Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
When Seton Hall started last season 15-2, NCAA Tournament thoughts were dancing through their heads. The Pirates couldn’t finish the season as they started though and missed out on the tourney. This year, Kevin Willard faces the tall task of replacing seniors Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope who were the leaders both on and off the court last season.
SETON HALL PIRATES
Last Season: T-9th, 8-10 in Big East, 21-13 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 15th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Gene Teague (Jr)/Patrik Auda (Jr)Kevin Johnson (So)/Aaron Geramipoor (Jr)
F: Brian Oliver (Jr)/Brandon Mobley (So)
G/F: Fuquan Edwin (Jr)
SG: Aaron Crosby (So)/Kyle Smith (Sr)/Haralds Karlis (So)
PG: Freddie Wilson (So)/Tom Mayaan (Fr)
Gone: F/C-Herb Pope, PG-Jordan Theodore, PG-Sean Grennan (transfer-Fairfield)
Theodore and Pope were the driving force for the Pirates a year ago and now the question becomes who steps into that role this season. Fuquan Edwin will likely be looked at to assume the go-to scoring spot. He has also been known for his athleticism and ability to defend but really improved as an all-around scorer during his sophomore campaign.
After sitting out last year, Georgia Tech transfer Brian Oliver becomes eligible. Like Edwin, Ollver is a versatile wing who can play several positions and must pick up some of the scoring slack left behind by Theodore and Pope. It will be interesting to see whether Willard uses Oliver as a sixth man or utilizes a smaller starting five by putting he and Oliver at the forward spots.
Aaron Crosby was solid during his freshman season and will return as the starting two guard. Iona transfer Kyle Smith is the lone senior on the roster and becomes immediately eligible since he graduated and will pursue his graduate degree at Seton Hall. He played for Willard at Iona and will serve as a sharpshooter off the bench. Haraldas Karlas gives Willard another option off the wing.
Freddie Wilson could determine whether the Hall is a bottom feeder in the Big East or possibly a middle of the pack team. As a freshman, Wilson played sparingly
behind Theodore but is expected to take over at point guard since Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs was denied a hardship waiver by the NCAA and must sit out this season.
For the Pirates to have any chance of making noise, Wilson must tremendously elevate his game and not suffer any major growing pains while transitioning to the starting line-up.
Israeli freshman Tom Mayaan will also factor into the equation and is the fourth foreigner from Canarias Basketball Academy on the Hall roster. Mayaan is coming off ACL surgery and more a true distributor than Wilson. Crosby could also see some minutes at the one as well.
Up-front, Seton Hall adds Southern Illinois transfer Gene Teague and Kevin Johnson who both sat out last season. Teague is a big body inside at 290 pounds and averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore at SIU. Johnson was academically ineligible last year and is a bit of a project but could be a factor due to his rebounding and shot blocking ability.
Patrik Auda, Brandon Mobley, and Aaron Geramipoor will also factor into the mix inside. After missing the first nine games of his freshman year due to a shoulder injury, Mobley came on strong as last season progressed. Auda started most of last season but could see his PT decrease with the arrivals of Teague, Johnson, Oliver, and development of Mobley. Geramipoor will likely be used sparingly.
Seton Hall has decent depth and talent on their roster but a lot of questions. How will the transfers mesh with the returning players? Can Edwin become the Alpha Dog? Who will replace Theodore at the point? Will all that uncertainty, the Pirates fall low on my rankings. If all the pieces come together though, the Hall could end up surprising people.
Player to Watch: Fuquan Edwin
I am a fan of Edwin’s game. His improved perimeter shooting and ability in transition makes him a dual threat. Edwin has pro potential and if he can continue to take his game to the next level and embrace his new role as the go-to guy, it will help Seton Hall tremendously.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Washington (Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. Ohio State/Rhode Island (Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
11/29 at LSU (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/8 at Wake Forest
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks