POLL: Did Seton Hall meet expectations?

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It has been bugging me since minutes after Seton Hall’s post-Arkansas press conference: How well did the 2016-17 Pirates do compared to expectations?

For better or worse, I wrote a story an hour after the final buzzer with a few quotes from Kevin Willard and Khadeen Carrington, touching on a zoomed-out perspective of how the season played out on multiple levels.

Naturally, not all Seton Hall fans have agreed, so I’m looking to find out how the fan base — or at least the segment that frequents this site — feels about the 2016-17 season as a whole.

The three most-common opinions go a little like this:

The team met expectations. Seton Hall was tied with Georgetown for fourth/fifth in the pre-season coaches poll, which can also be taken with a grain of salt. I thought the Hall should have been another rung lower: below Butler and fighting with Marquette for the last at-large bid but with the potential to leap-frog the Hoyas and Butler, which isn’t far from what panned out.

Outside of the coaches poll, there were two tracks given the major question mark at point guard coming into the season. 1) a path with capable point guard play and 2) a route where it turns out to be a major weakness. Somehow, the season played out somewhere in between as Madison Jones no doubt helped the team out but wasn’t a pure distributor. 

This is where my opinion lies, as pre-season I thought a return to the NCAA tournament was good enough to satisfy post-Isaiah Whitehead hunger and a best-case scenario.

Seton Hall exceeded pre-season hopes. I would imagine the argument here is that fans thought losing Whitehead would be too much to overcome and the emergence of Angel Delgado — at this level — was not expected. Perhaps a bubble-out NIT bid was a good but not great turnout for fans in this camp given not enough incoming talent alongside Myles Powell and Madison Jones to replace Whitehead and Derrick Gordon; I think Carrington’s quote about people expecting 14 or 15 wins is at the low end of the spectrum.

Kevin Willard and his guys did not improve enough. The fans that think this expected more of the junior class, regardless of Whitehead’s departure. They may have also expected more of Madison Jones at point guard (despite him not playing for 20 months), along with Jevon Thomas who panned out as a universal disappointment. For a look back, Jones finished third in my pre-season point guard poll.

The one major hard-to-quantify part of this way of thinking is the legacy look at the junior class. They have now gone three seasons without winning a single NCAA tournament game (but they do have two bids and a Big East title), though I think it’s also valid to say the team met expectations for this season, but have fallen short as a whole because  they have not won a game in the tournament. Along this train of thought, would one bid that featured a first round win be better than two winless bids and a Big East tournament title? That can go either way.

Is there a fourth perspective I’m missing? Let me know if there is, and/or an argument that backs up your vote, in the comments below.

Did Seton Hall meet, exceed, or fall short of pre-season expectations?

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  • Seton00

    Just watch the games last year when Isaiah was on the bench for a rest. If anyone doesn’t think they improved dramatically this year, they’re not paying attention.

    • ThePirateFan

      Agree 100%, they had trouble getting into an offensive set without IW last year. KC couldn’t handle the point, but his ball handling did take a nice jump forward this year.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think we exceeded expectations. I didn’t expect this team to make it to tourney without Isiash and Gordon. I was very pleased this year by how Powell developed toward the end of the season. My biggest dissapointments from this year were that Singh and Carter never panned out. I was hoping they could have helped us.

    • ThePirateFan

      Yea, when you put it that way it’s hard to see how this team didn’t fall below expectations considering what didn’t happen – nothing out of Thomas, Singh, Carter, and Anthony got more minutes than anticipated.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Next year we need more production from our bench. Can’t have only 5-6 guys that can score

        • z06

          I agreed ! No Bench What So Ever,M.Carter was a waste,Singh was a burst,Thomas nothing,R.Anthony just foul everybody,Stoffer
          Another Waste not a Big East Player,Nzei is the only player that show signs of playing pretty good ball.But Overall since we really only have 4 guys that could Score it wasn’t that bad of a year.

