Today is Friday, thus concluding my "5 Questions in 5 Days" series. I thank you all for reading and commenting but most importantly, for being just as passionate as we at SOJ are about the state of our Seton Hall Pirates. I believe the 2012 season is bright with the coaching staff and players we have in place, and I'm just itching for the season to commence... either that, or this itch is from the questionable massage I had in China-town last night, but that's probably a conversation better had with my general practitioner so let's just get right to it...
Four New Jersey boys in Sterling Gibbs (pending waiver), Brian Oliver, Gene Teague and Kyle Smyth return home to the Garden State this year to play for Seton Hall. I can't recall a time for Seton Hall, or any other program for that matter, where four transfers have the potential to provide as profound an impact on a program as these three young men. Initially, I wasn't going to ask this as my final question, but upon further thought, I realized it's conceivable that 60% of the starting line-up for the upcoming season could be transfer players, so it must be adequately addressed. Throughout this series, I've touched upon these three student-athletes, which speaks to their level of importance on this team, but lets take a closer look:
Sterling Gibbs was the #32 ranked point guard in the class of 2011 and is the younger brother of one of my favorite non-Seton Hall college basketball players in recent history, Ashton Gibbs. Like his brother, Sterling is an outstanding shooter and possesses a very, very high basketball IQ. The leading scorer in Seton Hall Prep. history will be an integral part of the Seton Hall future for the next three years, regardless of Aquille Carr's arrival in 2013. Cut right out of the Kevin Willard mold, Gibbs is a sharp shooting point guard who can play off the ball (imagine the back-court of Carr and Gibbs?) If granted the hardship waiver, Gibbs will be Seton Hall's starting point guard this season - this statement is unassailable.
Brian Oliver was the #29 ranked small forward in the class of 2009. In his sophomore year at Georgia Tech., Oliver averaged 10.5 points per game and is a lights-out shooter. Oliver possesses Hazellian-type range and when paired with Gibbs and Cosby in the back court, this trio of shooters will give opposing teams fits, as they won't be able to cheat inside the arc, defensively. Look for Oliver to be an immediate impact player, as he will be prepared for the grind of the Big East, having played two years in the ACC.
Gene Teague was a stand out player for Southern Illinois University, shooting 60% from the field and from the free throw line. The 6'9 290 pound center will be a cornerstone big man for Kevin Willard for the next two years, and should be able to adroitly fill the large void left by Herb Pope. I mentioned earlier in this series that Teague and Pope banged down low in every practice, and this valuable experience against one of the leagues better big men should prove beneficial moving forward.
Kyle Smyth is very familiar with Kevin Willard, as he was recruited by and played for him at Iona. The 6'4 shooting guard opted to play for his old coach as a walk-on (paying full tuition) versus attending Boston College on a scholarship. If that doesn't reek of loyalty and confidence in a leader, I don't know what does. Smyth will provide significant depth at the shooting guard position and will give the Pirates their lone senior. The tandem of Aaron Cobsy, Brian Oliver, Kyle Smyth, Patrik Auda, Haralds Karlis and Brandon Mobley from beyond the arc will surely provide 3-point fireworks night in and night out for Seton Hall.
As I See It:
It's difficult and perhaps foolish to propose a starting 5 line-up in late May, especially with the uncertainty and variables we've discussed in prior posts. However, I'm absolutely certain that these three young men will be critical components of the 2012 Seton Hall team (again, assuming Gibbs is cleared to play this year). It's no mistake that all three players really get after it on the defensive end of the court, as Willard's teams are built around defence first. Look for this trifecta of Jersey-grown boys to make an immediate impact on the court, providing Coach Willard depth and options at virtually every position.
As always, my friends, HAZARD ZET FORWARD!