UPDATED: Sandro Mamukelashvili commits to Seton Hall

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Hours after his official visit to South Orange, 6-10 big man Sandro Mamukelashvili (Montverde, Fla.) verbally pledged to Seton Hall on Thursday.

A three-star recruit that Seton Hall’s staff thinks can contribute immediately next season in the mold of former Pirate forward Patrik Auda, Mamukelashvili officially visited Vanderbilt and South California last month before committing to the Hall this week; I’m told assistant Grant Billmeier was the point man here.

Mamukelashvili was born in New York City but largely raised in the nation of Georgia, which surely played a role in his recruitment considering Seton Hall’s past and current international ties.

Sandro joins Newark East Side (N.J.) center Darnell Brodie as part of Seton Hall’s 2017 class and will likely compete for time as the first or second forward off of Kevin Willard’s bench should Angel Delgado stay for his senior season.

UPDATED (4/24) — Kevin Willard had the following to say about his newest addition:

“We are very excited to welcome Sandro into the Seton Hall basketball family,” Willard said. “He is only 17, and yet he is a very skilled passer and ball handler, and he shoots very well for someone his size. It is clear he has been mentored by one of the more respected high school coaches in the country in Coach Boyle. We think he has a very high ceiling, and we are looking forward to coaching him and developing his potential.”

Seton Hall now has two open scholarships and no current point guards on their roster; it looks like Trevon Duval is headed to Duke in the wake of his mysterious Wednesday visit to the ACC school.

  • Fishjam

    LOVE it! MAMU can help in so many facets! Very excited for what he can do to help us this coming year but even more excited for the future of the Program. We are truly building something here. Should have our 3rd straight NCAA berth coming up next year. and now, with a strong nucleus of Powell, Cale and Sandro we are in position to sustain success after the game-changing class of 2014 finishes. With 2-3 more scholarships to give this year and another 4-5 to give to the 2018’s we have been working hard on for years, I feel really good about the state of the Program.

    • LBP

      As do I-For the Future of the program, Mamu a much more important recruit than Duval. Great job Coach Willard and your hard working Staff

  • Andrew Herbst

    So excited for Sandro. I love the versatility in his game. He can help spread the floor and create open looks good Powell and Cale. We have a nice roster to build off of for the next of couple years. Future is bright for this program. I’m already excited for next year.

  • PadrePirate

    I’d love to hear more from those who have seen him play. From the video, he looks more like a big 3 or 4 than a 5. No shots of him posting up in the paint. Mobley and Auda played a lot on the perimeter. I like the fact that he can take strong to the hole. Seems to have good hands like Chrabasz. Other than Angel, we did not get enough offensively from the other 4/5 guys (Nzei, Ish, Rasheed). Hope he can run the floor and play tough D. Nice get. Now just 2 PG’s and we’re in business. GO HALL

    • This is accurate. Don’t expect him to be Luke Fischer. Like Auda, perhaps he will bulk up and develop some moves inside, but his strength will be his ability to lose a 4-man that guards him, or if a 3 is put on him, he has superior size.

    • Fishjam

      He can play a multitude of roles. In Italy, he was much more of an outside player who can shoot, handle, make decisions and pass. At Montverde he was used more as a 4/5. He set a lot of screens and would pop out for open 3’s at times but he spent a lot of time on the low block to receive drive and dish passes and offensive rebound. He is an excellent finisher around the hoop. In HS, he played the Center spot in the 2-3 zone a lot defensively. He moves well laterally and challenges shots but will have some trouble with real big, physical post players until he gets stronger.

      The possibilities are endless. I think down the road, he can ideally play kind of a point-forward position because he is a really good passer/decision-maker and can shoot. Like you said he can play a bit like Chrabasz. Also kind of similar to Henry Ellenson

      • fouline

        Fish, what impresses me most is that he seems to be disciplined. He knows what to do and when to do it. This may be his biggest contribution to a team that plays a modified helter-skelter game.

        • Fishjam

          Good point Fouline. Our team has good athletes with good individual offensive skills but we lack guys who have high basketball IQ, court vision and good passing ability. The strong offensive teams in the BE like Nova, Creighton, Marquette, Butler, etc have these types of players.

          Adding Mamu is a good start and getting a PG or 2 will help also. I’m one of the few people who would be happy to add Peter Kiss for the same reason. I think both Myles Powell and Myles Cale can develop to be smart, versatile players also. I’d like to have players who can play positionless basketball with versatility and the ability to handle, pass, shoot and make sound decisions. Nova and other quality teams often put 5 guys on the court at the same time who can do it all. Too often we only had 3 scorers on the court and no one on the team was what I would classify as a good passer. Adding Mamu is a great step in the right direction.

          • fouline

            You’re right about the Bball IQ, Fish. And I would add athleticism. Traditional recruiting is not the way to go. I need a PG so I look at PGs and go all the way down the top 100, top 200, top 300 lists until I can get one. It makes no sense, especially today with so many DI schools doing the same thing. It would be a better bet to recruit for IQ and athleticism and train the recruit. Versatility is the key as you mentioned with regard to Nova. And a better way to build a team for now and the future.

      • PadrePirate

        Very encouraging. Look forward to seeing him on the court. We haven’t had a Chrabasz/Ellenson type of big man with a smart, versitile game like that in a long time, at least not in the Willard era. Hopefully he can add 20-25 lbs without losing athleticism/speed.

  • PadrePirate

    This video is older, but shows other facets of his game. Must be overseas somewhere.

