Seton Hall will host D-III Baruch College in an exhibition at noon tomorrow in Walsh Gym. A preview of the contest and five things to watch for.
Unless something goes catastrophically wrong, the outcome of tomorrow’s exhibition is a foregone conclusion in the home side’s favor. That said, there are still plenty of story lines that make a morning trek up fall-ridden Valley Street/South Orange Ave on the way to Walsh Gym tomorrow worth it.
Five things to watch for:
How Kevin Willard handles his guards. We know that Isaiah Whitehead is going to be the man at point guard, but how will the skipper manage Khadeen Carrington and Derrick Gordon? Based on what Willard said at Media Day yesterday it looks like he will play all three as much as possible, but Seton Hall’s head coach also noted how well Desi Rodriguez and freshman Veer Singh are playing; two guys that can cause matchup problems if playing the three.
My best guess? If there’s two guards on the court, Desi or Veer will be at the three. If there’s three guards, they can perhaps play at the four depending on how some of Seton Hall’s forwards develop… which brings us to the next thing to watch for.
Development of forwards not named Angel Delgado. After being named Big East Rookie of the Year, it’s safe to say Angel Delgado is going to be a force in the Big East again this season and his production isn’t in doubt. It’s what we’re going to see out of guys like Fresno State transfer Braeden Anderson and a slew of reserve forwards in Rashed Anthony, Mike Nzei, Ismael Sanogo and freshman Myles Carter.
I’m rolling with Anderson and Ish to emerge out of that bunch, but there’s plenty of people who have their bets on Nzei and Carter. We’ll see who steps up, but Seton Hall needs at least two of the above forwards to make an impact this season with all the focus on Angel Delgado.
A dedication to defense. It’s been clear since the addition of Derrick Gordon – a lock down defender – that Kevin Willard will ease off the run-and-gun three-guard offense (not that he won’t play three guards) and have his team focus more on defense this season. He noted in a recent ESPN article on Gordon that he wasn’t able to replace Sterling Gibbs’ 16 ppg on short notice but that he could bring someone like Gordon in who could stop the opponent from scoring 16 ppg.
But those are just words right now. Seton Hall’s on-ball defense last season wasn’t that great, which in turn forced a sometimes over-aggressive Angel Delgado into awkward situation when dealing with guards that penetrated into the lane. When he wasn’t afraid of fouling and was focused, Angel was a very good defender for a freshman center so I’m optimistic that improvement from the guards, wings and an addition like Derrick Gordon will really help behind the ball.
The newcomers. They’ve all pretty much been mentioned by now, but I’m excited to see six new Pirates lace ’em up and play. Last season’s freshman class came with tons of hype – deservedly so – but there’s six new guys (if you count redshirt freshman Mike Nzei) coming into the fold this year too: Derrick Gordon, Braeden Anderson, Mike Nzei, Dalton Soffer, Myles Carter and Veer Singh. Gordon will make an instant impact and most of the pre-season hype is orbiting Veer Singh, but how about the others?
Dealing with college hoops’ new rules. In case you missed it, there are a handful of new rules for the 2015-16 season, most notably the reduction of the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. Personally, I’m most happy about the new restrictions on timeouts. Teams get one less timeout in the second half, any timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout goes straight to the media break (Willard frequently used this tactic to slow the pace) and coaches can’t call timeouts in live ball situations anymore.
I’d still want at least one less timeout per team, but this is certainly progress toward making games more watchable.