With Jamir Hanner spending another year with NIA Prep, let's break down the remaining scholarships Seton Hall will be able to dish out.
Hanner had previously given a verbal commitment to former Pirate coach Bobby Gonzalez, and was reportedly "shocked" that Gonzo was fired. Nevertheless, he decided to spend another year at NIA Prep (Newark, NJ) about a week prior to this latest update.
While his de-commitment doesn't hurt the team directly (since he wasn't signed), it still narrows by one the possible guys who could fill out Seton Hall's scholarship roster for 2010-11.
The Pirates currently have 11 players under scholarship for the next season (including the 3 new recruits Edwin, Auda and Okoloji). This means that they are allowed to sign two more players to scholarships (and maybe three if the rumors surrounding Melvyn Oliver are true).
With the roster makeup right now, they would do well to use the freed-up scholarships. Here's what I think Coach Willard and Co. should do:
1. Sign a backup PG.
People may disagree with me on this, but I think this is crucial. The Hall needs someone who can handle the ball behind Jordan Theodore, especially with a ruling on Keon Lawrence and his wrong-side-of-the-parkway driving case still pending. Even if Lawrence gets off scot-free, he isn't by any means a natural point man. This is why one of these 2/3 'ships should be used on a point guard.
There are still some guys out there who can play. One of them is Desmond Wade, a New Jersey native and former all-state performer in high school who is transferring from Houston. He's looking at some non-power conference schools right now, and at the moment his list doesn't include SHU. But he's a 5'8" ball of defense and energy and a terriffic, unselfish guard (think Paul Gause-ish with better passing skills). If a Big East school like Seton Hall came calling, he'd have to listen.
Now, he isn't even my first choice right now due to the NCAA Transfer Rules- he'd be sitting out this year, which doesn't help the here-and-now one bit. But I think he's gotta at least be considered by Coach Willard- he seems like he'd be great playing for a guy who emphasizes defense. And just think about next year's possibilities: Theodore and Wade at the point is quite a unit. Opposing PGs would be on lockdown. If Wade is signed, next year's possible point guard situation would be fantastic.
Of course, it also means that Pirate fans would be basically praying for Theodore to stay healthy every night before they tune in. A point guard out of high school/prep school would be more appropriate.
UPDATE: According to Zagsblog, former Hofstra point guard Chaz Willams (5'9", 170 lbs.) took an unofficial visit to Seton Hall on Friday. I have not seen Williams much, but here are his numbers from his freshman season with the Pride: 9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.6 spg, .372 FG%, .383 3P%, .733 FT%. He was second on the team in scoring and 3-point percentage, first on the team in assists. The 4.2 rebounds per game would suggest that he's a tough little guy. In fact, his numbers are eerily similar to Wade's. The fact that he was second to Metro Player of the Year Charles Jenkins in scoring is a pretty good achievement as well. Either Wade or Williams would be a great fit at the Hall. Both, however, are transfers who would have to sit out a year.
Follow the jump for further analysis from JP on how the Pirates should use their remaining scholarships.
2. Sign a BIG man.
There's a reason I emphasize BIG. I'm sure Pirate fans know why, they've been doing it for years now.
I've heard so many bleeders of blue and white pine for a true center over and over again, even in my short time at Seton Hall. Herb Pope's situation is looking up, but the depth behind him isn't fantastic. Ferrakohn Hall, while he is one of my favorite Pirates, isn't really a center (neither is Pope, by the way, but he's more suited to the position than Hall). Yes, Hall is 6'8", and yes he may add some muscle over the summer and fall, but this move is as much about the future as it is the present. Whoever this BIG man might be, he may not get much PT this coming year. But look at next year, when:
a) Jeff Robinson will be gone, and
b) Pope might join him.
Well, look at that! The depth chart just got a lot more open. Next season, the only post players will be Hall and Patrik Auda. If there's a center in that mix, it would be one great-looking unit.
Now I don't have any names on anyone that might be looking at Seton Hall, nor do I really have any suggestions. If Seton Hall signs a BIG man, you can bet that he'll be a good defender (per Willard's commitment to defense). It would be great if he could rebound, too.
3. Sign a 2-guard
This isn't as crucial due to the fact that the Hall has Jeremy Hazell and Jamel Jackson in toe. This means that whoever is potentially brought in wouldn't get playing time, and 2-guards in particular don't like to be deprived of time to shoot/score on the court. Seeing as Willard will likely sign a pretty good 2-guard for next year (2011-2012) due to the fact that there will most definitely be playing time, with Hazell and Jackson both being gone (Jackson is a senior), it isn't so crucial that this 'ship be filled.
Final Word(s): I think that Coach Willard needs to try and fill these scholarships. No, they don't necessarily have to, but I would advise them to. Seton Hall was able to successfully dodge injuries last season, which is great. But that doesn't happen too often to a college sports team, especially a college basketball team. The Hall isn't quite as deep as last year right now; losing Eugene Harvey, John Garcia and Robert Mitchell is bigger than a lot of people think.
With this roster, the Hall could go back to the NCAA Tournament next March. But all it would take is one injury to one of the big guns (Theodore, Hazell, Robinson and Pope) to derail those plans. With the aforementioned guys gone, the depth of last year just isn't there. Sure, filling the 'ships would make Seton Hall young and deep, but youth can grow up and emerge. You can replace veterans with youth and have it work out OK, but you can't replace depth with anything but depth and expect the same results. Adding more players would also take some pressure off the new guys to immediately step up and perform, and that helps everyone.
It really doesn't matter to me how many of the remaining scholarships Coach Willard decides to fill. I don't really care what he does with them (although my suggestions have been expressed in this post), just that he does something, and doesn't leave all of them unfilled. That would tempt fate/karma a little too much.
And you know what they say about karma.