          • Andrew Herbst

            Exactly. Next year I hope we can have a 9 man rotation with 4 guys off bench. Nzei, Powell, Cale, and Brodie

          • z06

            Thank you

          • Ardy

            I think MP has earned a starting spot. KW wanted to start him this year but KC refused to play point even though he controlled the ball most of the time.MP would definitely help us with the slow starts. Who is the starting 5 next year?

          • Andrew Herbst

            Not sure about starting 5 yet. Depends on PG situation.

          • ThePirateFan

            Can’t see MP getting a starting nod unless Desi moves back to the 4, which is what I’d expect if Angel leaves. We don’t have much to go on for Brodie, but there’s a chance of getting another big as a JUCO I suppose.

  • Dave

    I don’t think it’s fair to think we met expectations unless your expectations were low. In my opinion, major issues were Jones was stale, Myles Carter could have been a big help in his position down the stretch (if he wasn’t a loser), Veer Sing and Jevon Thomas were duds and complete waste of backup/bench space. Our juniors needed some help and they had NOTHING, which is why teams like NOVA are so great. They have a real bench with depth and one PG like Brunson( Nova) or a Shaheen(old SHU) type PG running he offense and taking over when not shooting or dishing.

    Complacency says we met expectations, but had just one of the four above(Jones, Carter, Sing or Thomas) had 1/2 the leap of improvement or contribution like Ish did a year or two ago it would have been a different story. If we had all four options above as even reasonable bench backups(aka better than a Rasheed Anthony), we would be in the Sweet 16 or better.

    Let’s not forget that all of our out of conference wins were against lame teams(literally had a couple stud players injured on those teams) and on neutral courts….

    I’m still upset we lost to Florida and Stanford and thought those losses showed who we were and how we could be exposed as a team this year.

    Issues this year that held us back:
    Depth
    PG leadership
    Pathetic foul shooting
    Turnovers

    To end on a positive note, we did great with what we had and I think everyone needs to backup this program (Willard, Shaheen and Billmeier) considering its trending in the right direction. If coaches fill the bench with a few recruits for next season we’ll be fine. If we don’t replace the junior class………goodspeed! Big recruiting year next year and I can only hope for he best!

    • z06

      I Agreed,you forgot Stoffer this guy just wasting his time

  • RonD

    Exceeded expectations. Coming into the season, not knowing what the Pt guard situation would be (2 guys who hadn’t played in over a year) I thought 19 wins, 9-9 in BE, and on the bubble was about it. The team exceeded all the win totals, got to the BE semis (3 out of 4 since new BE) and were safely inside the NCAA field. I didn’t think we could replace IW and Gordon but everyone improved (esp Angel) except for Ish who was hobbled all season.

  • Matt

    I think they met them but a tournament win would have just been tremendous.

  • Rich Ricci

    Although I expected at least one NCAA Tournament win, depending on our slot/seed, I’d have to say the team “Met Expectations” given the choices in this poll. I didn’t like the fact that we went into the season without a true point guard, since that’s clearly the most important position in basketball right now. “Point Guard By Committee” isn’t an ideal situation, but I felt the Juniors would improve enough to hide that weakness and, to a large degree, they did. By the same token, unless we get a legitimate point guard for next year, I can honestly say the expectations won’t change much, even with a seasoned team like we should have.

  • LBP

    Chris– why don’t you give site for your expectations poll?Be fun to review

  • Ardy

    Before I vote I would like to see the numbers from last year compared to this year.

  • hallstorm

    Before I vote, I’d also like to say that the expectations have to be placed into perspective regarding the injuries within the conference. Would we have beaten Creighton or Xavier at their full strength? How about a couple of Georgetown defections including one McDonald’s All-American (Isaac Copeland)? I don’t want to sell short a season in which the team really persevered and pushed hard to the end, but I want to describe the circumstances that allowed the season to be what it was.

    Ultimately, I think the team represented the school really well and is trending upward. Way upward, to be honest. As for the season, I would say it was probably a slight underachievement. The last two games were microcosms of our struggles all season long and finally caught up with us–and unfortunately in two games we could have, and should have won if the players executed plays.

    However, beating Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse was definitely a huge highlight. Reminds me of when they finally beat Syracuse at the carrier dome (and I think they won by about 30, strangely enough)

  • Ardy

    Craze. SC is another one of the teams the Hall beat this year. We should be playn.

  • PadrePirate

    Exceeded expectations, not only pre-season but mid-way through for me. Pre-season, the question mark at PG, and seeing how much IW carried this team last year, I was thinking 18-19 wins and .500 BE play at best. The OOC ended up 1 W better than I projected, but I just saw a lot of holes in our game to expect much more. The 3-6 BE marked the low point of the season, where all hopes for the NCAAT seemed lost. The team really turned it around. That final run left fans hoping for more success in the BET and NCAAT. They did ok, although the Arkansas loss was a clear disappointment.

    • Mosleyman

      I agree with PadrePirate on virtually all counts, so they exceeded my expectations as well. In addition to the PG expectations (and the anticipated TO’s that would come with them), I didn’t think there was any reason to believe they would suddenly shoot FT’s any better. And TO’s and missed FT’s don’t usually lead to success in close important games. By that measure, I thought they did better than we had any right to hope for in close games during the season, especially down the stretch when we had little room for error. But eventually it catches up. And it did. Yet after almost 50 years of watching SHU hoops, it was still one of the more interesting and enjoyable seasons, despite the letdown at the end.

    • Joe Schmoe

      In all fairness 36 of the 68 teams that are called on selection sunday are back in their dorms watching on TV on Saturday.

  • LBP

    My expectations for a Fun year were more than met– Wish we had better ending but it is great to be a Pirate Fan ( happier still that ACC can not peep a word and ESPN will have no hi-lites once N.Carolina loses)

  • SHU95

    For me, Had they beaten Arkansas, it would have been a ‘Clear Exceeded’, so I guess I would say they very solidly Met expectations and were on the cusp of exceeding…. For a program that more often than Not misses the NCAA’s, that absorbed a huge loss Earlier than expected with IW, I can’t see how they could be considered Falling short of expectations.

    On another Note, of all the ‘Near Misses’ with recruits in recent times, Chris Silva is the guy that we Really needed, he would fit in so perfectly in our Front Court rotation and provide the offense, tough D, and depth that we sorely need…

  • Sean Reilly

    This team met expectations in the end. I think they were very fortunate that Creighton and Xavier lost their best players due to injury. Otherwise I don’t believe this team wins 10 BE games. But that being said the improvement of Delgado and Carrington was massive. Delgado has became an all around threat from the post. Last season Delgado was almost non-existent in the post and relied completely on Whitehead passing him open. If he is able to work on his mid-range game over the summer he will become an All American. Carrington was much better at getting the team into their offense this season and improved his ISO game. He still needs to work on his ball handling as shown in the Arkansas game. But overall you have to be happy with his scoring output. I think the most disappointing thing to me was how inconsistent Desi was all year. I thought he would really come on as a dominate scorer this season with his size and athleticism. But he really struggles to finish around the rim some games and his 3-point shot still isn’t quiet there yet. Still excited for next season if they all return just need to pick up a quality PG.

  • fouline

    The team did not meet my expectations. They did not win a game in the Dance. They did not repeat as BE Champs. They continued to play inconsistent ball from game to game and within games The scoring droughts were amazing. And the team was still unfocused as a whole. The ADB(Attention Deficit Basketball) syndrome.

