Improvement wish list: What can each Seton Hall player do to improve?

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Now that the 2016-17 season has officially come to a close, it’s time to look to the future: What is one area that each returning Pirate must improve upon this off-season?

This wish list contains the caveat that Angel Delgado returns to South Orange after testing the NBA Draft process, as I’m sure that in itself is worth the weight of the entire list below.

Seven full months lie between college hoops junkies and the 2017-18 season, leaving us to speculate about recruiting, the NBA Draft, graduate transfers, and the non-conference schedule while Seton Hall’s eight returning scholarship players finish their spring semester and gear up for another off-season.

After a brief respite — some of the rising senior class apparently only took a couple days off following last season — everyone except for incoming freshmen will start working on their game ahead of the tiny blip in the distance that is 2017-18.

What do you think each player should improve on? I’ve made my list below.

Angel Delgado – explosiveness – It seems apt that we start with the anchor-like big man. As stated above, let’s assume Angel returns for his senior year in this exercise. Given that, the Domican’s most glaring weakness at both the college and professional levels is lack of natural athleticism and explosiveness. A more-consistent outside jump shot and improved free-throws are definitely tertiary items, but some sort of NBA-level strength coach may be what Angel needs — or perhaps he’s operating at peak levels.

Khadeen Carrington – awareness – Sure, a handful of end-game scenarios could have panned out differently to put him in Isaiah Whitehead’s category, but they simply didn’t. To name a few games at the end of the season, Carrington was willing to take big shots and try to make plays on his own against Villanova and Arkansas, but failed to execute; these were head-down “hero ball” type of plays which someone like Whitehead would be able to pull off. Carrington needs to work on what held him from converting to a point guard last summer: ball distribution and end-game awareness.

Desi Rodriguez — a leash – Similar to Carrington, Desi seemed to have a green light at all times this season except for being benched for the closing 12 minutes of the Villanova game due to a perceived lack of defensive effort. Perhaps a tighter leash is more of a request for Kevin Willard (though that infers Desi can’t regulate his own shots) when Rodriguez becomes too liberal on the offensive end, making the aforementioned defensive effort a close “1B” request. Desi is very capable at getting into the lane and dishing to a teammate — but he strays from this too much.

Ish Sanogo — offensive prowess – A litany of shoulder and ankle injuries no doubt affected his play this season, but Sanogo also lost minutes to Mike Nzei due to inferior ability on the offensive end. Ish is very good in a few areas, but 3 ppg for over 20 mpg is simply too low for a team without much depth. The most painful thing is that Sanogo got himself in handfuls of great opportunities to score, but just couldn’t converted some put-backs and lay-ups. He showed a few isolated flashes of a mid-range jumper, but the confidence clearly wasn’t there after the early non-conference schedule.

Mike Nzei — post strength — We already know that Nzei is one tough dude, but a concentrated effort to develop into a forward who owns the paint would be stellar. A few tacked on pounds of muscle and some more conventional back-to-the-basket moves would serve Mike very well as long as he can retain his strength which is the agility to slither around the paint for quick put-backs. Willard flirted with him at the ‘five’ a few times, but if he can man that role a lot more over the next two seasons, that would be huge for the Hall.

Myles Powell — consistency — This almost seems like a cop-out given Powell’s freshman status and the fact that he was coming off a pair of high school foot injuries that limited his practice time — perhaps you have some more-acute critiques of his game. Powell clearly has the outside range, he can score in a variety of ways within the paint, he was able to find teammates quite well, and even showed an above-average defensive nose for the ball as the season grew — leaving my wish list sort of barren.

Rashed Anthonydefense/shot-blocking — Players toward the end of the bench obviously have more things to improve on than the Angel Delgados of the world, so I think Rashed should lock into one or two things he must do at a higher level to gain more minutes. Forget shooting, setting screens, etc. — how about honing in on becoming a paint defender who will foul at lower rates and perhaps block a few more shots. This will serve Willard’s offense-for-defense substitution patterns and fit Anthony’s build well.

