Recruiting Roundup: 2018 class impresses; updates on Valdir Manuel, Austin Richie

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While Seton Hall’s season rages on, there is still work to be done on the recruiting front for the 2018 class and beyond.

Currently with three scholarships docked and one free for next year’s class, Seton Hall’s staff must carefully plan for the reloading process after the heralded senior class moves on in the spring.

Bruising three-star center Darnell Brodie of Newark East Side (N.J.) is taking a prep year at Montverde Academy (Fla.) to polish his skills for the next level, while scoring wing Jared Rhoden (#174; Our Savior Lutheran, N.Y.) and another New York native in guard Anthony Nelson (#171; South Kent, Conn.) round out the class.

First, an update on how the incoming class is doing, then a look at a couple of 2018 targets still in the mix.

After originally committing as part of the 2017 class while bouncing back and forth between East Side and Putnam Science Academy (Conn.), it was deemed that Darnell Brodie is the right fit for Seton Hall, but that he needed an extra year of development — along came Montverde.

There isn’t any footage of Brodie playing besides this brief clip, but he reportedly had a really good game just prior to Christmas; if you remember, Darnell made his original commitment on Christmas last year.

The latest on Brodie comes from Adam Zagoria, who spoke to the big man last month; Brodie reaffirmed that the prep decision was due to saving him from just redshirting as a freshman due to the depth in front of him at forward

Elsewhere, the most recent addition to Seton Hall’s class is scoring in bunches for The Bronx’s Our Savior Lutheran. Jared Rhoden has helped his school to a 12-1 record over the past month or so while posting point totals of 29, 19, 27, 21, 27, 22 and most notably 40 including a game-winning three to beat Putnam Science Academy 113-112. 

A Desi Rodriguez replacement, Rhoden looks much more dangerous from the perimeter compared to a younger Desi, but a bit less capable among the trees; Kevin Willard will have quite the set of scoring options on the wing next season between Rhoden, Myles Cale, and Myles Powell.

Finally, there isn’t much media coverage in the New England region, but it looks like Anthony Nelson is also putting up numbers for South Kent (team preview), who sport a 3-1 NEPSAC AA conference record heading into winter break; Nelson has scored 25, 26 17, and 11 in those games.

There are full length games (listed under basketball category) of South Kent in action here

While Nelson is listed as a 6’4 point guard, he has always been pegged as versatile and capable of playing at two-guard and on the wing, too. It remains to be seen how exactly that skill-set will translate to the next level.

Now for the prospective recruiting targets…

A top-150 local forward who has been talked about at length over the past months, Patrick School (N.J.) big Valdir Manuel has revealed in a recent interview that Rutgers and Illinois are recruiting him the hardest and that Seton Hall cooled their interest after he picked up a shoulder injury that kept him from representing Angola at a summer FIBA U19 event, but that they’re after him again.

With some question marks at forward next year given Taurean Thompson’s rustiness, and Romaro Gill plus Darnell Brodie’s readiness, it would make sense that the staff is keen on adding a second forward as part of the 2018 class.

Moving on, Bosco Institute (Ill.) small forward Austin Richie is an under-the-radar name to keep an eye on. An unranked 6-foot-6 wing, Richie received little college interest until some low-majors offers finally rolled in this summer from regional schools like Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.

Rumor has it that Richie put on a show at an AAU event this summer and it caught the eye of former Northwestern coach Fred Hill, who knows the midwest area more than the rest of the staff.

Richie was offered by Seton Hall in early October and took an official visit to campus last month, which included the Indiana game.

Lastly, another 2018 recruit at the Indiana game was 6-10 European import Giorgi Bezhanishvili.

If you’re immediately thinking of current freshman Sandro Mamukelashvili, a native of Georgia, you’re not far off. Giorgi is listed on some websites as a native of the country Georgia, but he does state in a workout video that he’s from Vienna, Austria. 

St. Bonaventure, Manhattan, and Hofstra have already offered the relatively unknown talent and Seton Hall appears well-aware of the type of player that has been dropped off in their backyard at The Patrick School.

  • LBP

    Going to be a very different Team next year–excited

    • VinBick

      Quite a makeover it seems. The pups in house already are impressive and the Hall will not have to start all over again to re-build as a Big East power. The loss of four studs is not easy for any team, though.

  • SHU95

    Thanks for that update Chris… While there will be a drop off next season, there is plenty of young talent there & on the way in. Program is in better shape now than it has been in the last 20 + years.

    • jimmyxx

      Plenty of young talent? There’s some, sure, but “plenty” is pushing it. Trouble is, Willard & Co. still can’t recruit New Jersey, and until that changes, they won’t be a consistent NCAA team.

      • Tong Po

        NJ media is fake news.. they don’t cover SHU enough.

        • jimmyxx

          What does that have to do with recruiting New Jersey?

  • Joe J

    Let’s not kid ourselves. Next year will be a major struggle. Cale, Mamu, Gordon and Walker all look overmatched and lost on the court at times. Who knows if Thompson is even on the team and in school next year as he has been missing the last few games and seems to have issues. Powell will be double teamed and shut down as the only legit scoring threat. It’s not going to be fun watching this team struggle in the strong big east. It’s all about this years team as a SHU fan.

    • LBP

      Joe J– The Frosh will not be Freshmen.They will not have to defer. They will be fast. Next year will be different but I look forward to watching a different style of BBall. Next year the pace should be run ,run and run. Walker and Cale will be a show in themselves.

