Improvement wish list: What can each Seton Hall player do to improve?

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Now that the 2016-17 season has officially come to a close, it’s time to look to the future: What is one area that each returning Pirate must improve upon this off-season?

This wish list contains the caveat that Angel Delgado returns to South Orange after testing the NBA Draft process, as I’m sure that in itself is worth the weight of the entire list below.

Seven full months lie between college hoops junkies and the 2017-18 season, leaving us to speculate about recruiting, the NBA Draft, graduate transfers, and the non-conference schedule while Seton Hall’s eight returning scholarship players finish their spring semester and gear up for another off-season.

After a brief respite — some of the rising senior class apparently only took a couple days off following last season — everyone except for incoming freshmen will start working on their game ahead of the tiny blip in the distance that is 2017-18.

What do you think each player should improve on? I’ve made my list below.

Angel Delgado – explosiveness – It seems apt that we start with the anchor-like big man. As stated above, let’s assume Angel returns for his senior year in this exercise. Given that, the Domican’s most glaring weakness at both the college and professional levels is lack of natural athleticism and explosiveness. A more-consistent outside jump shot and improved free-throws are definitely tertiary items, but some sort of NBA-level strength coach may be what Angel needs — or perhaps he’s operating at peak levels.

Khadeen Carrington – awareness – Sure, a handful of end-game scenarios could have panned out differently to put him in Isaiah Whitehead’s category, but they simply didn’t. To name a few games at the end of the season, Carrington was willing to take big shots and try to make plays on his own against Villanova and Arkansas, but failed to execute; these were head-down “hero ball” type of plays which someone like Whitehead would be able to pull off. Carrington needs to work on what held him from converting to a point guard last summer: ball distribution and end-game awareness.

Desi Rodriguez — a leash – Similar to Carrington, Desi seemed to have a green light at all times this season except for being benched for the closing 12 minutes of the Villanova game due to a perceived lack of defensive effort. Perhaps a tighter leash is more of a request for Kevin Willard (though that infers Desi can’t regulate his own shots) when Rodriguez becomes too liberal on the offensive end, making the aforementioned defensive effort a close “1B” request. Desi is very capable at getting into the lane and dishing to a teammate — but he strays from this too much.

Ish Sanogo — offensive prowess – A litany of shoulder and ankle injuries no doubt affected his play this season, but Sanogo also lost minutes to Mike Nzei due to inferior ability on the offensive end. Ish is very good in a few areas, but 3 ppg for over 20 mpg is simply too low for a team without much depth. The most painful thing is that Sanogo got himself in handfuls of great opportunities to score, but just couldn’t converted some put-backs and lay-ups. He showed a few isolated flashes of a mid-range jumper, but the confidence clearly wasn’t there after the early non-conference schedule.

Mike Nzei — post strength — We already know that Nzei is one tough dude, but a concentrated effort to develop into a forward who owns the paint would be stellar. A few tacked on pounds of muscle and some more conventional back-to-the-basket moves would serve Mike very well as long as he can retain his strength which is the agility to slither around the paint for quick put-backs. Willard flirted with him at the ‘five’ a few times, but if he can man that role a lot more over the next two seasons, that would be huge for the Hall.

Myles Powell — consistency — This almost seems like a cop-out given Powell’s freshman status and the fact that he was coming off a pair of high school foot injuries that limited his practice time — perhaps you have some more-acute critiques of his game. Powell clearly has the outside range, he can score in a variety of ways within the paint, he was able to find teammates quite well, and even showed an above-average defensive nose for the ball as the season grew — leaving my wish list sort of barren.

Rashed Anthonydefense/shot-blocking — Players toward the end of the bench obviously have more things to improve on than the Angel Delgados of the world, so I think Rashed should lock into one or two things he must do at a higher level to gain more minutes. Forget shooting, setting screens, etc. — how about honing in on becoming a paint defender who will foul at lower rates and perhaps block a few more shots. This will serve Willard’s offense-for-defense substitution patterns and fit Anthony’s build well.

Eron Gordonpoint guard abilities — I’m sure Willard has already tinkered with this over the past few months, but it will be interesting to see if Gordon can develop any lead-guard attributes. Strictly looking at his future in South Orange, the two-guard spot is a log-jam between Powell, Carrington, and Myles Cale for at least the next season while there are currently zero point guards on the roster. Sounds like an opportunity.

  • ThePirateFan

    Fun exercise! My personal wish list-

    Angel – Improve free throws. Improving athleticism is a far taller task, and despite what most would have you believe “explosiveness” is something that can only be improved upon marginally. Free throw shooting is something that can be markedly improved with an offseason of dedicated training.

    Ish – Toss-up between finishing bunnies and free throw shooting.

