According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Seton Hall assistant coach Dwanye “Tiny” Morton has decided to step down from his position on the Pirates’ coaching staff.
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) August 30, 2015
Braziller added that former player and assistant Grant Billmeier, who is currently an assistant at local school Fairleigh Dickinson, is a leading candidate to re-join the staff in place of Morton.
While Braziller added that Isaiah Whitehead is going nowhere, which makes the most sense at this juncture, the star guard did tweet this shortly after the news broke last night, although it can be completely unrelated.
Oh My ?
— Isaiah Whitehead (@IsaiahW_15) August 30, 2015
Whitehead had also tweeted “Big Year I’m Ready” with a short workout clip just 24 hours prior.
Morton’s departure from Seton Hall’s staff comes after just one year, with his role always being that of a mentor — instead of an in-game coach — for last year’s incoming freshman class, specifically Isaiah Whitehead, Desi Rodriguez and even Khadeen Carrington.
Making his first public statement on Saturday night, Tiny told Adam Zagoria via text: “I’m a teacher and I’m going back to teach. If Lincoln [High School] accepts me back, I will be honored. This is in no way a basketball thing.”
The coaching change comes very late in the off-season after Morton was spotted on on the AAU circuits watching Seton Hall recruiting targets during the July evaluation periods. Tiny has been active in the recruitment of New York City prospects like 2016 guards Cahiem Brown (Abraham Lincoln) and Rashond Salnave (Benjamin Cardozo), among others.
Morton’s loss affects the molding of Seton Hall’s younger players vastly more than it does in-game tactics as he was behind associate head coach Shaheen Holloway and assistant Fred Hill in the pecking order as far as actual coaching goes.
This reality was plainly seen whether it be during games or in Seton Hall practices. Morton was quite literally behind Hill and Holloway while barking out instructions to the players.
Further, not to throw Morton under the bus, but he was a bit all over the map when it comes to recruiting. I had heard a well-cited anecdote of how he was strongly recruiting a DMV-area player, who later landed at a local low-major after being close to committing to Seton Hall, but then the recruitment was basically taken over by Kevin Willard and Shaheen Holloway and nothing came of it.
Morton was also seen committing an NCAA violation, albeit a minor one, by publicly tweeting a comparison of a 2015 recruit to NBA player Brandon Jennings after watching the recruit during a midwest road trip last season.
For many people who cited Morton’s hiring as being strictly a power move to woo McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Whitehead to South Orange, his departure after just one year – instead of after the duration of Whitehead’s collegiate career – appears to validate this common claim.
Adding a local guy like Grant Billmeier, who was a two-time team captain at Seton Hall and is currently at Fairleigh Dickinson, to the staff would certainly bolster the ability to coach up forwards like Angel Delgado and the other youngsters.
Update (8/30, 9:30 pm): Seton Hall AD Pat Lyons confirmed to WSOU that Tiny is leaving and to expect an announcement tomorrow (see 2:14 here). “I think deep down he just felt more comfortable in the setting that he was [at] and we wish him all the best,” said Lyons.