With injuries in the past, Seton Hall looking to assert itself

"[We] Finally have a chance to play... we can wear teams down, where as in the past three years, we have been trying to stay alive or stay equal. " - USA TODAY Sports

If Seton Hall stays healthy and the newcomers perform, Kevin Willard thinks the future is bright.

Toward the middle and end of Seton Hall's injury-plagued 2012-13 season, Pirate fans were divided over the actual impact of injuries on the Pirates' disappointing season and if the injuries originated from being in poor physical shape, or if they were unpreventable.

Regardless of those details, Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was sure to mention Patrik Auda's broken foot, Brandon Mobley's shoulder injury, Eugene Teague's ankle problem, and every other team injury during post-game press conferences last season. Now, Willard is giddy to close that injury-riddled chapter.

"I'm as excited as any time I've been a head coach. I feel I have a team that's very hungry to change the perception of the program," Willard proclaimed at Wednesday's 2013 Big East Media Day. "[We] Finally have a chance to play... we can wear teams down, where as in the past three years, we have been trying to stay alive or stay equal. Now we have the depth, we have a couple junior college players that can really give us a chance to wear other teams down."

Kevin Willard was referring to junior college transfers Stephane Manga (Monroe College, N.Y.) and Hakeem Harris (Connors State, Ok.). They are joined by Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.), and incoming freshmen Jaren Sina (Gill St. Bernard's, N.J.) and Rashed Anthony (Florda Macdonald Academy, N.C.).

Willard had especially high praise for Sina, who plays the same position as Willard did in his younger days at Western Kentucky and Pittsburgh. "[He is] As good a basketball player coming out of high school that I've seen at the point guard position. He really understands the position and plays the position with a savvy that is years beyond what he really is."

If Seton Hall stays healthy and the newcomers perform, Kevin Willard thinks the future is bright. "I think this team can take a big jump," he stated. "I'm putting a lot of pressure on them because I feel that we can be a really good basketball team. It's a team that can get better as the year goes on because we are a little bit young [inexperienced] right now - we have a few new pieces - but I'm really excited about this team."

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