Five Thoughts, Five Quotes: Seton Hall stunned by Georgetown, 83-80

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A horrific first half and a stunning last-second shot from Marcus Derrickson did Seton Hall in as the Pirates drop their third straight, 83-80 on the road at Georgetown.

Five Thoughts

Seton Hall is failing the eye test right now. Full disclosure: I typed this paragraph at the under-eight of the second half. In other words, before I knew the result. Why? Because regardless of the outcome in this game, there are major questions to ask of this senior-laden group. Body language, mental mistakes on defense, cold shooting… Hot streaks like the 14-1 second half run will mask these symptoms, but can they cure the illness?

Speaking of those symptoms, the first half was a Seton Hall horrorshow. Aside from shooting below 30-percent for a majority of the first 20 minutes, the one thing that raised eyebrows was an abnormally porous defense within the arc. Georgetown is not a prolific team from the perimeter and yet Seton Hall was getting burned on drive-bys and looked apathetic to one of their team staples. The body language was clear as day.

Angel Delgado apparently dislocated his kneecap against Marquette. With Delgado on the bench in the first half and a heat wrap around his left knee, CBS Sports Network reported that he had dislocated his knee (actually his kneecap) in the first half against the Golden Eagles, which was news to anyone outside of inner circles. It looked like Delgado tweaked it just seconds into the second half after getting beat on the post, but the big man waved off a substitution with Sandro Mamukelashvili halfway on the floor and would continue to play — and even emphatically dunk the ball.

Like so many times before, Myles Powell’s shooting resurrected his team. Trailing 50-33 a minute into the second half, Powell drilled a pair of threes over 77 seconds and then Desi Rodriguez took over, scoring eight points in less than four minutes. It was fitting then that Powell would tie the ballgame with a three at 67 with 6:14 to play, who would drill six threes in the second half en route to 23 points in the half.

Missed opportunities. I feel like I just wrote about this, but the missed free throws today were really untimely. The Pirates were a perfect 8-for-8 until late in the second half when Powell missed a pair, and then Carrington missed a front-end with under two to play. Further, Carrington picked up his fourth foul with just under 11 minutes to play and to put the icing on the missed opportunities cake, the team executed perfectly on their chance to send the game to overtime, but just missed the shot.

Five Quotes:

Kevin Willard on the first half defense:Extremely disappointing, considering the fact we had two really good practices coming into this defensively. To give up 59-percent [in the first half], it’s a little bit puzzling about what’s going through certain peoples minds on the floor at times. When we’re connected and focused on what we’re supposed to do, we can beat anybody, but right now we have to get back into the mental mindset of being a good defensive team.”

On taking solace in coming back: “I’m proud of the way they fought back. Extremely proud. We missed four free throws by our two best shooters. Those guys never miss, I was thinking they were going to knock those down. … Even the last play, they executed pretty darn good for not having Khadeen in the situation, he’d be the pitch guy usually. I have tremendous faith in this group, I know we’re going to get this done, but I guess I would say I was pissed off about the way we came out. I thought we were going to come out with a little bit more edge, a little bit more toughness, we ended up getting there, but it took us too long to get there.”

On Myles Powell sparking the team:That’s the way Myles should play all the time. He was engaged, I thought he did a good job defensively today. … When he gets that little fire going — we kind of feed off him a lot, with his energy. He made some tough, big shots for us.”

On Marcus Derrickson’s shot: “I don’t know how we left him. I think Pickett was the guy that ball-faked and made the pass, if I’m not mistaken [Willard then went on tangent about Derrickson’s progress]”

When asked if he could parse this group of seniors failing to string two halves together for most of the season: “No, I don’t. We missed so many layups in the first half, point blank shots it was deflating a little bit. No, I don’t know why. I put Ish [Sanogo] on there to jump start us, which he did for a couple games. But now we’re still getting off to slow starts. The sense of urgency doesn’t come right away. I think when you’re older, they have that feeling ‘We’ll pick it up’, but the league right now, and everyone kind of understands how good these guys are and are coming at us right away. We’ll find a way. We will, we’ll find a way.”

  • shufaninva

    🤦‍♂️

    • PadrePirate

      My feelings exactly.

