Seton Hall set to kick off season against UMKC
The men’s basketball team will suit up for the first time as the Pirates tip off the 2012-13 season against the UMKC Kangaroos, Friday night. The Pirates are coming off a 21 win season while UMKC went 10-21 last season.
Head Coach Kevin Willard voiced his excitement to start the season, and his excitement to be playing quality basketball programs early.
“We’re really excited about it,” Willard said. “With such great competition from top to bottom it’s exciting. It gives us a great test early in the season to play four great basketball teams and get the recognition of being with these teams is something we are trying to do as a program and something we are looking to build on for the rest of the season.
The Pirates boast a fairly new look squad rolling in to this season. Five newcomers to the team could see court time this season. Transfers Brian Oliver and Eugene Teague will finally be able to get on the floor this season, after being held out last year per NCAA transfer regulations. According to Willard they should add immediate help to a young Pirates team.
“We have two guys who were sitting out in Brian Oliver and Eugene Teague,” Willard said, “who we need to get involved in our offense right away. Brian is a prolific scorer with great range and Eugene with his size is a great presence inside.”
Even with a new look team the Pirates have two returning players in junior forwards Fuquan Edwin and Patrik Auda who will be looked at by Willard to elevate their games and lead this team.
“Juniors Fuquan Edwin and Patrik Auda really have to step their games up.” Willard said. “Not only just scoring but their overall production; rebounds assists.”
The Pirates situation in replacing point guard Jordan Theodore isn’t an overall easy one, but Willard is confident in the guys he has to run point. Willard spoke very highly of freshman point guard Tom Maayan.
“We have a freshman Tommy Maayan who has stepped up and he is one of those point guards I love.” Willard said. “He is a pass first guard that’s very good at getting in the lane and getting everyone shots.”
As for the ‘Roos, they return four starters from a year ago but are still very young with only two seniors on the roster.
However, they did lose leading scorer Reggie Chamberlain to graduation after averaging 17.3 points per game last season and finishing seventh in the nation with a .471 3-point percentage. Junior forward Trinity Hall will be looked at to replace that scoring as the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 10.0 points a game last year.
With Willard at the helm, the Hall is 1-1 in season openers following last season’s 75-71 overtime victory over St. Francis (NY).
The game follows the women’s basketball season opener against NJIT with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Walsh Gymnasium.
Dennis Chambers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Valenti also contributed to this article.