What are the expectations of Kevin Willard's Third Year as Seton Hall Head Coach? Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Seton Hall is no longer the land of broken toys, ladies and gentleman; this is officially the Kevin Willard era, as he is now flanked with only players he has hand picked (sans Fuquan Edwin who, although recruited and signed under Bobby Gonzalez, never played for him).
This is kind of a trick question in that I believe so much of the success (or lack thereof) for the upcoming season hinges on question #1, "Who will play the point?" Willard has done a great job of creating depth at every position, the kind of depth Seton Hall fans haven’t seen in years. Let’s look at the depth chart:
Small Forward: Fuquan Edwin, Brian Oliver, Haralds Karlis
Power Forward: Brandon Mobley, Patrik Auda
At times, I’m certain we’ll see any combination of the above players at the 1 – 5 positions, as they can create match-up problems for a lot of teams. Additionally, Oliver and Cosby’s shooting ability should help stretch opposing defenses, whereby creating lanes for ______________ (insert your choice of point guard) to drive. Willards recruiting style is simple; get shooters, and it's no secret that he loves the three-ball, so expect to see three's raining down with guys like Cosby, Oliver, Smyth, Karlis, Auda and Mobley who I believe has the best mid-range jumper since Robert "Stix" Mitchell. Mobley also shot 73% from the free-throw line, so getting the big man more involved down low this year could translate to more points at the stripe, as he's shown he can convert.
As I See It:
Kevin Willard has amassed an awful lot of frequent flyer miles on Canary Airlines over the past 24 months, and frankly, its time to see dividends pay off for his thinking-outside-the-box recruiting moves. Patrik Auda, Aaron Geramipoor and Haralds Karlis have all had ample time to make necessary adjustments to the speed of the American style of play. It's time.
Losing seniors Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore to graduation is significant - no question about that - but my expectations of Coach Willard and his team as he embarks on his third season behind the wheel are high. At the risk of sounding somewhat redundant, I really believe that answers to a lot of these questions hinge on whether or not Gibbs' waiver is cleared. With him, Seton Hall has the ability to be a tournament team. That's right, I said it. But having ability and applying ability are two entirely different things, and that is where Willard will earn his paycheck.