  • LBP

    Terrible Team effort. Just terrible.
    Carrington had his worse Game ever. Do not know if he was more pathetic on D than he was on O. No way that this Team can win when he plays ( or does not play) like he did today.
    Look others were bad too but not in the same league with Deeno. Shame

    • Matty P

      Ever since that Providence game he’s looked bad. In each of the last 3 games he’s fouled out or almost fouled out (4 at Nova) and has shot terribly (34% from the field and 16.6% from 3). I though the Providence game was where he was turning it around, but I guess that was a misguided thought.

    • Louis L the 4th

      Deeno can be so hot and cold. Most times he’s an amazing leader who can take the team far but then there are those times when we need him to really take over and he looks like he’s never been out there before.

  • Matty P

    This game was lost in the first half. They came out with no energy and let Georgetown get to the rim at will. If I was Willard I would tell them to get their own ride home from the game.

    • slats33

      Do you blame Willard for any of this? Do you think he scouts teams well, creates good match ups for his guys, devises good offenses, calls timeouts in good spots, calls good inbound plays, manages end of games well, has his kids motivated from tip off, etc. He went to a 2-3 zone late against Marquette the other night after Marquette had been shooting lights out from outside all night?? I see a high weave and letting senior talent create shots for themselves. He’s probably a great guy and has not embarrassed the program at all but most of this lies on his shoulders.

      • Matty P

        Yes, Willard deserves some of the blame. He’s probably a middle of the Big East coach. But the core players are seniors and shouldn’t need the coaching staff to get them motivated for a game after they’ve lost two and just talked about needing more urgency. I don’t think he does a great job on the offensive end and relies a little too much on his players talents than running set plays. I do think he does a better job on the defensive end which has been concerning for the past couple games since they’ve done a poor job on that end. For the Marquette game and deciding to go to a 2-3 zone was probably more to do with foul trouble since Powell picked up his 4th foul with 9 mins to go and Carrington picked his 4th foul with 5 mins to go. In his mind if either of those guys foul out then they’re in major trouble since it’s a dropoff between them and their backups.

        • slats33

          Fair point. Just hope they can turn it around.

  • Louis L the 4th

    This team has way too much talent. It’s a tough call, but at what point do we have to start thinking it goes beyond the team and falls squarely on the coaching. This is the best team we have had in YEARS talent wise (as our core has gotten extremely better over the past 4 years). Great coaches would take advantage of this squad. We have 4 seniors leaving next year and because of that we might be terrible for years to come because we have coaching that is (relatively speaking) good, but far from great. It will not get us to where we should be.

    • Matty P

      Can’t really blame the coaching staff for the lack of defensive effort from the players and allowing Georgetown to get to the rim whenever they wanted. They can coach them up but they can’t go out there and play for them.

      • Louis L the 4th

        To an extent I agree, but it is also the coaches job to light a fire under teams who don’t give 100% effort, especially on defense, and especially seniors!!! We needed this game and blew it

  • We are quietly watching another Seton Hall season go horribly wrong.

  • PadrePirate

    The greatest season that never was…

    This feels like that melt down season a few years ago, I think isaiahs first year. We started off 13-3 and just crumbled. Sad way for this group to end their college careers.

  • Pirate_Law

    Am I wrong or selfish to feel like Carrington was robbed of his senior season for requiring him to work on and play out of position when he was so effective in years past? Either way, the wheels are falling off at the worst possible time in all too familiar fashion.

    • Ardy

      This just shows how much IW and DG covered up.

  • Ardy

    The other teams smell blood in the water and will attack SH until they make the adjustment or surrender. This problem is deeper than the eyes can see. Donny Marshall exposed it early in the season! This is a senior dominated team and some things they should know better.You know when your shot is way off. You know not to foul on a 3pt shot at the end of the game! They say it is all about the seniors but without that Powell kid in the 2H we would’ve been blown out.

    • ThePirateFan

      Make no mistake, it’s the seniors that steer this team. Walker gives nothing, Mamu gives nearly nothing, Cale doesn’t give much. The team is 6 deep.

      • Ardy

        Agreed. We definitely need an alignment.

