Seton Hall Preview: Led By Isaiah Whitehead, The Pirates Looks To Move Up In Competitive Big East
The 2014-2015 season for the Seton Hall Pirates began with light expectations but then the team exceeded those expectations beginning the season with a 12-2 record, a national rank and an upset of then number sixth ranked Villanova. However after that win, the Pirates began to almost disintegrate before our eyes as they finished the season 4-13 and a final 16-15 mark. In-fighting and reported factions within the locker room began to overtake the team resulting in starting guard Jaren Sina leaving the program during the season and the transfer of leading scorer Sterling Gibbs to UConn.
After an off-season of upheaval and changes, head coach Kevin Willard brings this Seton Hall Pirate team into the season with a nucleus of underclassmen who played major minutes in the tough Big East conference and who may be ready to move up the conference ladder. With that said, don’t expect them to compete for a Big East crown because you still have a young team with players who now have to assume a leadership role. And this season, you will not see Terry Dehere or Arturas Karnisovas on the floor to add more scoring to the team.
The major cog to this Seton Hall wheel is sophomore guard Isiah Whitehead, who after a shaky start finished the season averaging 12 points per game to go along with three assists and three rebounds. The Brooklyn native was named Preseason All-Big East Second Team last month with many believing that this is the season where we see the guard from Lincoln High School that took over games during his high school career. During last weekend’s exhibition against Baruch, Whitehead scored 40 points and showed why he was considered a dangerous scorer coming into Seton Hall last year. If his shot selection is smart and he does not force as many shots as he did last year, he could become a leading scorer in the Big East.
A big surprise last season was emergence of Angel Delgado. The 2014-2015 Big East Rookie of the Year led the conference in rebounding grabbing 10 per game and achieved 10 double-doubles during the season. This was all done during his freshmen year so you could only hope that his sophomore season will be better than his debut year. A full year in college basketball and in one of the top conferences in the country made Delgado stronger so you will see his rebounding numbers go up and instead of being 22nd in the country in that category, you may see Angel in the mix around the top 10.
Along with Whitehead and Delgado, a major unsung hero for Seton Hall was another freshman. Khadeen Carrington, who many say could be better than Whitehead if given his spot, came off the bench to give the Pirates energy and scoring as he dropped nine points per game as the sixth man. While it seemed that Carrington really is more of a combo guard, he may have to play more point guard if the Pirates go with a three guard starting lineup with Whitehead and transfer guard Derrick Gordon. Carrington will be a starter so now is his time to prove that he was just not a good bench player but a capable starting guard for Seton Hall.
With Gibbs no longer with the team, Seton Hall loses his 16 points per game but they made moves to get those points back with the transfer of Gordon from UMass. The Plainfield, NJ native comes to The Hall after averaging almost 10 points and four rebounds a game for the Minutemen last season. In addition to Gordon, Seton Hall also picked up Braeden Anderson, a 6’9” forward who attended Fresno State for his undergraduate studies. He will be attending Seton Hall Law and like Gordon, he will be eligible this season to play as he begins graduate studies. Jevon Thomas was the third transfer that the Pirates picked up but he will have to sit out this season after coming from Kansas State.
“We are excited to welcome Braeden, Derrick and Jevon to the Seton Hall Basketball family,” Willard said. “We have identified three talented individuals who each bring different skill sets and a wealth of experience to our team, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they have chosen to continue their educations and basketball careers at Seton Hall.”
The 2015-2016 season for the Seton Hall Pirates will depend on whether the batch of underclassmen on the team will be able to step up and take the reins of this team. If Whitehead can become a dangerous scorer and Delgado continues to rule the boards, the Pirates can turn heads in the Big East. If bad shots are continuous taken and the turnovers continue at the rate it did during the homestretch of last season, it could spell disaster for the Pirates once again.
The first 12 games of the season are non-conference match-ups and of those games, Seton Hall could possibly win nine to ten of those games with hiccups occurring when they participate in the Charleston Classic and when Georgia visits The Rock in late November. If they get out to a quick start like last season, I don’t foresee them repeating the sins of the past and they may compete for a middle of the road Big East finish and a shot for the NIT. It’s not the NCAA Tournament but it’s a start.
Big East Coaches Poll: Seton Hall Picked To Finish Seventh In Conference
My Prediction: Seton Hall Finishes Fifth In Big East and Makes NIT Tournament