Eron Gordonpoint guard abilities — I’m sure Willard has already tinkered with this over the past few months, but it will be interesting to see if Gordon can develop any lead-guard attributes. Strictly looking at his future in South Orange, the two-guard spot is a log-jam between Powell, Carrington, and Myles Cale for at least the next season while there are currently zero point guards on the roster. Sounds like an opportunity.

  • ThePirateFan

    Fun exercise! My personal wish list-

    Angel – Improve free throws. Improving athleticism is a far taller task, and despite what most would have you believe “explosiveness” is something that can only be improved upon marginally. Free throw shooting is something that can be markedly improved with an offseason of dedicated training.

    Ish – Toss-up between finishing bunnies and free throw shooting.

    Kadeen – Develop the right. Majority of the times he goes right it’s one dribble, crossover, pull-up jumper. That’s not something he had in season’s past, so it’s good that he’s developed it, but if I know that then the other big east teams know it too.

    Desi – Meditate or something, IDK, but he’s at his best when he’s relaxed and motivated, and as an upper classman with a green light he better know damn well that the new blood is going to feed off of him. He’s got a responsibility to keep calm.

    Rashed – Lateral quickness. He’s so overmatched athletically that he can’t even get rebounds. If he improves his lateral quickness he can do two things better, maintain box outs when the ball doesn’t bounce directly to him and defend the pick-and-roll a little deeper into the paint.

    Myles – Consistency and court vision. Consistency will come with time (remember when these rising seniors were freshman? Yikes). Improved vision will net Ish and Nzei some easy buckets because he’s shown the ability to go by people. He put up a number of low-percentage lay-ups because he couldn’t dish it after getting into the lane. I suspect the game will slow down for him with a year under his belt and it will become easier for him to do. He also has shown the ability to handle the ball, I wonder if he’d be a better option to run point between him and KC.

    Eron Gordon – Agreed – opportunity galore. Put in the work.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think that Khadeem needs to improve his dribbling. He needs to get better at dribbling with his right hand.
    For Angel I would say free throws. Has to improve on that.
    Desi needs to work on his attitude. He gets too emotional when things don’t go his away. He could also improve on playing smarter and not always trying to have a big dunk. Laying it in is just fine.
    I hope Ish can develop his offense game and make himself into an adequate shooter. Would be nice to see him add a 10 foot jumper.
    I hope Nzei can put some muscle on. He just needs to get stronger to help his post game.
    Powell needs to be less streaky with his scoring. He had some games where he was hot, but other games he was ice cold.
    I hope Anthony can improve defensively. We don’t need him to score. Just play decent d for a few minutes to give Angel a blow.
    As for Gordon, hopefully he can become a viable option at PG.

    • Rich Ricci

      Actually, I really hope that Seton Hall doesn’t fall into the same trap once again of trying to turn Eron Gordon into a Point Guard because of a logjam at Shooting Guard. Point Guard is unquestionably the most important position in basketball at all levels, so just “putting” someone there because his natural position is loaded with too many players is not a viable solution for success and will only lead to mediocrity for the player as well as the team.

      In addition to physical attributes, such as quickness, strong ball handling ability and superior court vision, there are the natural qualities such as a “pass first” mentality and leadership skills, which someone is either born with or they aren’t and coaching will never change that. Even if a player is able to make the transition to Point Guard from another position, it won’t happen in the short timeframe of their college basketball eligibility, with the end result being a player not being allowed to play to his strengths which, in the long run, benefits no one.

      • Andrew Herbst

        You’re right. Hopefully we get can Duvall. That would solve all of our PG problems.

  • hallstorm

    Well, my list would be as follows:

    Angel: free throws are most important as he will be double teamed all the time next season. It will also allow him to stay on the floor at the end of games if he can make free throws.

    KC – definitely ball handling, but that’s obvious. I would like to see him develop a tear-drop because he has trouble pulling up in the lane (how many offensive fouls did he have? It has to be in the double digits). A floater/tear drop would keep defenses honest and even allow him to perhaps dump the ball down to the low block if Nzei/Angel’s man comes to help defend.

