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Seton Hall Looks To Build On Last Season’s Success Without Isaiah Whitehead

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


Last season the Seton Hall Pirates exceeded expectations going 25-9, 12-6 in the Big East, and winning the Big East Tournament. The Pirates obtained the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament losing to Gonzaga 68-52 in the round of 64 of March Madness.

After the season, star guard Isaiah Whitehead declared for the NBA Draft and was drafted by his hometown Brooklyn Nets. Losing an All-Big East player in Whitehead, the Pirates now had to replace 18 points per game along with five assists per game on their team. Many fans believe that replacing Whitehead after he led them to the NCAA Tournament would be the hardest task the program had to do in years.

The remaining Pirates are ready for the challenge going into their first game at home at Walsh Gym against Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night (7 p.m., YES Network). The Pirates return a talented core with juniors and All-Big East preseason players Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado leading the way. Carrington saw his shooting percentage jump three percent during last season as he helped lead the Pirates through the Big East tournament scoring 18 points in three games at Madison Square Garden. Delgado anchored the inside as he averaged nine points and nine rebounds along with 13 double-doubles during the 2015-2016 season. Carrington believes that the Pirates can survive without Whitehead.

“Don’t get me wrong, Isaiah got a lot of guys open shots and he hit a lot of big shots for us, especially at the end of the shot clock,” Carrington said during Big East media day. “But this year I think we’re going to kind of fill that gap with all the talent that we have back. Isaiah’s a big loss but if you look at it, it’s not as big as people think.”

The wild card for Seton Hall could be Desi Rodriguez. The 6’6” forward scored 12 points per game in 26 minutes per game last year. His minutes may increase, along with his involvement on the offensive end. It will be on him to become a more integral part of the Pirates offensive attack and improving on his shooting (38 percent from three and around 69 percent from the line). Rodriguez may also be forced to play some minutes at the power forward position in crunch time for Coach Kevin Willard to put his best players on the floor with close games on the line.

In addition to the returning stars, Seton Hall will also feature freshman Myles Powell. The 6’2” guard from Trenton comes from South Kent School where he averaged 25 points per game and three rebounds per game. The number 81st ranked player in the ESPN 100, Powell is known as a proficient three-point shooter, which is something that Seton Hall has needed since the days of Terry Dehere and Artūras Karnišovas. He should be in the mix for major minutes out of the chute early in the season.

There is reason for optimism as Seton Hall returns 64 percent of their scoring and more importantly 72 minutes from last season. The key will be for the newcomers like Powell and transfers Jevon Thomas (Kansas State) and Madison Jones (Wake Forest) to be integrated into the rotation and build the depth that Willard has wanted since he arrived in South Orange in 2010.

In a Big East that will be competitive once again, Seton Hall will continue to make noise in the conference. A repeat of last season’s success will occur and we will be seeing the Pirates in the NCAA Tournament once again.



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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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