February 4, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard/forward Fuquan Edwin (bottom) grabs his leg after an injury as his teammates look on against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Pittsburgh Panthers won 56-46. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Big East Preview: Seton Hall Pirates


 

Record last season:  15-18 (Conf: 3-15)

Postseason:  None

Coach:  Kevin Willard

Coach’s record at school:  49-49

Offensive efficiency:  101.2 (159th in the country)

Defensive efficiency:  98.0 (106th in the country)

Returnees:  Fuquan Edwin (16.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG), Eugene Teague (11.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG), Tom Maayan (1.8 PPG, 1.7 RPG), Brandon Mobley (9.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Brian Oliver (7.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG), Patrik Auda (7.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG), Haralds Karlis (2.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG), Aaron Geramipoor (0.9 PPG, 1.7 RPG)

Notable losses:  Kyle Smyth (5.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG), Aaron Cosby (12.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG), Kevin Johnson (2.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG)

Newcomers:  Jaren Sina, Sterling Gibbs, Rashed Anthony, Stephane Manga, Hakeem Harris

Projected lineup:

G:  Tom Maayan

G:  Sterling Gibbs

F:  Fuquan Edwin

F:  Brian Oliver

F:  Eugene Teague

Outlook:

Two things need to change if Seton Hall is to have more success this season compared to last.  However, only one of those two things is in their control.

What is in their control is that they need to get better at taking care of the basketball.  They turned the ball over on almost 24% of their possessions last season, ranking them 333rd in the country.  You can’t win many games coughing the ball up that often. The other component that needs to change is their health.  Only four players on last year’s squad played in all 33 games.  There was a point in the middle of the season that Willard only had six players in uniform.  That’s asking way too much from those players on the court, especially in a conference as demanding as the Big East.

It’d be difficult for Seton Hall to be as unlucky with injuries this year as they were last. Coach Willard had high expectations for his team in year 3 of his tenure after just missing the NCAA Tournament the previous season. He lost some key starters from the year before, but the experience and depth returning in his pivotal third year were enough for him to be bullish.

Things didn’t go as planned and he will no doubt be expecting a better season this year. He returns talented pieces in Edwin (Preseason Second Team All-Big East), Teague, Oliver, Mobley and Mayaan and welcomes two talented guards in Gibbs and Sina.  The combination of Mayaan, Sina and Gibbs will be the team’s primary ball handlers and they need to take better care of the rock than what was seen last year.  And if Teague is to be recognized as one of the better big men in the conference, he needs to get better from the foul line, as he converted only 56% of his attempts last season.  Oliver, a 6-foot-7 senior wing is a natural scorer, and better health this year could make him a potential breakout candidate.  But the star of this team is Edwin, and we could see his best season yet if the pieces around him can move the focus off of him from time to time.

Last season needs an asterisk next to it, because coach Willard and his program were dealt a bad hand.  The Pirates will be better this year just by having able bodies on the floor more often, but will still likely struggle in the Big East.  The conference has seven teams that appear to be on a different level than the rest, and Seton Hall doesn’t look to have enough pieces to break into that group.  Next year, though, will be a different story as they will be welcoming a very talented recruiting class.

Projected Big East finish:  8th

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Basketball Big East Fuquan Edwin Kevin Willard Seton Hall Pirates