    Also I think that Willard barely improved as a coach. He still called out his players. And he still found weak excuses for the team’s failures/ struggles. Wednesday/Saturday schedule?And his in game adjustments well, were there any adjustments? And most importantly, he failed to recruit a PG. This was the reason why we didn’t get to the BE championship game and why we didn’t win a game in the Dance. You would think we would get a bounce after the BE win but we didn’t. It makes you wonder why? On the whole I thought the team with all its talent should have won more games. Maybe that’s asking too much but, hey, if you don’t try…

  • shufaninva

    I am afraid I have to say they just missed on my expectations. I think they were about a game and a half away…meaning I wanted a win in the dance, and to not get blown out in the second round. After last year, I think they just had the experience of a tournament week behind them, it was all business, and they should have won a game in the tournament. I really felt like if they were as good as we thought, beating Arkansas and not getting killed by NC would have been a successful end to the season. The season was not short on excitement though, and I am proud to be a Pirates fan!

    • Joe J

      I agree shufaninva with everything in your post

  • shufaninva

    Now that the season and first weekend is behind us, is it too early to ask…any word on when Trevon is going to declare???

    • No inside info, but has to be post-NCAA tournament when all of the draft declarations, etc are going on.

      • Matt

        Chris, do you think Duke losing impacts the recruitment at all?

  • Carmen Vitale

    Did not meet expectations This is a team with 4 returning starters who have played together for 3 years now; this is a coaches dream. Angel definitely improved, no doubt about that. Howver, no improvement from Desi, a slight improvement from Kadeen (scoring average ) but not much else. Both highly inconsistent . Nzei and Sango basically the same player, good defense, no offense. No bench to speak of, except for Myles Powell. We need another long, athletic forward who can score, as well as improving what we get from the bench, more than a 7 man rotation.

    • DougFlynn

      While I agree with your comments, I think some of the inconsistency you point out with Desi and Khadeen would be solved by having either a better PG who can get them the ball in position for a better shot, or by tweaking the half court offense to accomplish the same. A big reason for the inconsistency is the difficulty of the shots these two create. Now, Khadeen’s scoring average rose this year, but with Whitehead gone, wouldn’t we expect someone else to take those shots he took last year? Certainly Desi is more engaged some games than others, like pretty much every player, but I’d like to see him get more shots in the offense. Both could really improve by becoming better foul shooters. Unfortunately, SHU, as currently constructed is a pretty easy team to defend. Most possessions end up with either Khadeen or Desi putting the ball on the floor near the end of the shot clock and taking a shot with a high degree of difficulty. The problem there is not the shot – it is what led to it. Guards weaving 35 feet from the hoop for 20 seconds does not fool anyone. In fairness to Willard, Angel is limited offensively – his game is offensive boards, putbacks and a couple of back-to-the-basket moves clearing with his shoulder and jump hooking right handed – and Sanogo is almost non-existent on offense unless on put backs. And, obviously with their games, both of these guys could help the team by improving 10% on free throws as well. So, who shoots in this offense? The guards – whether the shot is there or not. At the end of the shot clock, Desi and Khadeen draw a crowd… I would love to see this team with a PG who could drive and kick.

      Now, Delgado leaving would be a disaster for this team, but why? People graduate in every program – or leave early as Whitehead did last year. The reason we can’t handle those natural losses is we’ve missed on recruits since this class. Maybe that isn’t anyone’s fault – it is just the nature of the school, league and the competition at this level of D1. But we need to recruit big men in addition to the obvious PG we desperately need for next season. Right now, we’re a team loaded with 2’s and 3’s, plus Angel. We need to fix that or post 2018 will not look very good…

  • Joe Schmoe

    can’t really complain with 20 reg season wins, BET tournament semi final going to one possession with the eventual #1…and a solid tourney appearance where the game was competitive.

    After two solid seasons, SHU should be a top talent option. We shouldn’t be looking at second chance transfers and juco players… kwillard and shaheen now have consecutive dance appearances and need to look At replacing the exiting talent.

  • Ardy

    Interesting question. Looks like many had different expectations for this team both high and low, from NIT- sweet 16. I thought sweet 16 or better when they played as a team. What should we honestly and realistically expect from this team?

