Last night, GonzoBall editor, Bob Yelenak, answered a few questions from Ken over at USFBullsBlogs.com in advance of tonight's game. The transcript is below:
I’d like to thank Bob over at GonzoBall.com for doing a little Q&A for tonight’s game. Check out his site when you all get the chance, its another great one over at SBNation.
1. I know this one will be easy, but what matchup are you looking forward to for tonight’s game?
The easy answer would be Jeremy Hazell and Dominque Jones as they are #2 (22.2ppg) and #3 (21ppg) in the Big East in scoring. If it weren’t for the 5 point game Jones had at Louisville, he’d most likely be #1 in the conference at this point. That said, the matchup I’m most looking forward to would be Herb Pope and Jarrid Famous. Sure, I expect Fitzpatrick to help a bit, but I see Famous and Pope battling it out on the glass all night. I figure Hazell and Jones will each get theirs, but the game will ultimately be decided by a combination of rebounding and ball security.
2. How much of a surprise has Herb Pope been for you guys this season?
Saying there was a lot of hype around Pope before the season began would be an understatement. For that reason, I’d say Pope is doing a great job at living up to the expectations. Keep in mind, coming out of high school Pope was the 9th rated PF in the 2007 class. In terms of talent alone, he was widely regarded throughout basketball circles as being a top 10 player in the nation, but had several question marks surrounding his character. When Pope transferred out of NMSU and came to Seton Hall University, it was really a gift that fell into our laps. He’s the dominant inside force that the team has been lacking since the Kelly Whitney era. He’s also the best future NBA talent the Pirates have had since the Dalembert/Griffin days.
3. How has Gonzalez done with recruiting this season? Do you think that the program is finally turning the corner?
The Pirates had two players sign letters of intent this season, in Jesse Morgan and Fuquan Edwin. Gonzo has had a reputation of recruiting what I’ll call, “academically-risky” players out of high school. Recently, we’ve heard that Gonzalez would stray away from recruiting these types as he was burned in the past by high profile recruit Michael Glover. Well it happened again, just last week Jesse Morgan enrolled early… at UMass. The Big East doesn’t accept non-qualifying SAT scores and Morgan couldn’t get his score up so he chose to enroll at UMass and play for the A-10, a conference that will accept non-qualifiers. At this point, we’re stuck with one recruit for next year. If Pope and/or Hazell decide they’re going to test waters at the next level? There will be big trouble brewing for the Pirates, stay in school boys.
4. Who scores more, Hazell or Jones?
Coming off of 46 points, you’d have to think Jones is out of gas. Or maybe, it’s just me hoping that he’s out of gas. In all reality, Hazell has shown glimpses of changing his game over the last couple of games, taking smarter shots and playing a style more beneficial to his team. The Pirates are most dangerous when Hazell distributes and gets his teammates involved opposed to when he takes 25 shots in an attempt to notch 30 points. I’d prefer he limit his attempts to 10-15 per game and focus on penetration and getting the the big men involved. So Jones will score more. However, not only will Pope outscore Famous, but so will the 6′6 forward, Jeff Robinson.
5. Random 5th Question: Can you watch the 1989 Title Game, or do you throw the remote when it is on ESPN Classic?
I’d watch it, the P.J. Carlesimo story is legendary. The man led a Pirates team (that was previously shut out of the dance) to an at-large bid in 1988. They even won their first round game. The following year? The national championship, despite losing in overtime, it was still quite remarkable what Carlesimo accomplished at Seton Hall.
Thanks again to GonzoBall for helping out. I’ll have a preview up today on the game.