Seton Hall Recruiting: Staff balancing post-season departures, massive 2017 crop

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As Seton Hall’s off-season starts to set in, the spotlight shifts from the hardwood to the recruiting trails as Kevin Willard and his staff aim to add to their young core while balancing the professional future of Isaiah Whitehead and other potential departures from the roster.

Following a grueling season during which recruiting updates sometimes get lost or overshadowed, I’ve refreshed my handy Seton Hall Recruiting Map and have compiled a behemoth of a recruiting update below, due to popular demand.

Late 2016 additions that are considering Seton Hall, new 2017 names that surfaced over the past few months and various other updates have all been included — with my thoughts at the end. If you think I’ve missed someone or something, please let me know in the comments section.

Class of 2016:

In addition to 2,000-point scorer and Seton Hall signee Myles Powell (South Kent, Conn.) joining the team this summer as one of the best shooters in his class, the Hall still has irons in several fires with the likelihood of additional scholarships opening between now and November;  from what I’m hearing, at least two openings is highly likely. The final signing period for seniors spans from April 13th to May 18th.

The biggest name — in more than one way — is Brewster Academy (N.H.) and former St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Taurean Thompson. Currently considering Syracuse, Seton Hall, Georgetown and Providence, these four schools that have been listed by the big man for quite some time now; the Orange and the Hall are thought to be the favorites.

Syracuse has its obvious advantages including this year’s improbable Final Four run, but senior center Dajuan Coleman plans to return next year by getting a year of eligibility back for an injury and the impending retirement of Jim Boeheim are two glaring drawbacks. An imposing center at 6-foot-9, playing time in South Orange may be easier to come by if Taurean can leap frog Braeden Anderson and Rashed Anthony in the depth chart — if both are still on the team next semester.

Thompson visited campus unofficially in September with 2017 point guard Isaiah Washington and also attended the Georgia and Wichita State games this season; Shaheen Holloway is putting in work here. After a slew of early predictions that favored Syracuse, the most recent 247Sports Crystal Ball entry comes from well-respected analyst Jerry Meyer, who thinks Taurean will end up in Jersey.

The second prominent 2016 name still on the board is combo guard Eron Gordon of Indianapolis Cathedral (In.), younger brother of NBA star and former Hoosier Eric Gordon.

Eron officially visited Seton Hall back in October and still has the Pirates on his mind as seen in his NCAA bracket.

According to the IndyStar, Butler, Marquette, Ole Miss and Arizona State are also in the mix with the Bulldogs being the most recent to offer and possibly a favorite at this point. Shaheen Holloway is heavily involved here as well.

Moving on, senior forward Bourama Sidibe of St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) could be a viable plan ‘B’ if Thompson falls through.

Offered by Seton Hall in September and spotted at at least three games this season, the caveat here is that Sidibe might have to reclassify to 2017 based on his SAT scores; Arizona State, Memphis and VCU are also at the forefront of his recruitment.

Class of 2017:

First and foremost is a commitment that may have flown under the radar.

2017 two-guard Myles Cale of Appoquinimink (Del.) pledged to the Pirates in the midst of their magical late-February and early-March run. Cale made the trip up from Delaware twice to see the Wichita State game and then the upset of Xavier before upgrading to an official visit in the days before the Big East Tournament, a great time for any recruit to visit.

Days later, Myles would announce his commitment as Seton Hall was busy putting on a show in the Garden. He was also being recruited by La Salle, Temple, Xavier, Maryland and others.

A 2017 point guard from Evanston, Illinois, Nojel Eastern looks to be at the top of Seton Hall’s wish list. On their radar since before an offer that came last February, Kevin Willard made sure to watch Nojel play while on the season-ending road trip to Butler and DePaul at the beginning of March.

Eastern’s stock didn’t have a chance to rise last summer on the AAU circuit due to a dislocated ankle but he has blossomed since then and will surely get a handful of more high-major offers this summer; USC is the latest to offer him a ‘ship, joining Xavier, Northwestern, Iowa State, DePaul, Marquette and others.

Based on his track record and stint at Northwestern, it’s likely that Fred Hill is playing a role in the recruitment of the Meanstreets (AAU) product.

Looking more locally, 2017 forward Andre Rafus (Roselle Catholic, N.J.) is a top-100 prospect right in Seton Hall’s backyard after relocating from his native Baltimore.

A familiar face at several Seton Hall home games this season, Rafus has all the big dogs after him including none other than Kentucky, who have swooped in over the last few days. Like Isaiah Briscoe, it looks like Sha’ has another battle with Coach Cal on his hands for a Roselle Catholic kid; Grant Billmeier is also involved here.

“Coach Sha is my guy,” said Rafus in an interview with Scout.com. “He calls and texts me almost every morning.”

Rafus is setting up visits to Kansas, Seton Hall, St. John’s, possibly Kentucky and other high-majors that have offered.

Another top-100 junior on Willard’s hit list is 6-foot-5 guard Brandon Randolph of Westtown (Pa.). Teammates with several other targets (though not recently linked) including forward Mohammed Bamba and Najja Hunter, Randolph is the primary target of the three having visited campus after taking in the Xavier game in late February.

Offered in January, Randolph is also getting serious looks from Villanova, Xavier, Louisville, Marquette and other high-majors.

Joining Randolph as a Philly-area prospect is 2017 Imhotep Charter (Pa.) guard Daron Russell. Temple, VCU and Seton Hall seem to be the primary players right now; Russell was offered by Seton Hall in September, was at the Rock for Wichita State and told Scout.com in February that the Hall is one of his primary recruiters.