    • Joe Schmoe

      Annual Expectations:
      1) Winning conference record.
      2) Competitive conference tourny performances
      3) Perennial NCAAT berths.
      4) annually considered/selected by top talent athletes

      10YR Expectations:
      5) Have highly ranked recruiting class every few years…(top talent is replaced by top talent…we are now due for another top five recruiting class)
      6) Marquee milestones every few years (ie BET Champion, BE Reg season Champs)
      7) NCAAT 16/8/4 run

      • Mosleyman

        I love my alma mater and I will forever be a proud Pirate. But as much as I hope and pray that your list of expectations becomes realistic, the history of Seton Hall basketball would suggest otherwise. If Willard can pull off what you list, he should qualify for immediate sainthood.

        Based on history, if we have anything even close to what you suggest, the coach is likely to find a job at a bigger school and we’ll have to start all over again. Even today, we haven’t established ourselves as a go-to destination for the top HS players, though hopefully that changes with the remaining scholarships this year. The small crowds, the small crowded campus on the edge of Newark and improving-but-still-not-top-shelf facilities make us a tough sell against the traditional b-ball powers.

        If you tell me that your list is your Wish List, I’m all in. But if those are expectations, I fear there will a lot of disappointment.

        • Joe Schmoe

          I disagree to some degree.

          Regarding coach, SHU ponied up and got him a seven figure annual contract. He should have no trouble getting an extension. He’s turned SHU program into a job that no one wanted (a job Pitino told him not to take) into a winner. Hes won awards and accolades while captain of the ship. He’s not going to get fired from the Hall now, at least not in the immediate future. And I dont think the upside from another school is out there. With regard to the talent, SHU is now a winner in the big east. Come here, play and succeed and build your brand. Look at Taurean Thomson. Chose Syracuse, 1st round exit from NIT. TT could have been the difference for a few more wins if he played in blue. just sayin. You think that thought crosses his mind?

          • fouline

            Joe, you ignore the fact that Willard’s best recruits are the product of his selling the 2 coaching positions. And the fact that he, we, SHU, didn’t get a bounce from last year’ BE title and land a PG. That’s not a good coach. That’s just a coach who is safe in a program that defines mediocrity.

          • RonD

            You continue to bring up negative bs. What you describe happened over three years ago, is perfectly within the rules and happens everywhere– just last week at Missouri with Counzo Martin. Do you ever give it a rest? Do you ever celebrate the success we’ve had over the past two seasons? Or do you just have an axe to grind with Willard? What ever the case maybe, it’s repetitive and boring.

          • fouline

            I don’t settle for mediocrity. You obviously do. The goal this year was to win a game in the Dance. Did we? If we had a PG maybe it would have helped. Why after a BE championship didn’t we get a bounce and snare a PG? I ask questions you are afraid to ask. B-O-R-I-N-G!

          • RonD

            Let’s see, mediocrity. Back to back 20 win seasons, hasn’t happened in decades; back to back NCAAs, hasn’t happened in decades; BET championship, hasn’t happened in decades; 3 BET semifinals in 4 years of the new BET. You are entitled to your opinion but most would consider that record very good. In fact what it shows is a once downtrodden program beginning to build toward a consistently good one. But I guess some people refuse to see it.

          • fouline

            And imagine where we would be if we had a coach who could recruit? And a coach who was a lot better at the xxxs and ooos. My point. If you really read my comments you would know that I’ve always said that the team is more talented than their record. That’s higher raise than winning a BE Title and a 2 year run in the Dance. It’s easy to wave pomp poms. It’s hard to really pay attention to the games.

          • RonD

            And how exactly do you know that the team is better than it’s record? What’s your coaching pedigree again?

          • fouline

            As I said, watch the games.

          • RonD

            I watch every home game from courtside. And it’s a fun team to watch.

          • Joe Schmoe

            36 of the 68 teams are on their way home before the clock strikes midnight the Friday after selection Sunday. Winning a game in the dance is hard.

