Jordan Walker transfers from Seton Hall

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In a shock move, Seton Hall freshman point guard Jordan Walker has decided to transfer from the program.

Poised to return to the rotation this week following a thumb ligament injury which had kept him out for nine games over the course of a month, Jordan Walker has decided to call it quits in South Orange.

Following up on the original report from Andrew Slater, Jerry Carino provided these two key tidbits in his story on the matter:

“Walker … bolted because he didn’t play against Rutgers on Saturday, Gannett New Jersey confirmed.”

“But Walker, who prior to Saturday had been sidelined for a month by torn ligaments in his hand, had been a handful for the Pirates’ coaching staff behind the scenes since he arrived on campus, according to multiple people familiar with the program’s inner workings.”

Carino’s scoops are in addition to a whisper I heard just after Walker’s original injury time table was increased by a few weeks. I was told that there was more to the injury than what was being discussed at surface level. Lo and behold…

*****

If we take the above at face value (I do think more info will be unearthed), in the short term, there aren’t many ways to paint this in a positive hue. Walker, having only played in two games, looked capable of handling 10-15 mpg against non-conference competition, and slightly less than that against Big East foes, factoring in some freshman growth and set-backs along the way.

That back-up option is now gone, with an inconsistent Eron Gordon (2.1 ppg, 1.4 apg) set to to take on any lead guard minutes off the bench in place of converted point guard Khadeen Carrington (11.7 ppg, 4.2 apg). 

After taking another hit, the already-thin depth chart at point guard leaves absolutely no margin for injury, or Kevin Willard would have to revert to some sort of point-forward approach on the fly.

And while the immediate future is usually what is focused on in these scenarios, its the long term that is the most captivating, at least to me.

First off, as of now, Willard has little as far as excuses go. If we accept the immature freshman narrative, that doesn’t excuse anything. Does a manager hold no responsibility for a recent hire who turned out to be erratic and unfit for the job? No, and they get significantly less time – on average – to vet their new hire, at least compared to a coach and prospective recruits. 

Willard may of knew he had an issue on his hands when he said this of Walker at Big East media day in October:

“I’m excited about Jordan, but he’s a big work in progress,” explained Willard when I asked him what happens when Carrington isn’t at the ‘one’.

“He just turned 18. When you’re around a bunch of older guys and you’re an 18-year-old kid, you try to act older. He just has to focus more on understanding he’s a freshman and has a lot to learn. And as he does that, he’s going to get more and more playing time.”

It seems pretty clear that due to the increasingly dire straits as far as point guard recruiting went, Willard and his staff had to shimmy a bit further out on the proverbial limb of talent. And that limb just snapped straight off.

On a positive note, at least the relationship ended on the second date.

That said, it’s not a complete disaster for 2018-19 and beyond, but the “top-100 local N.J. recruit” feel-good storyline has been flipped on its head. 

After Carrington graduates this coming spring, Willard has Gordon — another attempted point guard convert — Sacred Heart combo guard Quincy McKnight, and incoming 2018 point guard Anthony Nelson, at his disposal.

In many ways, the transition is a straight swap. McKnight, who played a lot of lead guard at the other SHU, fills Carrington’s role, and Nelson inherits the back-up position alongside Gordon, assuming the sophomore stays in South Orange.

Still, there will be plenty of growing pains and drop-off in talent, but not a disaster scenario by any stretch.

But the real shame is that the coaching staff finds itself lodged back in the perpetual carousel of not having pure point guards at their disposal — and that has a huge aspect of self-infliction.

Remember: Walker was the first pure point guard commitment out of high school since Jordan Theodore in the 2008 class. 

The staff better hit the trails for a floor general in the 2019 class. Quickly.

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  • SHU95

    That was just about the last headline I expected to see when logging in… I’ll wait I guess to pass judgement until everything comes out… SHOCKED and certainly disappointed.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I can’t believe this. I never expected Walker to leave. It will be interesting to see what comes out in the next few days.

  • Louie Dee

    Do you think Jordan’s calling his jellyfam like “I showed them!” Lol

    Guys this is a plus we have an additional scholarship now! It’s not like we beat Texas tech or Louisville because of Jordan Walker, I saw him play and I wasn’t impressed. I actually thought Gordon was more impactful.

    Question: How often do freshmen get to even play a few minutes for a top 25 team? What an amazing opportunity he had and he threw it all away. Great decision making buddy! lol

    I hope someone in his circle of friends or family talks some sense into him.
    “Ego trip: a journey to nowhere.”