    Kadeen – Develop the right. Majority of the times he goes right it’s one dribble, crossover, pull-up jumper. That’s not something he had in season’s past, so it’s good that he’s developed it, but if I know that then the other big east teams know it too.

    Desi – Meditate or something, IDK, but he’s at his best when he’s relaxed and motivated, and as an upper classman with a green light he better know damn well that the new blood is going to feed off of him. He’s got a responsibility to keep calm.

    Rashed – Lateral quickness. He’s so overmatched athletically that he can’t even get rebounds. If he improves his lateral quickness he can do two things better, maintain box outs when the ball doesn’t bounce directly to him and defend the pick-and-roll a little deeper into the paint.

    Myles – Consistency and court vision. Consistency will come with time (remember when these rising seniors were freshman? Yikes). Improved vision will net Ish and Nzei some easy buckets because he’s shown the ability to go by people. He put up a number of low-percentage lay-ups because he couldn’t dish it after getting into the lane. I suspect the game will slow down for him with a year under his belt and it will become easier for him to do. He also has shown the ability to handle the ball, I wonder if he’d be a better option to run point between him and KC.

    Eron Gordon – Agreed – opportunity galore. Put in the work.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think that Khadeem needs to improve his dribbling. He needs to get better at dribbling with his right hand.
    For Angel I would say free throws. Has to improve on that.
    Desi needs to work on his attitude. He gets too emotional when things don’t go his away. He could also improve on playing smarter and not always trying to have a big dunk. Laying it in is just fine.
    I hope Ish can develop his offense game and make himself into an adequate shooter. Would be nice to see him add a 10 foot jumper.
    I hope Nzei can put some muscle on. He just needs to get stronger to help his post game.
    Powell needs to be less streaky with his scoring. He had some games where he was hot, but other games he was ice cold.
    I hope Anthony can improve defensively. We don’t need him to score. Just play decent d for a few minutes to give Angel a blow.
    As for Gordon, hopefully he can become a viable option at PG.

    • Rich Ricci

      Actually, I really hope that Seton Hall doesn’t fall into the same trap once again of trying to turn Eron Gordon into a Point Guard because of a logjam at Shooting Guard. Point Guard is unquestionably the most important position in basketball at all levels, so just “putting” someone there because his natural position is loaded with too many players is not a viable solution for success and will only lead to mediocrity for the player as well as the team.

      In addition to physical attributes, such as quickness, strong ball handling ability and superior court vision, there are the natural qualities such as a “pass first” mentality and leadership skills, which someone is either born with or they aren’t and coaching will never change that. Even if a player is able to make the transition to Point Guard from another position, it won’t happen in the short timeframe of their college basketball eligibility, with the end result being a player not being allowed to play to his strengths which, in the long run, benefits no one.

  • hallstorm

    Well, my list would be as follows:

    Angel: free throws are most important as he will be double teamed all the time next season. It will also allow him to stay on the floor at the end of games if he can make free throws.

    KC – definitely ball handling, but that’s obvious. I would like to see him develop a tear-drop because he has trouble pulling up in the lane (how many offensive fouls did he have? It has to be in the double digits). A floater/tear drop would keep defenses honest and even allow him to perhaps dump the ball down to the low block if Nzei/Angel’s man comes to help defend.

    Desi-wow-I hate to be so critical, but where to start?….first, his defense is awful (it more or less cost the Hall the last 2 games of the season depending on how much weight you put on the last couple of plays by the opponent). I would also like to see him pass the ball more and FASTER-I hate the holding of the ball that he does. He also desperately needs to improve his free throw shooting-it’s terrible. The sulking just can’t happen next year and I look forward to seeing Williard yank him with some of the new talent that’s (I hope) coming next season if he mopes around on the court after a blown assignment/missed shot/upset at not getting the ball.

    Ish—I agree with his offense. He needs to at least be able to be able to score on put-backs and dump-downs. The blown lay-ups/dunks really add up and further keep him from even trying on offense. It became even more evident when he played injured.

    Nzei — develop an elbow jumper. I think he can really open up Angel’s game if he can actually score on the opposite elbow if AD can find him there if he gets double teamed. It would also expand his game and even create some nice opportunities for pick and pops if the screen and roll doesn’t work.

    Powell-not much to improve on from a really good freshman year. He will be called on for more scoring next year, so I can only hope he just understands when to shoot and when to look for a better shot.

    Anthony — anything he can contribute would be welcome.

    Gordon — chance to become maybe a defensive stopper and just someone who can handle the ball. I don’t even think he needs to be an actual point guard (that would be nice, but not necessary in my opinion), but being able to help bring the ball up and maybe give about 6-8 points off the bench would be nice if he could be the defensive stopper on the opposing team’s point guard.