    Desi–wow–I hate to be so critical, but where to start?….first, his defense is awful (it more or less cost the Hall the last 2 games of the season depending on how much weight you put on the last couple of plays by the opponent). I would also like to see him pass the ball more and FASTER–I hate the holding of the ball that he does. He also desperately needs to improve his free throw shooting–it’s terrible. The sulking just can’t happen next year and I look forward to seeing Williard yank him with some of the new talent that’s (I hope) coming next season if he mopes around on the court after a blown assignment/missed shot/upset at not getting the ball.

    Ish—I agree with his offense. He needs to at least be able to be able to score on put-backs and dump-downs. The blown lay-ups/dunks really add up and further keep him from even trying on offense. It became even more evident when he played injured.

    Nzei — develop an elbow jumper. I think he can really open up Angel’s game if he can actually score on the opposite elbow if AD can find him there if he gets double teamed. It would also expand his game and even create some nice opportunities for pick and pops if the screen and roll doesn’t work.

    Powell–not much to improve on from a really good freshman year. He will be called on for more scoring next year, so I can only hope he just understands when to shoot and when to look for a better shot.

    Anthony — anything he can contribute would be welcome.

    Gordon — chance to become maybe a defensive stopper and just someone who can handle the ball. I don’t even think he needs to be an actual point guard (that would be nice, but not necessary in my opinion), but being able to help bring the ball up and maybe give about 6-8 points off the bench would be nice if he could be the defensive stopper on the opposing team’s point guard.

  • shufaninva

    About Eron Gordon, does he have the skill set?? Does he have what it takes between the ears so to speak? I don’t really know enough about him. We know he has the pedigree though. His dad really felt SH was THE place for Eron.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Free throws?

  • VinBick

    I am not qualified to add my two cents to this topic. The team has to improve at the foul line, period. Practice makes perfect, right?

    Getting everyone comfortable with a new point guard this summer is essential. The potential for a consistent Top-25 team representing our Alma Mater is all dependent upon who runs the pont. Go Pirates!

  • DougFlynn

    Here are my suggestions. Everyone needs to improve foul shooting by 5-10%. Think of how many games this could have changed. These are little improvements as all these guys are good players. But, you only need to turn one or two plays in a game and they make all the difference.

    1. For Carrington – Develop his off hand (right) for the dribble and finishing around the basket. If he is going to play PG next year, it would also be good to get his dribble lower. Less opportunity for guys to get their hands on the ball. Also, improvement on free throws, especially a guy who goes to the basket as much as he does. Obviously this is a minor improvement, unlike others, but if he could hit a higher percentages, his PPG goes up, as does our win total.

    2. For Desi – Also develop off hand dribble. For the college game, he might also think about a back to the basket move as he’s much stronger than many of the players who guard him. Also, become a more aggressive and consistent defender. He could get more turnovers than he does. Commit to wins and contribute in more ways than scoring.

    3. For Angel – foul shooting, and more foul shooting. Not sure if you can improve athleticism, but he could look to develop a face up move. That will help him professionally as well as college.

    4. For Sanogo – baseline jumper needs to develop. Also, develop a move with his left hand.

  • Valentino

    Interestingly we have not mentioned our wish list for the Coach.

    • Joe Schmoe

      KW doing a good job with what he has to work with. Wish list for the coach is that there is another high-ranked monster class in the works.

    • DougFlynn

      Some recruiting luck – especially with some big men.

      And a little more creative offense in the half court.

  • PadrePirate

    A lot of good stuff already said below.

    For Angel, knowing this kid, I have a hard time thinking that he’s not already giving 100% of his natural ability but maybe some kind of conditioning coach could help him improve or max out his vertical and athleticism.

    For Desi, my biggest beef is his mental game. That’s a harder skill to teach and to learn, but a lot of his natural gifts are neutralized by moodiness and spacing out. He will go much further in bball and life if he could stay focused and be more of a team player. After that, it’s lack of court vision and willingness to dish. He gets the ball in the corner and everyone in the building knows he’s going to drive.