  • VinBick

    The coaching staff is challenged to make adjustments to prevent this situation from undermining a promising season. The seniors must show poise and leadership under pressure to play their best. Too me, the key is a tweet I saw on Sunday. Desi said, “Family”. Was that a subtle message from a capable player? These kids have worked hard together. Do they fight on as a strong unit to reach realistic heights?

  • PadrePirate

    Really puts us in a bind for the rest of this season. Just hope this doesn’t give us a bad rep with local recruits. As for the future, what 2019 PGs are on the radar? After losing TD to Duke, now Walker, we really struck out on this class. Good programs can survive small gaps like that but not many is a row.

    • Joe Schmoe

      We’ll be fine

      • LBP

        Joe– the Team will be fine– sad if the Kid chooses to leave but more for the Kid than the program.

        • Joe Schmoe

          So a huge pet peeve of mine has always been people who refer to sports teams using “we”, like they were a part of the team. I’ve always shot it down when I heard. I’ve been successfully challenged twice by two good friends with the use of the word “we” when referring to a sports team. 1) a good friend of mine owns two (2) shares of stock in the Green Bay Packers. He told me stockholders should be considered part owners and allowed to use “we” when referring to the Pack. 2) Upon hearing this, another friend argued that his six figures worth of tuition money gave him a permanent vested interest in the University, and entitled alums to refer to their respective college teams using “we”. I had no retort or rebuff to either argument. As far as I’m concerned any SHU alum that has paid a boat load of tuition money to the hall, can say “We’ll be fine.”

          • LBP

            Joe– I believe if you still have any eligibility or opportunity to be recruited or drafted, you may use the royal “We”. Unfortunately since I qualify for Social Security benefits my time may have passed?

          • Joe Schmoe

            I dont think so. Not with a college team. NCAA athletes are not “paid to play”. They are students who attend class, just like all the other current and past students before them. The team represents the University and its student body and network of alums. If the team does well, the University does well. Enrollments and donations will be up. If you went to the Hall, its acceptable to use the collective “we” when refering to anything seton hall. That’s the way I see it anyway.

  • PadrePirate

    Will he have to sit out next year, like all transfers, or does he get a pass on this season?

  • Matty P

    Disappointing to see that Walker is leaving the program after such a short period of time. Seems like the news caught almost everyone off guard. According to Carino, even his HS coach didn’t see this one coming. Sad since I thought that he could have been impactful for the team as the season went on.

  • shufaninva

    I didn’t realize Jordan was in uniform on Saturday. Not playing in one game can’t cause someone to quit unless they are just not getting it. He either doesn’t get it, or he’s holding grudges based on past events. Or both. It’s too bad, but teenagers are a bit unpredictable. Some quit, and some stick with it, drive you nuts, but grow up and fulfill potential (Desi).

  • Joe Schmoe

    Semester grades just posted and Jordan didn’t realize that he actually had to goto class.

  • cali jack

    Unfortunately,a lot of HS/AAU stars matriculate at the University of Me.No staying power.Coaches really earn their $ managing these kids.Not like the PJ era where you told the kid to sit down at the end of the bench and earn playing time..Good luck to JW at a mid major.The season is in KC hands now hopefully focusing on pass first/get others involved versus looking for own shot.

  • Mike Walsh

    RELAXXXXXX! It sounds like Walker would have been a distraction and we don’t need Sterling Gibbs 2.0. My thoughts are that Walker is thinking ahead to next year, when McKnight and Nelson will be eating into his playing time. I’m hearing that some folks think Nelson is more capable than Walker. We don’t need a ME on our team. Best wishes JW! Now lets move forward and kick some ass, Go HALL!!!

    • ThePirateFan

      Why is there an issue with Gibbs? He’d make this team an automatic sweet 16 team. And his last year with the program was when he was a conference POY candidate with this class as freshmen whom had the green light to play rather poorly. IW that year was terribly inefficient for very long stretches, hardly even a net positive. I don’t recall all the
      goings on in the locker room with him and Sina, but Gibbs had every right to be pissed.

      • Mike Walsh

        There is no I in team, and Gibbs temper destroyed any chance for chemistry

  • Jason

    Truly disappointing. I’m not saying he is an all-world talent but I think he had the skills to grow into a solid big East point guard. I guess we’ll find out what was really going on over the next few days.

    We have a bit of a troubling issue of mid-season transfers. I suspect it’s a problem of having high major talent and expectations but still having to roster a lot of mid to low major players. But we’ve also been bitten by the attitude/troubled/poor student bug before, when we’ve reached for talent (Thomas, Carr, etc). Hopefully, that’s not the case here.

    Walker seemed to be as, if not more, capable as Gordon so I don’t think skill was the problem. Looked like a good teammate on the bench as well but I guess you never know. I liked his game and wish him the best.

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