  • ThePirateFan

    No fire. It feels like their experience is working against them. I love their ability to keep calm, but they gotta get amped to play too! Keeping calm isn’t for tip off, it’s for when the other team goes on a run or you lose a few in a row.

  • Matty P

    Why has Willard started to play such a small lineup recently? Why not go with Nzei or Sandro instead of forcing Sanogo to play the center. Seems to late in the season to start to experiment with a 4 guard lineup.

  • Ardy

    The Powell kid had 23 in the 2H. Why don’t they go to him in the 1H also to prevent the slow starts. I watched the games and he’s often open and they didn’t look for him until the team gets behind and when he made a few they went away from him. SH should have some plays to get the hot guy the ball. Seems like when we get a lead we don’t extend it we go into cruise control. SH has not hit 100pts once this year. The only lower level team left to beat the Hall is DePaul.

    • slats33

      Well DePaul walloped Providence today and I think it’s safe to say St. John’s is no longer a lower level team despite their BE record.

  • Mike Walsh

    Unlike most of you, I feel this team has as much talent(maybe more) on their bench as they do in their senior class. I suggested that Walker/Gordon share PG duties after the loss to Rutgers and many blasted me for my opinion. I understand that it’s hard to ask seniors to let a sophomore and freshman lead, but, good teams realize that working together lifts the team. Walker has the ability to be a brilliant PG and brings a lot of energy to the team, had he gotten more experience early in the BE schedule he would be contributing at this point. I love Carrington and feel that he would be more productive in the SG position. Angel has put up great numbers, but, he is often absent on defense and loves to brag about how great this team is – you can’t show up and win. I would hate to see this senior led team waste a great opportunity, there is still plenty of time to right the ship. No complaints about Desi and Ish. Willard needs to shock these guys to get them back on track, perhaps starting a few freshmen against Xavier would do the trick. I hope they turn this around soon, you only need to get hot in the Tournament(NC State and Villanova – in the 80’s). Should the Hall squander this season, I still see a bright future if the current players stay. The youngsters will get their bumps early next year, but, with experience the finish will be fine. An experienced team led by Powell, Cale, Walker, Thompson, Nzei and Mamu, with the support of Gordon and others will be fine.

    • 1856

      with all due respect my fellow seton hall fan: even if they squander this season you’re ok with that and thinking the future is bright?! the future is right now! come on man are you kidding me? are you insane? are we kentucky and we’ll have another crack at this again next year? we might not sniff the dance for another 7 years! when you’re seton hall, you jump on what few opportunities you get. you don’t blow one of the best recruiting classes in school history and be ok with that. do you pay attention to seton hall or not? you see a bright future? is this 2014 or is this 2018? seriously, how much does the school pay you to make these comments?

      • shu_92

        Teams going to be fine next year. Must not be paying attention to the transfers coming in. Ever hear of Taurean Thompson?

        Agree with you that this season is close to becoming a disaster.

        • Joe J

          You may be right about the talent next year but a good coach is needed. We are all in the process of witnessing 4 wasted talented years with Willard. If the coach can’t teach, motivate and lead it doesn’t matter what talent you have. The results will match the last 4 years. Wasted talent.

          • Mike Walsh

            Agree that it’s coaches job to motivate and teach. Happy with Willard so far and may change my mind if the team does not turn this around. I am still hoping that we will get it together real soon.

          • Rich Ricci

            Sure, coaching plays a vital role in almost any sport, but the players have to be “coachable”, too. This Seton Hall team, outside of Myles Powell, has an extremely low basketball IQ, so even Red Auerbach or John Wooden would have trouble winning with this squad. Sad to say, Khadeen Carrington is the biggest culprit in this area, so trying to transform him into a point guard, a position that needs the most basketball sense on the court to be effective, had disaster written all over it from the start.

            In addition, I’m not sure why this is, but almost every good basketball coach will tell you there’s a definite correlation between good foul shooting and high basketball IQ, another telling statistic about this team.

          • 11yearplan

            Rich: Deno is the best FT shooter on the team.

          • Rich Ricci

            Actually, of the guys who get any significant playing time, Myles Powell is probably a better foul shooter, but that’s irrelevant, 11yearplan. Being the best foul shooter on this team is equivalent to the one-eyed man being king in the land of the blind!

