Previewing the non-conference schedule: Rutgers

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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.
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  • 11yearplan

    Although this is the smallest intense rivalry in sports, I am glad they continue to play each other and I hope the men’s team continues to put those pink pony riders in their place and they inspire the other Pirate sports teams to do the same.

    There is a lot of talent in Men’s BB but, a lot of new players. They will need time to gel and the early games won’t be pretty, However, unlike past seasons, I believe they will continue to improve every time out and will be a force come conference play.

    Chris: Thanks for all you do.

    • VinBick

      Chris, a huge thank you for covering the Pirates for the diehard alumni and fans who see no coverage from the Ledger. The sports writers at the Ledger are obsessed with bashing the State University and completely ignore Seton Hall. It seems that the Philly Eggles get more coverage than the colleges in our state.

      • Thank you guys! It has always been my intention to fill the gap of coverage that Seton Hall has seen for quite a few years now.

    • PadrePirate

      Thanks for the hopeful outlook. Getting a little discouraged by these scrimmage games. A good win vs. Dartmouth will give these guys (and fans!) some needed confidence.

  • annamaria10

    Great work, Chris! Thanks!

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