“I really like Seton Hall because they are always texting me and staying in touch,” Daron told Scout’s Brian Snow. “They tell me what they see in my game, and what I can improve on. Also Coach (Kevin) Willard is a really good guy.”

One of the more unique targets in this class is forward Moustapha Diagne of Northwest Florida State College (Fla.), a junior college player. If his name is familiar it’s because Diagne was a one-time Syracuse commit from Pope John XXII (N.J.) who never had the chance to lace ‘em up due to his eligibility.

Still very much in contact with Syracuse, Diagne attended the Wichita State game in December and is also involved with Oklahoma and Providence.

Not the first nor last point guard being targeted in 2017, Oak Hill floor general Matt Coleman is another emerging name on the recruiting trails. Offered last July, Coleman told SNY.tv that Texas, Arizona, Seton Hall, Indiana, Florida and N.C. State are the schools in constant contact with him.

Yet again, Holloway is doing the heavy lifting here: “[He] shoots me a text at least two times a week just making sure that we still stay in touch. He says, ‘Matt, we need a lead guard like you. We get a guard like you, we could do something.'”

Aforementioned St. Raymond (N.Y.) point guard Isaiah Washington is another prospect being linked to Seton Hall. 6-foot at best, Washington was also offered last July, visited campus unofficially with Taurean Thompson in the fall and was at the Georgia game; Isaiah told Scout.com in January that Seton Hall is one of his more prominent recruiters.

Continuing with even more local kids that the Hall is hounding, guard Matt Turner (Blair Academy, N.J.) received an offer in October — his first from a high-major — after visiting campus for the Blue & White scrimmage. Turner is a N.Y. Lightning kid, just like Veer Singh, Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado before him and attended the Georgia game this year.

Matt told Adam Zagoria in November that he’s very fond of Kevin Willard and how he cultivates his guards. 7-foot center and teammate Deng Gak was also offered in October.

Now a junior at Roselle Catholic (N.J.), Nate Pierre-Louis was originally offered back in September of 2013 and was scouted as early as middle school by… you guessed it: Coach Sha. A combo guard who is developing point guard skills, Pierre-Louis was at a handful of games this year and is hearing from SMU, UConn, Purdue, Miami, Providence and others as of February.

Yet another local guy, St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) guard David Beatty is a relatively new name on Seton Hall’s radar. With offers from Memphis, VCU, Kansas State, Miami and other respectable programs, Beatty hasn’t had much recruiting activity since his October offer from Seton Hall; he attended the Georgetown and Xavier games in February.

Like Beatty, 6-foot-8 forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree of Philly’s Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) is a new name. Cosby-Roundtree reportedly had an impressive junior season after starting organized basketball as an eighth-grader and looks to be somewhat of a late-bloomer.

Dhamir visited Newark for the Wichita State game and as of January is primarily being recruited by the Hall, Villanova, Syracuse, Miami, VCU, Temple, Old Dominion and Monmouth.

Probably a low priority prospect at this point, 6-foot-8 stretch forward Taylor Funk (Manheim Central, Pa.) was at the Rock for the Xavier game but doesn’t have an offer from the Hall, only locals like Monmouth, Rider, Saint Joseph’s and La Salle. Check out a detailed profile on him here.

Finally a recruit not in the Hall’s backyard, junior wing Christian David of Vermont Academy (Vt.) sounds a lot like Veer Singh and was offered by Kevin Willard in January, his most recent ‘ship.

Class of 2018

Finally moving onto future prospects that will be juniors in the fall, there are five guys that you should remember.

Hudson Catholic (N.J.) guards Luther Muhammad and Jahvon Quinerly along with top-10 Roselle Catholic (N.J.) big man Naz Reid have all attended multiple games this season and join up with Pope John XXII pair Atiba Taylor Jr. and Louis King to form a ‘Big 5’ in 2018 that Sha has offered over the course of last year.

It’s too early to tell where these guys are leaning, but any sort of package deal for the Team SCAN squad would be immense. With Kentucky and every other program in the country after him, Naz Reid is the top prospect of the bunch.

Another Westtown (Pa.) kid in five-star wing Cameron Reddish has been offered in addition to his teammates while local guard Jalen Carey was offered in January prior to attending the Georgetown and Xavier games; Jalen filled up the box scores at Montclair Immaculate (N.J.) as just a sophomore and is coached by Jimmy Salmon of the NJ Playaz (AAU). Offers from Rutgers, VCU and others immediately followed the Hall in early January.

My thoughts

As I’m sure you know, a lot of the 2016 recruitment depends on the what becomes of Isaiah Whitehead (NBA draft), Jevon Thomas (discipline) and any reserve players that leave the team.

There is a roughly-used phrase regarding scholarship situations that “things tend work out” and that looks to be the case regarding incoming kids and Seton Hall’s zero currently open scholarships.

Eron Gordon (combo guard) and Taurean Thompson (power forward) are the two primary reinforcements, but I’m sure Seton Hall will test the immediately eligible transfer market too — Derrick Gordon’s addition was a massive success.

Looking to 2017, Kevin Willard and his staff finally have some success to sell and they’ve made themselves known with a ton of highly rated local kids along I-95 from Philly to New York. This summer into early fall is a crucial period for scouting these rising seniors as a lot prefer to make decisions prior to their senior seasons. I’d guess that a point guard and post forwards are the high priorities here.

As you can tell from reading, Shaheen Holloway has his name all over this article, without any embellishment from me. He’s certainly ready for a low/mid-major job recruiting-wise (I can’t speak from X’s and O’s perspective), so it will be interesting to see how much longer he remains a major asset for Willard.