            Take a look at where Khadeen Carrington would be on any other Big East team, let alone top national programs, and he definitely wouldn’t be at, or even near, the top of any of them. Please consider, he’s a “shooting” guard, who are almost always amongst the best foul shooters, but there are plenty of big men who have higher foul shooting percentages in the Big East alone.

        • 1856

          i follow the recruiting as closely as possible given what info is out there. we have brodie, nelson, rhoden and mcKnight coming in. did i forget one? given the history, i have no idea whether thompson will be on this team next year but i hope he does stay/doesnt have any issues. you’re right in the sense that willard’s (holloway really) recruiting has improved drastically the last few years. we were legit in on duval. youre missing the point, which is forget about next year. next year was supposed to be the solidification of the tremendous success we were supposed to have had this year, and any bumps would have been ok because we had just had a great year, meaning this year.

          i also agree that given the teams of the past that had guys like tom maayan and harolds karlis as starters, we are in much better shape now than since the 2000 team. thats also a reflection of how low the program has been in the past.

          the point is what does recruiting matter if we have a coach who can never get the results? and you’re crazy to not realize that epic meltdowns like this ensure that we will continue to whiff on top prospects. its not over yet, but if we blow this year, youre crazy to say the program is in good shape.

          i don’t suggest firing a man lightly. he really seems like a good guy who represents the university well and with pride. but after 8 or so years, I’m fully justified in doubting his ability to win.

      • Mike Walsh

        This senior class may have been the best “class” recruited, however, it is always better to recruit 2 or 3 good players a year. If you take Whitehead out of the equation, 2014 produced one 4 star and two 3 star recruits, Sinogo was not even on the radar. This class has certainly outperformed what was expected, a nice surprise. Reality is that next year will see a starting group consisting of four 4 star players and one 3 star, much greater expectations than the 2014 class. If the young guys end up overachieving like Desi, KC and Ish, we will enjoy great success moving forward. Powell, in my opinion, is the best player on this team and I feel that Thompson, Cale and Walker can be great too. My only complaint is that Willard has mismanaged the younger players causing their development to be delayed.

    • shu_92

      I’ve floated the idea of starting Walker and turning Powell into the sixth-man. I think it would really bring fire off the bench and allow Khadeen to ease into the game. Agree with you there.

      • Mike Walsh

        Powell is best player on the team and should not be a sixth man.

        • shu_92

          Than how do you suggest letting Walker/Gordon run PG? I agree Powell is amazing. Would be best 6th man in country.

          • Ardy

            Don’t understand your logic. KC is not hitting his shots, he is playing bad defense- fouling out every other game and he probably leads the team in turnovers and you are suggesting that we put the best player on the bench and not Deeno?SMH

          • Rich Ricci

            I’ve said all along that the starting backcourt should be Jordan Walker running the point with Myles Powell being the shooting guard. I’d have Khadeen Carrington come off the bench as a combo guard, which would give Kevin Willard the flexibility to make substitutions based on match-ups, while getting a spark off the bench. The playing time could be divided so that Carrington gets close to the same amount of minutes he’s now getting, allowing him to be fresher late in games and not worn down by the end of the season because of a little more rest.

            However, with the overinflated egos of the Seniors on this team, that rotation would never fly, and the team would implode immediately as opposed to having a slow death with the current lineup!!

          • Rich Ricci

            I’ve said all along that the starting backcourt should be Jordan Walker running the point with Myles Powell being the shooting guard. I’d have Khadeen Carrington come off the bench as a combo guard, which would give Kevin Willard the flexibility to make substitutions based on match-ups, while getting a spark off the bench. The playing time could be divided so that Carrington gets close to the same amount of minutes he’s now getting, allowing him to be fresher late in games and not worn down by the end of the season because of a little more rest along the way.

            However, with the overinflated egos of the Seniors on this team, that rotation would never fly, and the team would implode immediately as opposed to having a slow death with the current lineup!!

          • Mike Walsh

            Carrington should he the 6th man. I know I’ll get a lot of crap for that statement. Might even have him 7th after Cale

          • Rich Ricci

            I’ve said this a few of times since the start of the Big East portion of the schedule and no one has challenged me on it yet, so I don’t think you’ll get any crap at all, Mike. To anyone who understands basketball and knows the skills of the guys on this roster, it makes a lot of sense.

