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Around the Hall: South Orange Juice, Offseason Link Roundup, Eniel Polynice Edition

Due to the events that transpired last season, a decision was made to change the name of the blog, going forward into the 2010-11 season.  That process is underway and the name change will be complete soon. Another announcement will be made when we get closer, but Gonzo Ball will now be known as: South Orange Juice, I hope you like it.  We're working with fellow SHU alumnus, the very talented Benjamin Douglass, in creating the new logo and I can't wait to have his work plastered here.  Hit the link and check out some of his prior work.  

Activity on the blog has been a little slow over the last couple weeks, however that isn't because it's the offseason. I just finished the process of closing on a house, moving and dealing with the stress of banks, real estate agents and attorneys. Things are settling down, the name change is being processed and we're preparing to ramp up activity on the blog as we prepare for what's looking like a very promising 2010-11 season.  And yes, we say that ever year.  Let's take a look at what we've missed over the last week: 

Eamonn Brennan of ESPN, believes Eniel Polynice (EP) gives Seton Hall a boost heading into the season: 

Now there's even more good news: Eniel Polynice, the 6-foot-6, 220 pound forward from Ole Miss, has decided to transfer to Seton Hall.

The word is still out on Pope -- his collapse in the Seton Hall gym earlier this summer could be enough to keep him out of basketball indefinitely -- but even if Pope doesn't return, Willard and company have to be, like, totally stoked. Most coaching transitions, at least those that originate out of a Gonzo-esque institutional meltdown, tend to leave the cupboard bare. But it's entirely possible Willard's team will be even more talented in his first year than Gonzalez's was in his last.

It may seem as a lot to ask for, but if the returning players translate seamlessly into Willard's system (looking at you Jeremy) there is no reason why this team shouldn't have tournament (or better) goals for the season.  In fact, if Pope's cleared, I expect the Pirates to crack into the top-25 just weeks after BIG EAST play begins.  Am I setting the bar too high? Setting expectations up to fail? Maybe so, but time will tell.  

Alex Schwartz of NBE talked with Polynice about his decision to transfer to SHU and how his experience will contribute to an already experienced squad: 

"Hopefully just come over and be a playmaker and help the team win games and hopefully we can get to the NCAA Tournament.

My leadership, I'm just gonna bring just [the mindset of] a very tough player that wants to win, all about wins, just wanna get to the NCAA Tournament."

All the right things.  I'm liking this kid, immediately.  When I spoke with Herb Pope last offseason, he kept emphasizing his will to win, at all costs.  The things I'm reading about Polynice are giving me the same impression.  Pope lived up to his words last season, adding another experienced player with the same mindset? This could be tough for the competition.  

Matt McCue, of also spoke with the 6'6 transfer who mentioned great chemistry upon meeting the team for the first time: 

Polynice said he didn't know any of the current Seton Hall players before his visit this month but said he thought "the team had great chemistry when he met them for the first time."  EP noted that he expects to begin the process of receiving a waiver from the NCAA to gain eligibility but "I don't think there should be any problems. Having one year left, I graduated and I am going to another grad program."

Reportedly, Ole Miss coach Adam Kennedy wanted no part of EP according to Andy Katz.  Keep in mind, last season Polynice was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team: 

And according to a source close to Andy Kennedy, the Ole Miss coach wanted no part of Eniel Polynice on the Rebels, regardless of losing another guard, Terrico White, to the NBA draft.

Sallie and Polynice are on track to graduate this summer from their respective schools and are seeking to use an NCAA rule to their advantage. Although it's quite a reach, the purpose of the rule is to legitimately allow a student-athlete who graduates the chance to pursue a graduate-school degree at another institution if it's not offered at the current one.

Jerry Carino's take on the transfer: 

Polynice's versatility - he can score, rebound and pass - should help him make a significant impact as long as he meshes well with his new teammates. Don't be surprised if he starts.

I agree with two of the three, I'm not completely on board with calling him a scorer.  He hasn't been a good shooter in his career, and he's been known to struggle finishing.  If he's going to 'score' it'll likely be due to an excessive number of FG attempts.  

Draft Express furthers that claim and had the following to say about the 61st ranked college junior following last season's play:

Eniel Polynice has an interesting skill set. He's very athletic, versatile... but can't shoot at all. Reminds of Garrett Temple. Will make money as pro.

Check out the Q&A NBE recently conducted with Kevin Willard: 

NBE - What is your recruiting territory?
Coach Willard - I will focus on New York and New Jersey. We have some of the great high school basketball players within a close distance to our campus.

NBE - How about European recruiting?
Coach Willard - Yes for sure. I am planning to go to Australia and England this summer to recruit.

Zach Braziller of the NY Post recently caught up with former Pirate, Brian Laing who is making a nice living playing ball overseas: 

Laing, however, is happy with the current course of his career, two years removed from a standout career at Seton Hall. He's making money playing basketball, first in France and last season in Uruguay, where he played for Malvin, averaged 14.3 points per game, and led them to the Liga Americas finals. Next year, he said, it could be Italy.

"Being able to play basketball [for a job], that's living your dream," said the former St. Raymond standout who won a pair of city and state titles for The Bronx powerhouse.

Jeff Borzello, the east coast editor of NBE, recently tweeted that Seton Hall commit Eugene McCrory will completely open up his recruitment: 

Former Seton Hall commit Eugene McCrory has completely opened his recruitment and will spend next year at CJEOTO Academy (N.J.).

It remained a question mark whether McCrory would even be eligible to play next season and you can read between the lines here.  This was a typical Bobby Gonzalez recruit where he would so often recruit the talent and worry about the "little" things later.  

Lastly, former Pirate Robert Mitchell confessed to... well, a 29-count indictment and implicated his co-defendent, former Pirate Kelly Whitney, as well:

Former Seton Hall basketball player indicted on charges he robbed eight fellow students at gunpoint last spring confessed to the crime and implicated his co-defendant, another former player, according to the criminal complaint filed against one of them.

Robert Mitchell, 23, gave South Orange police a videotaped statement admitting to the holdup and named an accomplice, 27-year-old Kelly Whitney.

Still can't believe that this went down.  As more and more details come out, there's really little that can be said...