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Offseason Link Roundup: Pope Update, Coaching Staff, UConn Legal Teams/Calhoun Classics

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First, the latest Herb Pope update, courtesy of Jerry Carino

3. We've been told Seton Hall's Herb Pope continues to improve. He remains hospitalized but is conscious and talking with visitors. It's too early to speculate about his basketball future, but the signs seem encouraging after his collapse on campus nearly two weeks ago.

Agree with Jerry on all counts, it'd be amazing if we see Herb back on the court for the Pirates, but first and foremost, his health remains the number one concern.  Regardless of what the future holds, Herb's been an unbelievable fighter his entire life and we wish him a speedy recovery.  

Be sure to visit Jerry's Hoops Haven for more on Mike Rice's staff and Rutgers possible move to the Big Ten conference.  

There were no surprises to Kevin Willard's staff which was formally announced this afternoon: 

Shaheen Holloway and Dan McHale, who were assistant coaches under Willard at Iona, will join him at Seton Hall. Holloway returns as the Pirates' new associate head coach, while McHale is an assistant coach. Chris Pompey, formerly an assistant coach at New Mexico State, will also be an assistant at Seton Hall. Stephen Sauers, who was the Pirates' director of basketball operations from 2006-08, will return in that capacity for Seton Hall this season. Grant Billmeier and Casey Stanley round out Willard's staff as coordinators of basketball operations.

The Record provides an early preview of the highly anticipated, first contest between Kevin Willard and Mike Rice:

So it will be an interesting yin and yang when Rice and Willard coach against each other for the first time next winter, and will add some new flavor to the rivalry. Strangely, this will mark the fourth consecutive time Seton Hall and Rutgers have brought on board new men's basketball coaches at the same time. All but one of those eight, Seton Hall's Tommy Amaker, eventually wound up being fired.

Of course, what really would make this rivalry special is if both teams were fighting to get into the NCAA tournament at the same time. That really hasn't happened since March 7, 2004, when a pulse-pounding Seton Hall win at the RAC on the final day of the regular season helped nail down the Pirates' NCAA at-large bid and end Rutgers' chances.

Well, you can forget about these teams BOTH fighting for an NCAA bid next season.  I have no doubt that Seton Hall will be in the mix, however, Rutgers is returning just two BIG EAST caliber players in Jonathan Mitchell and Dane Miller. The only thing Rutgers will be fighting for next season is what seeding they will draw on day one of BIG EAST tournament play.  You may quote me. 

Lastly, UConn who just gave head coach Jim Calhoun, a 5-year, $13 million extension, will be opening their pocketbooks a little wider in order to combat recruiting violations: 

According to the Hartford Courant, UConn's legal bills have already exceeded $700,000, and that may just be the beginning. The Courant reported that UConn will pay $375,000 to Overland Park, Kansas law firm Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC, in addition to the $338,000 the firm already received from the university.

I wonder if Jim Calhoun will give any of his salary back in order to help fight the good fight?  If you're wondering yourself:

  

NOT A DIME BACK! Funny? Sure, but it doesn't come close to the hilarity level of the following Calhoun classic. Warning: Very, Very, NSFW: 

Is it too late to revisit the Gomes/Okafor/Butler discussion?