Tom Maayan and Kyle Smyth battle for a loose ball in Friday's opener. - Anjelica Martino
After shaking out the offseason cobwebs, the Pirates raised the sails and leisurely cruised to victory over UMKC, 75-36, in front of a packed Walsh Gymnasium. Seton Hall's starting PG, freshman Tommy Maayan (5pts/6ast/5stl), logged the majority of minutes at the point, with both Freddie Wilson (suspended) and Aaron Cosby (injured) unavailable. Although Maayan committed 3 turnovers, his handle was terrific, his passes were crisp and the frosh showed a quickness and acceleration between Kangaroo defenders, none more impressive than his turnaround dump-off setting up a thunderous Eugene Teague dunk. Maayan showed little fear in his first collegiate contest, playing confidently while consistently urging fans to their feet and raising his arms on every teammates' 3-point attempt.
Yes, it's early and we need to consider the competition, but Maayan's debut went as well as one could have imagined. He's not going to shear threads off the net, or take over a game offensively as we've seen Jordan Theodore capable of, but there were definitely encouraging signs in Maayan's play tonight.
Incoming South Jersey transfers, Brian Oliver (11pts/6reb) and Eugene Teague (14pts/7reb) are going to be welcome additions to the club this season. Oliver should provide a strong rebounding presence from the wing and Teague's powerful post presence will work to keep defenses honest down low. Against the Kangaroos, both players showed a glimpse of their potential under Willard's system.
Post-grad Iona transfer, Kyle Smyth (2ast/0to/5reb) was inserted into the backup PG role, where he logged 24 minutes (between the 1 & 2) as sophomore PG Freddie Wilson is facing a two game club suspension for the old, "violation of team rules." Smyth struggled shooting tonight, but that shouldn't be a worry as he'll find his stroke soon enough in the coming games. More importantly, Smyth looked more than capable of holding down the backup PG role when needed, either in a pinch, or filling in for injured/suspended teammates.
Stick around and head back, as we'll have much more on Seton Hall's opening night victory over UMKC from SOJ's Chris McManus.