Maturing Pirates Impressing Early in New Season

By Patrick Barron,
Sports Business Writer

The Seton Hall Men’s Basketball team is off to a strong start, starting the season undefeated at 3-0. In their wins against Fairleigh Dickinson, Central Connecticut and Iowa, the team has shown a potent offense predicated on balanced scoring from multiple upperclassman players.

Going into the season, the 2016-2017 Men’s Basketball team has had several pressing questions that hovered the team.  Can they defend their title, and repeat as the Big East Tournament Champions? What type of impact will losing star Isaiah Whitehead have on the team?

The team first game provided a bit of insight into how the team would run this season. Against FDU at the Walsh Gym, two banners were shown to mark team’s accomplishments from last year’s successful campaign. One for winning the Big East Tournament, and the other for being in the NCAA tournament. Both accomplishments had not been done in a while, making the occasion special for diehard Pirate fans. In the 91-70 win, two of the team starters, guard Khadeen Carrington, andforward Angel Delgado contributed 22 points apiece.

On Sunday, the team won again in a relatively easyvictory against Central Connecticut with the final score tallying 82-58. Once again,  Khadeen Carrington and Delgado contributed 18 and 14 points, respectively. In particular, this night marked the raising of the 2016 Big East Tournament banner at the Prudential Center, the Pirates’ home court. Head Coach Kevin Willard said of the raising of the banner, “…was great but it is time to move on and come back to reality, unfortunately”.

The team faced its toughest competition this past Thursday, defeating Iowa to stay undefeated, with a final score of 91-83, handing the Hawkeyes their first loss. The Pirates’ struggled a bit defensively, especially against senior guard Peter Jok, who put up 30 points. They were able to overcome this with their strong offensive performance.  In the team’s first road game, multiple players scored over twenty points and overall the team shot 51% from the field. Starters, Forward Desi Rodriguez and Guard Carrington scored 25 and 20, respectively. And with Freshman Myles Powell stepping up, scoring 26 points off the bench, the team had more than enough help in their victory.

Furthermore, Coach Willard predicted this outcome before the season, when addressing concerns of replacing Whitehead’s superb playmaking production. He said, “Our team will be much more balanced this year”. So far, it is hard to disagree with his assessment.

Looking forward at the team’s schedule reveals several tough matchups. An upcoming nationally televised game on ESPN 2, against the Florida Gators on Thanksgiving day, who are undefeated themselves could pose the Pirates a problem.

Although the team has looked very good early this season,  the big question that remains to be seen is whether or not they can sustain this success. Only time will tell, but an early examination proves Seton Hall needs to not to worry much. As long as the team keeps it potent offense, and plays well enough on defense, they will be dangerous against any opponent.

Overall, the team’s good start should put to rest any concerns regarding Whitehead’s departure. This season’s team is still a strong threat to others in the Big East. From an eye test, the team is more efficient and have the depth necessary to handle their rivals. For now, Seton Hall fans should continue to support their basketball and let the good times roll. It will only get tougher from here on out.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.

Contact Patrick at
patrick.barron@student.shu.edu

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