Entering the 2010-11 college basketball season, the Pirates returned three players who entered their name into last June's NBA draft. Herb Pope, Jeff Robinson and Jeremy Hazell all decided to test the waters without hiring an agent, withdrew after receiving suggestions on which aspects of their game they needed to improve and returned for another year with the Pirates. Seton Hall also obtained a fourth player who dangled his name in the draft in Eniel Polynice who transferred from Ole Miss on a graduate degree exception to play in his first year as a Pirate. With four "fringe" NBA-players, the Pirates cruised through a successful season in Kevin Willard's first year and parlayed that into a no-brainer NCAA at-large bid. Ok, so that didn't happen.
Instead, Herb Pope collapsed and nearly died following an offseason workout. Spending much of the season attempting to regain his strength and basketball abilities, Pope declared he was coming back for his senior season following a heartbreaking loss against Connecticut. He's kept his word. Unless he's swept off his feet with a Euro-offer, he'll be wearing the Blue and White next fall. Thank God.
Jeremy Hazell broke his wrist in the team's third game and was then shot in a botched robbery attempt on Christmas Eve. He should have redshirted the season, but afraid of rumblings surrounding his age, he decided to make the most of his final 15 collegiate games. Playing injured, he showed flashes of his previous brilliance, but those moments were largely overshadowed by a mediocre finish to his Pirate career. Still, he worked out with nearly ten teams (GS, PHX, SAC, MEM, NY, NJ, MIN, ATL, LAL) in the weeks prior to the draft and by all accounts, impressed a ton of scouts at nearly every stop along the way. Jeremy Hazell has a 15% chance of being selected. If he does go late second round, I see his longshot landing spots as being #53 to Orlando or #58 to Los Angeles.
Eniel Polynice hardly contributed anything, yet somehow lined up multiple NBA workouts (IND, PHI, NJ, LAL) in recent weeks at the point guard position. The point guard position? If I ever see EP handle the basketball at the next level, I might take up watching soccer (sorry, SOJ staff) or tennis. Ok, that's harsh, I do wish Polynice luck in his future career and I'm sure he'll have a long professional career overseas. Unfortunately, Polynice will not be drafted, but he has a better shot than Robinson, so EP has a %1 chance of being selected.
JRob came back with a new game plan in mind: shoot as many 3-point attempts as one can possibly take. Seriously. Coach Willard gave Robinson his blessing early in the season with the permanent green-light and Robinson never met a long-distance chuck that he didn't agree with. In an attempt to prove he had a position at the next level (the 3), JRob threw all his chips in blind and drew 2-7 offsuit, pre-flop. There's no chance he gets drafted and he's been largely MIA since the end of his Seton Hall career, so much so, that he even failed to appear after being subpoenaed for the Mitchell/Whitney trial. Jeff Robinson has a %0 chance of being selected.
If you're watching the draft tonight, use this thread to stop in, comment and root Jeremy on! Let's go Hall.