            However, the time to do it would have been earlier in the season but, even then, I have a feeling there still would have been a lot of resistance, leading to pouting and factions, similar to what happened when this Senior class were Freshmen. For whatever reasons (big egos, Senior privilege, little basketball sense, desire to play hero ball, etc.), this group refuses to play team ball for long stretches of time, which is why the high expectations this team had as late as mid January are fading quickly!!

  • Ots

    Carrington’s perimeter defense has never in four years been something to compliment him on, but the last two games it has been atrocious. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s tired or battling a small injury… But it is completely unacceptable. His lack of ability on the outside is destroying the team defense from the inside out.

    • LBP

      The end Game D ( not played) by Carrington was very bad . He leaves the shooter to be in “no-where” land and then is late to react when the ball is passed to his responsibility . He charges out with his left hand out ( rather than using his right hand up) which causes his body to hit the shooter and foul. See below: http://www.espn.com/menscollege-basketball/game?gameId=400988608.

      How such woeful basketball acumen and execution can be blamed on Any Coach is ridiculous. Deeno owns this – if he is not playing D to save energy for O he is sorely not understanding what is taught from Grade school— he has to get back to Defense first and fundamental defense at that

  • 1856

    i am compelled to jump in. this site is the best outlet for SHU fans, so id like the convo to be meaningful and relevant. IMO, many of the comments this season, esp. when things started coming off the rails, were fluffy, feel-good garbage. if i hear “they’re seniors” one more time ill explode. some people were posting how horrible the hall line callers are (too negative), the comments here were too negative, etc. guess what? those are lifelong fans and they were all correct to be negative. wake up people. we all to win, thats why were here. i don’t challenge that. its a question of standards. what do we want this program to be? that said, it stuns me that only a small group of people have even hinted at coach being the problem. guys wake up. no offense but if you can’t see that this coach is the problem you either know nothing about seton hall hoops and its history, or you’re willard’s cousin. the writing’s been on the wall for a while but we all didn’t want to admit it. well, time to admit it.

    time to start processing this: zero tourney wins with the 2014 class. stunning.

    nothing personal against coach – don’t twist it

    also people, NEITHER OF THE HURLEY BROTHERS ARE COMING HERE. PERIOD. people who think that was/is possible have no understanding of what the seton hall job is.

    with that said, where is this program and where are we going? SEASONS LIKE THIS ARE WHY WE NEVER BREAK THROUGH. I really want a discussion on this. i want to fire willard yesterday, but who get to replace? no one, thats the problem. we don’t need the next clown from the MAAC who had one or two good seasons.

    also remember, we don’t have a point guard because willard couldn’t get one. thats the fact.

    get ready, because the current path isn’t working: id take rick pitino in a second! guess what? he wouldn’t come even with his current situation.

    should we let shaheen take over? why not?

    has the school given him such a long extension that we can’t afford to fire him?

    we have a bad coach but we figured that the sheer quality of players on the last couple teams would override his patheticness (word?) well, didn’t turn out that way. wake up – he doesn’t deserve this job but who can we realistically get? how do we get rid of him without jeopardizing players like powell and jordan? don’t want everyone transferring. we are in a real pickle right now.

    where’s vin bick, speaker of truth? really want his take on this.

    please challenge me if you disagree. i try to keep an open mind but just look at willard’s history. he chokes. he never coaches anyone up.

    and of course my disclaimer: this technically could still be a great season, but only a fool would actually lean that way. i want them to win badly but any further success this year will be in spite of willard, not because of him. I’ve seen enough to want him gone even if we sneak in the dance. his only salvation would be a win in the dance, but even then one measly win with the 2014 class? not the standard i want to uphold

    • shu_92

      I’ve been one of the people supporting Willard all along. I remember clearly people calling for his head after 2014s collapse and before they won the BET. I have as much faith in him as anyone on this site.

      I’m beginning to question myself and Willard but there are multiple variables involved. Is it really Willard’s fault we got outrebounded by 10 vs Marquette? Is it really Willard’s fault we missed 5 easy layups in the 1st half tonight? Is it Willard’s fault Powell missed the 3 after a great drawn up play at the end of the game?

