The difference between Bobby Gonzalez and Kevin Willard is practically black and white when it comes to the recruiting trail. Whereas Gonzo's over-the-top, shall we say, "enthusiasm," netted a few recruits per offseason, Willard's confident calmness appears to be paying off in droves compared to his predecessor.
According to Adam Zagoria of SNY and Zagsblog.com, Seton Hall signed another freshman for next season- 6'11", 225-pound Aaron Geramipoor from Manchester, England.
Geramipoor (what a name! I'm already thinking of possible nicknames for him.) was a teammate of fellow Pirate incoming freshman Patrik Auda (who I've dubbed "The Auda Convertible," by the way) at Canarias Basketball Academy. He averaged 20PTS/11REB/3BLKs per game last season for CBA.
In addition, he also plays for England's U-18 National team, where he not only starts, but averages over 8PTS/8REB as well.
Coach Willard on the signing:
"Adding another talent from the Canarias Basketball Academy, one the premier schools in Europe, will bolster our frontcourt lineup for next year and beyond... Aaron is incredibly long and has great tools for a man his size. We look forward to his growth in our system and believe he can be a real asset moving forward."
JP's ANALYSIS: I can't go on much here because I've never seen the guy play. There aren't even any YouTube videos on him. In the linked article from Zagoria above, he says that Geramipoor is "regarded as having good hands and footwork in the paint." Regardless, you can't teach height, and with the departure of Melvyn Oliver, Geramipoor is now the tallest Pirate, and thus will almost certainly get playing time given the stats he's put up in his career with CBA. Not to mention, the Pirates will have to spell Herb Pope for stretches of time this season and Geramipoor will certainly add depth along with sophomore Ferrakohn Hall.
Follow the jump for more on the recruiting class as a whole and what it means for next season.
Now that A.G.P is in the fold (I will take suggestions on nicknames for him and all the newest Pirates, by the way. Just leave them in the comments section), that makes five new Pirates coming to South Orange this Fall: Geramipoor, Patrik Auda, Fuquan Edwin, Anali Okoloji, and Eniel Polynice. Combined with the current Pirates, this makes a total of 12 scholarship players, 1 less than the NCAA maximum.
Now, Jon Rothstein of MSG and ESPN Radio tweeted a few days back that the word is that Seton Hall plans to use the 6'5" Polynice as a backup point guard. If that rumor is true, it would give the Pirates some serious size at that PG position. It would also mean that Keon Lawrence would be in a role that suits him more- the 6th man/combo guard guy who could give the Pirates a spark off the bench. With that said, here is a mock depth chart for next season:
SF: Fuquan Edwin, Anali Okoloji
PF: Jeff Robinson, Ferrakohn Hall, Patrik Auda
C: Herb Pope, Aaron Geramipoor
Now, this is certainly not a definite pecking order. But when I look at this roster, I see two things: depth and versatility. The guard depth is pretty much the same as it has been, but the wealth of post players the Pirates have this year is something new altogether.
The Pirates didn't have this many post players at any time in Bobby Gonzalez's tenure. This newfound depth defends against foul trouble, something that plagued the frontcourt each of the last two seasons; when either Garcia (08-09) or Pope (09-10) was in foul trouble, which usually spelled doom for the Pirates. With Ferrakohn Hall a year older and wiser along with the newcomers, the frontcourt should be a strength for Seton Hall, especially if the freshmen grow up quick.
Let's look at versatility. Jeff Robinson can play the 3 as well as the 4; same with Okoloji (6'8"), but to what extent, we can't be sure. Polynice can play the 1, 2, or even the 3 if he had to (Polynice just may be the most versatile member of this roster); Lawrence can play the point in a pinch and Hazell can float between the 2 and the 3. With this roster the Pirates can play big, small and everything in between, and as we see every year, the right matchups play a big part once conference play gets underway and will ultimately decide, who finishes where.
Sure, it's early, but with the talent level on this roster, I can definitely see the Pirates finishing in the top-8 or maybe even top-6 if all the cards play out right. Call me crazy if you want to. Tell me I'm jumping the gun if you must. But I know one thing -- the confidence that Coach Willard has, the same confidence that has landed him 4 commits (including 2011-12 Cosby) and persuaded the 5th to stay (Edwin), should be a telling sign for Pirate fans everywhere that the new era in Seton Hall Basketball will come with a bang.