    I’ll stop there…

    • ThePirateFan

      I agree about Desi. He’s young and emotional, Lord knows I didn’t calm down until my mid to late twenties, but it’s not just a basketball thing for him. He’d probably benefit throughout his life by learning to relax and just be. I wonder if those guys use the counseling center or if the athletics department has a sport psychologist, but those professionals aren’t just for people in crisis, they can help quite substantially even with ho hum day to day difficulties.

      As far as Angel improving athleticism goes, I wouldn’t count on much. I’m a strength and conditioning specialist and a physical therapist so I have the background. Expecting a mild improvement by next year is about everything that can be expected – one more year of training, physical man-strength is about what can be expected, but no leaps and bounds – just what you’d expect between junior and senior years.

  • Fishjam

    All good suggestions above and below so I’ll try to add some things that have not been mentioned:
    Angel – Decision-making. For better or worse, our offense ran through him and depending on who is PG, it may again. He’s shown some ability to make good passes but he’s also Turnover prone trying to make Home Run passes when a Single or Double will do. Cost us big vs Nova and Arkansas.

    Khadeen – Passing. He doesn’t have the natural vision or handling of a PG but when he was a willing passer, the offense ran much better.

    Desi – Post-Game. So often he is bigger and stronger than the guy guarding him. He does well against bigger defenders as he can blow by them but he has to overpower the smaller guys. Arkansas had 6’3 guys on him all game and shut him down. He could develop a nice lefty baby-hook in the lane and give us another means of passing out to shooters from the post.

    Ish – Under the basket putbacks. Could also say a Foul-line or Baseline jumper from 10-12 feet. But converting under the basket would be big. Take a page from Nzei’s book. Mike always tries to lay it up on the opposite side so he has the rim as a protector from shot blockers.

    Nzei – Overall Strength. Like Ish could also say Foul Line or Basline Jumper. Mike is a very valuable player who would be a force with some added bulk. Great finisher under the hoop already.

    Powell – Ball-handling. Most of his game is catch and shoot, or catch and attack. But I like him witht the ball in his hand. He made a nice pass to Desi to win or tie a game late. The ball was always in KC or Desi’s hands to create offense – if Myles could handle the ball a little to create his own shot off the pick or off the dribble or to pass to a teammate it would help

    Gordon – Defense. With all the competition at his position he could carve out a niche as a defensive replacement. I think he has a decent offensive profile as is and he has some physical attributes to become a good defender. If he can’t become a PG, become a defensive stopper.

    Rashed – Strength/Agility. We all know he needs to improve his lateral movement so he can defend better. If he can’t do that, then work on his brute strength to push people around and at least when he fouls, foul hard and don’t give up an and 1!

    Coaching Staff – Passing and Offensive flow/movement. It’s difficult when you don’t have a true PG and don’t have any gifted passers but the team has to be able to move the ball better and move without the ball better. The more you swing the ball quickly back and forth the more open shots you get.

    • LBP

      I agree with both Chris and Fishjam ( anyone surprised??)–
      In addition to their thoughts:
      I think that Both Desi and Khadeen have to work on their right hand/side– Ish, Rasheed and Nzei have to hit the weight room ; think that Both Powell and Angel if he returns, should drop 5-10 pounds-Gordon needs to improve his dribble and add some quickness( altho I do not know if he can– I think he has the Sina prob of being a “middler”(not quite Big East athleticism).
      What does please me is that all these Guys have improved each year

  • 11yearplan

    Guys: I believe you are over-thinking this. They will all improve just as they always have and they will adapt their skills to the talent around them. My improvement Wish List:
    1. Bring back Angel and
    2. Sign a point guard and another big who can contribute right away.

    Everything else will work itself out. Even if their talent were to remain stagnant, complete both items above and the team will sit in the top 25 all season long.

  • Thehall

    Foul shooting!!!! For everyone

    • Coach Mike

      let me repeat that – “Foul Shooting!!!! For everyone”