      I still have faith we are gonna knock off some teams in March, but my confidence is faltering. If we go one and done in the tourney I won’t have a leg to stand on in my defence of Willard

      • Drew Guritzky

        Willard might be the reason we got out rebounded, but not the reason Powell missed FTs or that last shot, which was a great play as I concur.

    • slats33

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been called a ‘troll’ and had my sobriety questioned for daring to criticize Willard on this page. It’s glaringly obvious for anyone with eyes to see that coaching is the number one problem with this team. Maybe they’ll make a great run but I don’t see it. Next year will be a complete disaster after these seniors (who all seem to have issues with Willard) graduate.

    • Joe J

      Excellent post. Willard needs to go. Enough is enough. Sha deserves the chance to lead this program going forward. I’d make the move right now. This is dead team walking. It may even wake these seniors up and possibly salvage a season that is collapsing fast.

      • PadrePirate

        Willard is the same now as he’s been for years. As coach, he’s ultimately responsible for this collapse, but something else is going on here. Willard is a decent tactical coach but not a fiery motivator. He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to pull these kids out from the gutter. It’s either got to come from within them, or it ain’t going to happen.

        • Ardy

          maybe we need a pro coach alumni like Georgetown and St Johns. They both have a pro staff that knows what it takes to get to the next level and it seems to be working.

      • fouline

        I never liked Willard as a coach. He’s short on game-planning and big on emotional play. Sometimes it works, we did win the BE Tourney,. But in the long run that seems like a fluke. What we have over the last 2 years is a mediocre coach and a mediocre team. The team is capable of playing better but not on a consistent basis and not with Willard. But the school will never fire Willard. Mediocre is in their DNA. And Holloway will never be head coach – no experience. It takes balls to be a head coach. The type of balls it takes to go out and get a head coach job at another school first. What a mess, Huh?

  • Andrew Herbst

    Another frustrating game. We couldn’t overcome the bad start in the first half. That’s been a recurring theme this year as well as the free throw shooting. Khadeem is too inconsistent. I thought we would turn it around, but now I’m not so sure. Have to somehow bounce back against Xavier.

  • 11yearplan

    The simple answer may be to run 3 guards. Walker’s development was significantly delayed when he was hurt. He is developing is sea legs now. Maybe not to start but run significant time with Deno and Powell playing the 2/3 and Walker at the point with both Ish and Nize, rotating with Desi and Angel.

    We are .500 in the league and we have a boat load of talent. It is too soon to give up on on the team and talk about next season. In my opinion the Coaching staff does not deserve to be collectively unemployed (you can’t fire or blame just one). No one panicked last night and staff did right the ship and called/executed an excellent last second shot with the right man open.

    • PadrePirate

      I’d be happy to see a little more of Walker, but I don’t think that’s the answer.

      Some of this team’s problems, we’ve seen them all season. Up to this point, they were able to win despite them–poor FT’s, tendency to rely on solo/hero ball rather than run set plays, slow 1H starts, inexperienced bench.

      Those are all weak spots and have not improved, but were not game-changers. What’s new is that those problems have been compounded with some kind of nebulous lack of intensity and focus which has translated into a lot of fundamentals suddenly slipping–weak defense, loosing rebound battles, leaving opponents open on perimeter, missing bunnies, etc.

      Overall, the other BE teams have progressed over the past 10 games, while we have taken a step backwards. No way in hell this team wins 3 more games and makes the NCAA unless these kids wake up.

  • Drew Guritzky

    I think those who think Willard needs to go need to go back to a history lesson.

    What are you expecting Willard to do here. Yes, there are definitely some errors (highlight well in the pregame against Marquette by the analyst about not playing ever play defensively), but Willard has one of the BEST records of ANY coach in Seton Hall history for as many games as he has coached. At this moment Willard has a better record than P.J. percentage wise, despite it being half the games.

    I think people need to realize that the Pirates would be a much better team if they had a point guard, they do not. This is something that Willard made sure to go and get, and while I don’t agree with one of them not playing all the time, there have been noticeable improvements to players, especially Cale this year.