  • SHU95

    Great pickup… Addresses a need & builds future. 2017 shaping up to be a nice Class…. One more area to address. Angel come back!!!

  • Bob Murphy

    This appears to be a really good get for SHU – both for ’17/’18 as well as beyond. I watched both highlight videos that are linked to in the comments. I guess the only question I have is – is he actually 6’10”? He does not look like he towers over anyone, but that could be camera angles and so on.

    I don’t know about the Auda comparison. This kid looks way more athletic than Auda did (again videos can be deceiving as he’s playing against HS competition). The one video where he handled the ball at the top of the key and passed to a cutter was very impressive. Obviously, as a highlight video, you see him making shots, but if he can be consistent outside, he can really create opportunities for Angel, Khadeen and Desi to get to the basket without a double off the 4 or 5. Looks like he has some skill with either hand in shooting, and looks like he is pretty strong – all good. He does appear to have the agility to play the 3 or 4. A 3 who is 6’10” and can shoot would be quite a weapon in college basketball.

    Congratulations to the staff – and also best of luck to Sandro – welcome.

  • Matt

    Very enthusiastic about this signing. A lot of potential and what I see is a foundation for the 18-19 class. We have two big men and two guards who can shoot. I am confident in the development of our front court when you look at how well Delgado has improved.

  • hallstorm

    I can’t be happier with this signing. I had been following his recruitment ever since he popped up on our radar about 6 months ago (and Louisville’s and SMU and Boston College as well). I love his game-he is a good ball handler, solid outside shooter and can drive to the hoop as well. He seems to possess a decent screen and roll game and has a nice drop step/spin move down on the blocks. I haven’t seen him post up yet, but I’m sure Billmeier can help teach him after AD leaves. Plus he crashes the offensive glass.

    Most importantly, he sees the floor really well, understands spacing and can pass nicely. I would see scouts rate his “Basketball IQ” as really high. I don’t know anything about his defense (I’ve seen a few blocks on some smaller guards), but he rotates help defense at least.

    Most importantly, he is a huge incentive for the ’18 players to play with him. This is an enormous signing in terms of transitioning to the ’18-19 class as he is a fantastic presence down low and I see him helping the younger guys with their understanding of the college game.

    • PadrePirate

      Thanks, hall. So good to hear from guys well versed in the HS/recruiting circuit about this kid, relatively unknown to the rest of us. If the TD recruitment turned out bitter, this sure compensates. Refreshing to have kids who commit on or right after their official, without all the drama and pomp of the 5-star crowd. I’m honestly sick of that star-type attitude from 18 yr-olds and am much happier signing local NE kids who really want to be here.

  • RonD

    Not that it means much, but I see Sandro as a higher rated player than three stars. Based on Kevin Boyle’s comments that once he got used to the game in the US, (he has only played one year in the US) he has really played well both offensively and defensively. Not only can he score in a variety of ways, but as the year has gone on, he’s shown the ability to compete rebounding wise and play in the paint.

    This is a huge recruit for SHU as everyone has noted- a 6’10” kid with skills out to the 3 point line just don’t come to SHU. Kudos to Grant and the entire staff. Just wondering what guys more tuned into recruitng and talent evaluation think about his current ranking. IMO, he projects out in college as much higher than 3 stars.

    • Fishjam

      Ron, I watch a lot of HS ball and players and Sandro is definitely a 4 star Top 100 recruit. Most recruiting sites see players during the AAU seasons and at showcase camps. Sandro did not play AAU as he only came to the U.S. in August and only participated in 1 camp.

      ESPN did not evaluate him at all as he still has no evaluation on their site. 247 has him at #104 and Scout has him as the #28 PF in the country. No question he would be in all the Top 100’s if he had played AAU ball.

  • LBP

    Kiss chose Rutgers and I think a good spot for him-the signing of Sando probably played a large part in his decision

    • Fishjam

      Solid pickup for Rutgers. I thought Kiss would have been a good addition for us but not someone we needed.

      The 2 UMass grad transfers are interesting, especially the PG. He was a Top 60 recruit and he’s a very versatile player. 6’5″ wiry PG, good defender, slasher and passer.

      We had Kevin Marfo and an athletic under the radar 2017 wing Malik Osborne visit same day as Sandro. We are still involved in a lot of different players for 2017 with 2 or 3 more openings. Will definitely add an immediately eligible PG and 1 or 2 players who fit the ‘best available athlete’ description. They could be any position, any class though I’d like 1 to be a traditional sit-out transfer so we have another player with some college experience to ease the transition after the 2014s graduate.

      • LBP

        Fishjam — I think you are Top 5 in Guys I trust to evaluate;however , I was never as high as you on Kiss. I just believe he is limited as an Athlete- I do believe he will have a good run at Rutgers but would not fit in for the Hall- particularly having to sit a year.
        I am confused about J. Walker- I really believe he should come to Hall and back-up this year with hope he can develop thereafter when I think the Hall will bring in some real competition for PG- maybe the staff believes he is just too small. I thought-even with Duval ( whom I was never high on for the Hall’s program -altho he is uber talented) J walker could develop and grow by coming in 2017.
        Is it that there is little faith in J.Walkers’ talent?

  • Marklemore84

    Do we have room for Jarreau, Greshman as transfers and a graduate transfer PG? That would set us up solid for next year and give us 3 top 100 guards in the back court for 2018.

    • Joe Schmoe

      there is always room for top-tier talent….that’s why schools have until 7/1 to inform current players if their contracts are going to be renewed or not.