I arrived home from a HS game in New Jersey and turned on my DVR to watch the Seton Hall game. But before I start on Seton Hall I need to compliment Providence College. At last some decent uniforms that do not look like they came from the neighborhood sporting goods store. I like the SHU uniforms also but what is it with teams wearing gray at home? Please!
I will have to say Seton Hall, despite the shortage of players, has been a huge disappointment. I also think the fan support though decent (over 7000 seats sold yesterday), leaves alot to be desired. But when you look at places such as Seton Hall, and Providence, you are looking at two programs starting out at a huge disadvantage, especially in a league such as the Big East.
Funny story about Providence is it is a known fact that when recruits visit, they bring them from the airport via a special route that is longer than the straight run which would take them through areas that are less impressive. Funny thing is Seton Hall does the same, and the route given to any prospective students is the same as it brings potential students through areas other than East Orange to the campus. What the basketball coaches at Providence and SHU should understand is those urban type areas could be huge selling points to players even if they are not to parents.
Well Seton Hall is really in a slump and there is no visible help on the way for at least this season. The kids seem to be competing but lacking the ability to close the game out in a winning fashion. In no way should Providence be able to come into Newark and beat a hungry SHU basketball team. NO WAY! And enough with the lack of depth excuses. That's for the Louisville, UConn, Syracuse type games and not for the games they lost earlier in the season, and the bottom half of the BE conference games. A team of Hazell, Gause, Harvey, Mitchell, Garcia, Davis, Waters, and Theodore is enough to win games. That's an 8 man rotation. Not the best it could be, but far from being a horrible team.
I also question who is in charge of defense at Seton Hall? Stevie Wonder? I know that was mean but I needed to make a point. Seems some of the players just want to get the ball back to get on offense. How do they not defend better, especially at home? To me that is the real key and it could carry over to next season.
Seton Hall will be better next season without a doubt. But they will have to be dedicated to defense and share the ball? Will the get along? Will guys accept roles? I ask that question because I wonder what is happening this season? Mike Davis looks lost for the season mentally despite his attempt to compete. Sometimes all a kid needs is words of encouragement and patience from a Head Coach. Mike, from what I have seen over the years could not have regressed as much as it seems he has.
Eugene Harvey is another person who seems to be playing just well enough for folks not to look at him as a failure. But he should be a dominant guard in the BE at this time in his career based on his early potential. What happened to his development? Is he taking basketball serious and understanding how folks thought he might not have lasted at SHU more than a few seasons because he was that good as a freshmen? He was on everyone's NBA radar. Wonder what folks think now? But anything can happen with the right offensive sets and a huge heart!
Hazell is a star! Better now than he was in the past, which is the way it should be. He really is a threat on the court and many folks have taken notice.
Garcia has heart and if not for injury's he would be even better. His injury definitely has hurt SHU this season. Theodore has been better than I thought he would and I am a huge fan of his. Next year could be a breakout year for him when Gause leaves. And when Harvey leaves watch out! Mitchell is really coming around and becoming the player folks felt he would become. Waters seems to be coming into his own and I am so happy he is more positive than negative on the court based on what I have seen on TV, heard from friends, and followed on stat sheets.
But despite all of this SHU has caught a few bad breaks and remains winless in the BE. Again I point to defense much more than offense. That's tough and Bobby Gonzalez, being the competitor he is, must be going ballistic in the locker room. I watched him a few times yesterday by re-winding the DVR and I honestly thought his face was going to explode. He is fighting for a win and hopefully it will come soon.
But as a program SHU seems to be down, and I did not expect this. I really thought they would sneak into a post season event this year and maybe they will. But in the future, especially next season, alot has to happen including:
Understanding the importance of Defense
Better Player Development
Getting the kids to mesh as a unit
Improved Defense (Again)
And more Defense
As a program Seton Hall can make things work despite the lack of a on campus arena. The "Rock' is a great place to play but winning needs to happen soon and they also need better marketing. Why not give out 4000 free tickets to HS and JC students with good grades? At least they might consider SHU as a place to attend college. The "Rock" provides a big-time atmosphere to say the least.
One thing I never liked about Madison Square Garden during a St. Johns game or the BE Tournament is the constant talking and noise. When I attended games in the ACC at the Dean Dome, Or games at other places folks were much more into the game. Watching the game last night at the Prudential Center it seemed as if everyone had conversations going on as much as they were watching the game. maybe it was my TV, but the background noise made it seem as if folks were just talking too much lol.
Javae Gilchrist and Teaneck HS
OK I know folks are saying why so much on this kid and Teaneck HS? It's because I really like what I have seen. I see Teaneck returning to the glory years in the very near future because all the good young players, and Teaneck has many, are staying home and enrolling at Teaneck again. The 8th graders, 9th graders, and others are some of the best in the entire state of NJ. Watch out for this team for years to come. They are back even if they do not win it all this season.
Now all you college coaches who have read this blog I need to apologize about Javae Gilchrist. He is not what I thought he was. He is not a low mid major player like I described. Sorry for the confusion. But he is even BETTER than I thought!!! I Watched him play last night along with a few guys who really have been around the game a long time. Tony Hargraves the ex Iona star who now works for Bear Sterns (Those Iona Guys always get great jobs lol) and coaches Riverside Church, James Brown, CPA who is a long-time basketball follower, John Cano, a producer for NBA Entertainment, and Orlando Cameron, the creator of a new web-site called N. J. HOOPS Journal. All were in agreement that he is the most un-selfish PG we have seen in 20 years that can play. We have seen less talented kids play and look to pass first. But never a kid who is a definite D1 talent. At least not in a long time. And with more D1 level players on his team you would see this kid averaging 10-12 assists and 16 points a game. This kids problem is only under exposure. I am sure some folks might have seen him playing for a small AAU type program in the past and not even notice. This was the case when I spoke with a well known and connected Essex County basketball coach late last night. The Coach said he knew who he was but did not really watch him closely. Well those who have not better get to Teaneck HS or Call Mr. Curtis march, the OUTSTANDING Teaneck HS Coach ASAP. If not he will be swept up by a small or mid major D1 program before you can blink. This kid can play at the BE, A10, CAA, MAAC, NEC, or AE level. Just depends on playing style.
Javae is a tall but skinny 6 ft 2 17 year old. According to Doctors, he might grow 3-4 inches more. But even if he does not grow an inch, he is a definite mid to high D1
talent. The good thing is his Mom says they will consider all schools regardless of level because all they want is a good education (Great Mom). I personally feel he needs more weight on his frame. And at 17 years old, he has a few years to get that weight. I also wonder what happens if he attends prep school for a PG year despite having good grades? If he does that, the sky could be the limit! Than with a good supporting cast it could be the high major elite schools. And I do expect folks to say I might be over reacting about him. I am sure Tom Konchalski has him as a 3 star type if he saw him. But I know this kid is better than folks realize. A school like Boston College, which does not depend on rankings more than actual needs and doing their own player evaluations, needs to come in and get this TRUE PG who can score right away.