    I think that people have to realize that in the 16 seasons since PJ left, we made the NIT 6 times (0-6) and the NCAA 3 times (3-3). We also had a total of TWO 20 win seasons (99-00 & 03-04) In the 7 previous seasons of Willard, we have made the NIT (1-1) and the 2 NCAA (0-2). We have had THREE 20 win seasons, and should have a 4th this year.

    Yes we are not doing as well this year, but honestly, I didn’t think we were as good as people thought we were. We still have the flaws of last year, but added pieces that don’t complete the team.

    You have to realize we’ve lost out on some recruits. I don’t expect Willard to leave anytime soon, he’s building something and he’s still learning. He’s 42. If he coaches until he’s 65, we’ll have so much time to build a program and something special. Yes, winning games in the NCAA Tournament would help, but lets see how he refreshes his team in the next few years, and if we stay relevant, which is something we are doing right now.

    We are definitely trending up. He’s done an AMAZING job, and yes there are issues that I’ve clearly seen, but if he wasn’t improving and such I’d have a bigger issue.

    At this point we are in danger of missing the NCAA if we lose a few more games, but at the same time, I think that we are totally capable of winning 2-3 games in the NCAA. I don’t know if I think we will however. I could easily see us losing in the first round again.

    • Joe J

      This was the best SHU recruiting class in over 20 years. 0 NCAA tourney wins is inexcusable. Louis Orr (who had issues recruiting local kids) accomplished more in his 5 years than Willard. He won a Tourney game. Plus, he coached in arguably a stronger Big East.
      I do realize that this team would be better with a PG but who’s fault is that?
      You mention Cale has improved. How so? The bench has not gotten enough minutes this season. I guess our definitions of amazing differ. Willard may be putting together good teams on paper but without results (Tourney wins) it means nothing.

      • LFR

        This is “put up or shut up” time for Willard. If this season’s senior-laden squad does not qualify for the NCAA tournament, how can the responsibility for it not fall squarely on the coach’s shoulders. This is year 8 of his tenure, and I’ve seen very few improvements in his coaching (game prepararation, in-game adjustments – always a great strength of PJ’s, fundamentals…like free-throw shooting, or the ability to create on-court consistency). Right the ship or be tossed off of it!

  • SHU95

    Well, here we are again. Every year this group has reached this point in the season. We were actually 5-7 at this stage last season, but had played Nova twice which would be the main difference in the schedule to this point. As Freshmen, we all remember what happened. As Sophmores, they went on a run, although we had IW. Last year they went 5-1 down the stretch with those huge wins over Creighton & at Butler. I am extremely disappointed that we find ourselves with our backs against the wall once again. I know we all want to see these kids succeed. They have worked hard, we have watched them grow, struggle, win & lose. While I like the potential of some of our guys on the bench, they are not there yet, and likely will not be a major factor in the remainder of the season. Desi, Powell, Angel have more or less been pretty consistent most nights. The team goes as Deeno goes, it’s that simple. When he plays well, they win, when he doesn’t, they lose. 4-2 is a must over the final 6 to remove any doubt from the committee. Let’s Go Pirates!!!

  • RonD

    SHU95 right on. It’s all about Khadeen. On paper it looks like the switch to PG has gone well: his assists to TOs is very good, I think he had 6 assists yesterday. But at the expense of his scoring. Remember, he was 2nd team All BE last year and preseason 1st team this year. 6 3s @ Butler to shooting under 20% since then.

    Combine this with poor foul shooting as a team and suddenly porous defense and here we are. FTs cost us the last 2 games. Marquette is obvious. G-town our best two foul shooters leave 4 points at the line late when all the momentum is in our favor. If we make the FTs in those two games it’s a whole different conversation.

    We need 3 wins: 20-10, 9-9 to be squarely on the bubble but on the favorable side (see Tex Tech, Louisville, Creighton, Butler). But this year I don’t think we get there.

  • VinBick

    The fat lady is in the wings waiting for cue. Wish I was wrong predicting that this team would collapse, but winning three or four more games in the regular season is unrealistic. The upcoming games are against hungry or rising teams who will exploit the Pirate weaknesses.

    The key is we are playing against opponents who have more grit. That cannot be coached. How do you spell N.I.T.?