          • Joe Schmoe

            I don’t think your commentary is fair. A lot of other people dont think it is either. Your still being a negative nancy after back to back 20 win seasons and two tourny appearances and a top 50 ranked organization.

          • Mosleyman

            You are certainly correct that the Hall stepped up in salary in ways they never did before. But according to USA Today, Willard’s compensation puts him 33rd in the country, with salaries only likely to go up. If he builds a resume like the one you describe, the upside jobs will be there and they’ll come knocking. Will we step up again? And now that he has 3 scholarships to work with, he’ll have a chance to prove what we both hope: that Seton Hall is the attraction for recruits that you say. But he hasn’t proven it yet. If he gets a quality PG and another strong big, that would go a long way to attract some of the class of ’18 guys. BTW, I hope he truly loves it here, ‘cuz I don’t want him to leave. I think he’s the best coach we’ve had in a long while.

          • LBP

            Mosleyman–
            I think ,as you do, that Willard is good for our School- he has a good relationship with his players; is a Gentleman ; well spoken ; and, gives back to the School and Students.
            I was surprised to learn that SHU has been to the fewest NCAAs of all the other Big East schools ( I believe this is the 11th appearance). KW has the program on a better track than many previous Coaches– I am pleased he is a part of the Pirate community

          • Joe Schmoe

            SHU didnt make its first tourny appearence until ’88…so its eleven of the last 30.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Considering that the Hall is prob a 33rd ranked team, I would say his current comp is commensurate with his performance. Im certian that his contract has escalators, if he wins the BET he gets a bonus, sweet 16 gets a bonus, ect ect

            Ive stated on a previous thread that his legacy will be defined on how well he replaces exiting talent. We need another monster class. we have the scholarship space now to do just that.

          • Mosleyman

            Again according to the USA Today, there are no bonuses associated with his compensation package, but obviously that might be subject to change. But in any case, I agree 100% with your comment about his legacy. It’s all about keeping it going, and that requires recruiting top-grade talent.

          • PadrePirate

            The cream of the 2017 crop is already committed elsewhere, but I am hoping that the high coaching turnover is enough to get a couple of de-commits looking our way. Staff needs to be very active at this point going after some of those guys. If Rasheed goes, that makes more than half the squad gone already, without Angel and KC’s fate having been clarified.

          • PadrePirate

            It certainly did cross mine (the TT part). It’s empty speculation at this point, but I think a strong back up at the 5 (cp. Rasheed) would have put us over the edge on a lot of close games. I’m amazed that teams like St John’s, Gtown and Cuse out recruited us last year.

      • ThePirateFan

        Wow. Those are lofty expectations.

        • Joe Schmoe

          If we aren’t in it to 1) win or 2) Improve so we can then win. then we ask why do it? Its like talking to an eagles fan. An eagles fan will tell you they are just happy with being competitive, in the hunt, looking forward to next year. Jets fans are entirely content with losing. A fan base without expectations results in terrible organizations. So if mine are lofty, what are they? In its short lifespan, the restructured big east brought back a national title. Seven schools went to the dance. SHU should be a part of that group every year. I certianly dont want to see another ten year+ three coach rebuild attempt. SHU basketball is back, we are contending, we were 9 seconds and one possession away from a chance to repeat as BET champs.(i think they would have beat Creighton). The athletic dept needs to Hazard Zet Forward and use these open ‘ships to get another monster class. Higher their HS coaches too…do whatever it takes.

  • VinBick

    The team played well enough to call it a successful season. With rare exception, this team was competitive all year long. Watching games live at the Rock is a great experience for college basketball fans. If you have not done so, put attending a game or two on your bucket list. The Seton Hall vs Rutgers game was an outstanding New Jersey event.

    More fan support will enhance the quality of the program. Step up and help the Hall continue to progress positively. You will benefit as much as the program does by doing so.

  • LBP

    Delgado and Carrington to enter draft but no agents hired–ok move by both– but doubt either will get too much attention–still think Angel may not return even if not strong interest from NBA