      • Rich Ricci

        I couldn’t agree with you more, LBP! While this year’s team was expected to be fun to watch because of what we anticipated based on the last three years, next year’s team should be fun because they’re unknown, so things like seeing where the points will come from and who will emerge as the team leaders will be interesting to watch as the team’s identity is formed.

        Overall, it looks like the 2018 – 2019 will be a lot more athletic than the current team is and will most likely have more balanced scoring, which should make them harder to defend. In addition, having a true, or natural, point guard will make this team more efficient and possibly even more dangerous than any we’ve had over the past four seasons.

  • PadrePirate

    Thanks for the update, Chris. 2018 has all the makings of a rebuild year. Of course, there’s going to be a drop off when these seniors leave, but the bench guys have been surprisingly underwhelming. They do not look at all ready to compete at BE level.

    I’m starting wonder if TT will still be here next fall. I’m more surprised that our current success did not attract more high end ’17 and ’18 recruits, but all’s we can do is coach up the kids we’ve got. Here’s the 2018 picture:
    PG–McKnight, Walker, Gordon
    SG–Powell, Nelson
    SF–Cale, Rhoden
    PF–Nzei, Sandro
    C–Taureen, Brodie, Gill
    Given the uncertainty about TT, accepting that Gill is a project, Brodie unproven, and Sandro needing much more development, I’d use our last scholly on a PF/C, like Giorgi B, if we are late on Manuel.

  • cali jack

    When you graduate 4 seniors 3 of which are all Big East caliber players you’re looking at a rebuild.Even more reason to hope for a Big East championship and deep NCAA run this year.We can live off that for a couple years as the rebuild takes place.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Next year will be an adjustment. Will be difficult to replace our seniors. I think next year’s team go through some growing pains, but I look forward to see how the freshmen develop and see Powell emerge and Nzei take on a more leadership role.

  • Mike Walsh

    I went on record that Ish would be available for Creighton, I will stick my neck out again. Powell started off slow last year and made great strides in the latter half of the season, he has matured and is one of the best players on the squad. I predict that Walker, Mamu and Cale will make great strides this season. All three will hit the gym adding muscle over the summer and be ready to step up next year. Call me crazy, but, I don’t see a big drop off for next year.

    • Rich Ricci

      I agree, Mike! In fact, I just made a similar post supporting LBP’s comment.

      In addition to all that’s already been said, I have to believe that the 2018 – 2019 team will be better foul shooters as a team than this year’s squad, which should enable them to put opponents away earlier, making wins easier to come by. I also like the fact that they appear to have more interchangeable parts, which should allow Kevin Willard to have more flexibility in creating match-up problems for opponents and even create a little more depth.

    • LBP

      Mike– as Rich has said , we will have an opportunity for a whole new Team–with a different O and perhaps a different D. I am excited to watch Cale not defer and run the floor knowing that Walker and others will be keeping up.( think Team will look more like Creighton.) It will be fun to see what KW creates with superior Athletes. I worry less about points than I do about D. Next Years’ Team will get points but I do not think they will be from “pounding” the ball as much as we have seen from the last 3 years.
      There are just not a lot of shots available right now for the Frosh — the present Team has to labor to give M.Powell 12 shots a Game ( he took 8 v. Creighton). Fewer shots available make for hesitation when an open shot should be taken. Therefore , I am hoping that this Frosh Group works on D and hitting the Boards. Their time to shine will come soon enough.

  • Matt

    Why is everyone uncertain about TT? Am I missing something?

    • Pirate_Law

      I feel the same way. Figured it was huge we landed him after a successful freshman year playing in the ACC. Why the apprehension?

      • Matt

        The kid was getting big minutes for Syracuse and had some awesome games against some of the best schools in the country including Duke last year. I think he’s gonna be just fine.

        • Joe J

          The talent is definitely there. No question about that. It’s the personal issues. He left Syracuse for personal issues and now has missed the last few games with personal issues. That’s what makes him a question for next year. Something is not right with him.

    • PadrePirate

      Because he left his former team (Syracuse) for family reasons, and then was not present for a couple of home games at the Rock. It could be nothing, but just wondering if the family issues may linger. Chris mentioned him being rusty after a year off bball.

  • Mike Walsh

    Mamu will mature into one of the best forwards that Seton Hall has ever had. He is quick and handles the ball with great control for someone his size. He is young and trying to break into a senior laden lineup that has high expectations. I think that nerves have held him back, during the Creighton game he came within fingertips of several stops. The nerves will soon disappear and his instincts will take over.

  • 11yearplan

    Chris: Thanks for the updates.

    Guys: Too early to talk about net season. Enjoy the BE season, the BE tourney and hopefully and NCAA invite. The discussion can keep until the second Tuesday in April.

  • RonD

    Good update on recruiting but all fan focus is on this year’s team.

    There is more talent on this team than we have had in a generation: three 1000 point scorers, the nation’s leader in double doubles, an All American candidate, three potential All BE first teamers and elite defensive stopper.

    You are not going to replace that with freshmen and sophomores no matter how good they might be.

    Enjoy the ride this year.

  • VinBick

    Hey, guys. We have another BE battle on our hands today at the Rock, if anyone is interested. Let’s hope the team is focused on one game at a time to really produce THIS YEAR. Take time to smell the roses…..

  • PadrePirate

    Both Ponds and Lovett will not play tonight. Wild start to BE: Prov pummels St John’s, then Creighton pummels Providence today…