  • marco

    yeah, you could start walker/gordon at the point, bring powell or carrington off the bench… or you could start three guards (walker/gordon, powell, and carrington) but I don’t see willard doing either… he would have already done it by now if he had faith in the reserves…

    it’s up to carrington, powell, sanogo, rodriguez, and delgado to figure it out… those are willard’s five regardless of the results.. either they figure out how to turn it around or they don’t…

    if anything, willard is loyal to his guys… there’s something to be said for his loyalty… he’s seemingly willing to put his job on the line to stick with his guys… hopefully, they repay his faith

  • Mike Walsh

    I was in Seattle in 1989 when the Pirates were beaten by the worst call in NCAA history. Been a fan for a long time. I’m not in the camp that wants Willard fired, would just like to see him grow a pair. PJ blasted players when they under performed. Willard needs to have a sit down with these guys now and set the team straight. I love Carrington, but, he is purely a shooting guard – that leaves him number 2 or 3 in that spot. My starting 5 would be Angel, Desi, Ish, Powell and Walker. Carrington would come off the bench along with Cale and Gordon would back Walker. I have no doubt that Walker would be a better PG even without the experience and Carrington would put up better numbers with fewer minutes playing in his natural position. We have 200 minutes a game – here’s how I would break it down: Angel 30, Desi 30, Powell 30, Carrington, 24, Walker 24, Ish 20, Nzei 16 Gordon 16 and Mamu 10. We don’t need Walker to score and his defense is pretty good, his ball movement seems superior to Carrington and Gordon. WILLARD just needs to have the balls to make the seniors buy in. I believe the teams problems would be solved pretty quickly. All aspects of team play would improve and we would have fresh legs for all the finishes. The added benefit would be next year’s team would have more experience from the get go. I AM NOT GIVING UP ON THE TEAM OR COACH AT THIS POINT. Go Pirates!!!

    • Rich Ricci

      Well said and I agree on all your points, Mike. The main point I want to make is that I’m not bashing Khadeen Carrington by any means because he’s a very effective and capable shooting guard but, as a point guard, he’s killing this team. He dribbles around the perimeter without a purpose since he lacks the court vision of a natural point guard, with the end result often being a wild drive to the basket with time running down and a forced bad shot.

      Jordan Walker, on the other hand, has an instinctive point guard mentality, so he knows when to push the ball or when to pull it out and understands how to get the ball to guys where they’re comfortable with it but, due to his very limited playing time, he hasn’t shown these abilities since he feels obligated to play conservatively because he’s afraid to make a mistake, which he knows will get him immediately yanked from the game.

      • Mike Walsh

        I think Willard appreciates the seniors for sticking with him and his heart clouds his judgement.

    • Rich Ricci

      Whereas PJ Carlesimo was able to “blast players when they underperformed”, Kevin Willard does not enjoy that luxury because of the nature of today’s athletes. Nowadays, athletes, especially the stars, are coddled from a young age forward and rarely held accountable for mental or physical mistakes, let alone lack of effort. Any attempt to discipline them leads to immediate pouting, often followed by the threat to transfer.

      The days of Bobby Knight’s style of coaching are long gone, which PJ quickly found out when he used those tactics in the NBA.

      • Mike Walsh

        He can blast them with his actions by sitting a player, an assistant can explain the reason for benching than offer them a trophy.

  • Matty P

    The team has exactly one month till selection Sunday. How they react over this next month will determine if they make it into the tournament. They’ve got six games left with three on the road and three at home. Protect home court and find a way to win one of the away games and they can get themselves to 20 wins.

    • 2003Pirate

      They’re not making the tournament. Its over, bro.

      • Matty P

        Xavier last year was 18-6 and 8-3 in conference before going on a similar slide to lose 6 straight before getting a win in their last game of the season against DePaul. This team was 17-5 and 6-3 in conference before this three game slide. Their season was on the verge of pushing them on the wrong side of the bubble, but they managed to end 9-9 in the conference and make a post season run. Who’s to say this team can’t do the same.

        • 2003Pirate

          Its not an apples to apples comparison. Can the pirates go 3-3 over the final six to finish out 9-9 in conference? Maybe. Can they win two in the BET? Its possible. Whats the current outlook of that happening? Negative.