The grumbling started hours after Kevin Willard was hired by Seton Hall three years ago. "His recruiting assistants and staff as a whole aren't talented enough," cried Seton Hall fans, as recruiting got off to a slow start.
The complaints regarding Kevin Willard's recruiting, at many times justified, more-or-less continued for the better part of three years. "He just can't close," was the toted party line of many a fan, after several narrow recruiting misses to highly rated kids like Kyle Anderson or project recruits like Blaise Mbargorba. "I can't believe Willard isn't focusing more on the local kids, we need to develop a local pipeline," voiced other fans.
Even when Willard was able to reel in a Top 150 target from New Jersey in Jaren Sina, a popular reaction was that Sina "fell into the staff's lap" after Bill Carmody's firing at Northwestern.
So even when the staff managed to notch a win, they couldn't notch a win.
Until now... right?
Kevin Willard and his staff are fresh off two back-to-back Top-150 recruiting hauls. Highly rated commitments -- check. All three current commits are local recruits (two N.Y.C., one Newark -- although Angel Delgado will play at Huntington Prep (W. Va.) for his senior season.) Local recruits -- check. By all accounts, Shaheen Holloway was responsible for Khadeen Carrington's commitment and newly added assistant Oliver Antigua brought Angel Delgado aboard with him. Impactful recruiting assistants - check.
With all the criticism of his off court job performance squelched, Kevin Willard looks to be eyeing a historic Seton Hall recruiting class. One scholarship remains for the Class of 2014 with Top 25 guard Isaiah Whitehead (Lincoln, N.Y.) set to visit on Saturday and Top 150 forward Quadri Moore (Linden, N.J.) reportedly down to Cincinnati and Seton Hall, per Jerry Carino.
If I were to tell you several months ago that Seton Hall would have three local recruits committed, one of which is Top 150, and another of which is a Top 75 prospect and Kentucky target, would you have believed me? What if I had added that there is a good chance Seton Hall's fourth commit would be either a Top 150 forward from Linden or a Top 25 guard from New York. An insane fantasy, right?
Even though the Fat Lady hasn't began accepting signed Letter of Intents, enjoy it. Savor it. Look up the various recruiting rankings (Seton Hall is sitting No. 17 on 247Sports.com) and take pride in it.
Because Kevin Willard is currently turning that fantasy into reality.