In the second (official) installment of the Garden State Hardwood Classic, Seton Hall will look to replicate last season’s 81-54 blowout of in-state rivals Rutgers.
After starting last season 10-7, Rutgers really struggled in a brutally tough Big Ten and lost their last 15 games. Now without a pair of key seniors in Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack, the Scarlet Knights will likely find themselves near the basement of the league again.
Roster subtractions: Myles Mack (13.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 4 rpg), Kadeem Jack (13 ppg, 6.4 rpg), Junior Etou (7.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Malick Kone (1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg), Kerwin Okoro (2 ppg)
Returnees to watch: Bishop Daniels (8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 apg), Greg Lewis (5.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Mike Williams (6.3 ppg), Shaq Doorson (1.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg), DJ Foreman (3.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Key additions: Omari Grier (7.9 ppg), Corey Sanders (PG), Deshawn Freeman (JuCo PF)
If Rutgers is to improve in Eddie Jordan’s third season, they’re going to require a ton of help from three newcomers.
Highly-touted freshman point guard Corey Sanders looks like he will be handed the reins from day one, replacing a true Scarlet Knight in Myles Mack. A lot of pressure will be on the top-100 recruit who will surely endure growing pains.
At forward, versatile junior college forward Deshawn Freeman, a one-time Hall recruiting target, will need to shoulder part of the burden of losing forwards Kadeem Jack and Junior Etou (transfer). Freeman will team up with senior center Greg Lewis, DJ Foreman and raw but massive sophomore Shaq Doorson.
Rutgers’ last significant addition is Bradley departure Omari Grier, who joins the team via graduate transfer. A 6-foot-4 wing, Grier brings plenty of experience and will compete with sophomore shooting guard Mike Williams, freshman wing Jonathan Laurent, and Bishop Daniels.
Looking at the KenPom graphic on the right, it seems clear that Eddie Jordan is going to give minutes to anyone who can put the ball in the basket. Rutgers failed to reach 60 points in 11 conference games a season ago and loses their only two players who averaged in double figures.
Rivalry or not, Seton Hall should win by at least 10 again this year; Rutgers projects to be one of the worst power conference teams in the country (preseason KenPom rating of 223). Don’t forget Isaiah Whitehead’s breakout 25-point showing at the Rock last season.
Miss the rest of the Preview Series? See below:
- Seton Hall hosts Ivy League foe Dartmouth on opening night
- Wagner comes to Walsh Gym in final tuneup before Charleston Classic
- Hall faces Long Beach State in all-important first round of Charleston Classic
- A look at the rest of the Charleston Classic field, including top-10 Virginia
- The Hall will look for revenge against a tough Georgia team after Charleston
- George Washington will be a tough opponent again this year