Powell is going to do a great job leading them next year. He’s been with us and he’s learned a lot from us.”
Another player that will be looked upon to lead will be Syracuse transfer Taurean Thompson. Thompson had to sit out last season but the 6’10” forward is that inside presence that could quickly replace Delgado and Sanogo. In addition to Thompson, Michael Nzei could be an X-Factor defensively. With Nzei graduating in May, there are reports that he could transfer and play his final year of eligibility elsewhere.
The most significant question mark for Seton Hall will be at the point guard position. While Carrington played the “point” guard position during his time in South Orange, he is not a quintessential point guard. Heading into next season, Seton Hall will have four candidates to be the quarterback on the floor. Eron Gordon and Jordan Walker are set to return to the team. Walker’s status may be in question however after reportedly leaving the team earlier in the season but returning. Incoming transfer Quincy McKnight and freshman Anthony Nelson are also in the mix for the starting job.
The smart money is on Gordon to get the first look, but McKnight could add some intrigue. McKnight is similar to Carrington as he is a combo guard, something that Williard likes to have in the lineup.
It will be interesting to see how this season’s freshmen move into more expanded roles with the team next season. Myles Cale played in every single game and showed flashes of potential. The same can be said about Sandro Mamukelashvili, although there were moments where “Mamu” looked lost on the floor. There will be many new faces on this team and players like Cale, Mamukelashvili and even Walker, if he remains with the team, will need to step up their play.
Many thought that this three-year run with the four seniors would never end. Once the Pirates were eliminated, panic set in for some Seton Hall fans asking “What’s next?” Kevin Willard definitely will have his work cut out for him next season. But with Myles Powell, Myles Cale and Taurean Thompson as a foundation, Seton Hall should still be considered one of the best teams in the Big East once again.