Injury-plagued season comes to an end
The Pirates ended their second losing season in three years under head coach Kevin Willard after a 75-63 loss Wednesday to Syracuse.
It was a season plagued with injuries from the start that led to a 15-18 record for the Hall. The talent that Willard saw in his team collectively never fully got to reach its potential.
“I usually don’t get emotional at the end of the year, but this one hurts because it was such a frustrating year,” Willard said. “I think I kind of knew how we could have been all year if we’d been healthy, and I feel bad for these guys because they really had to deal with a lot of negativity.”
Seton Hall played only one game the entire season with a completely healthy roster, which was on Nov. 12 against Norfolk state, the Pirates second game of the season.
Since then, the Pirates suffered injuries to nine players, six of whom were forced to miss multiple games.
“We took a vote who wasn’t hurt this year and I think Tommy (Maayan) was the only guy that didn’t get hurt, and he was coming off of ACL surgery,” Willard said. “So, I’m just proud of them. I really am. I hate losing, but I love these guys.”
On Nov. 21 the Pirates lost junior forward Patrik Auda for the season with a broken foot. Auda was expected to be a big contributor to the team, splitting time with sophomore Brandon Mobley.
In a season that was troublesome for the Pirates, there were a few bright spots starring offensive leader junior Fuquan Edwin, who averaged 16.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Edwin came in the clutch in the Hall’s most exciting and biggest victory against Villanova, sinking two foul shots before swishing a three leaving just 9.8 seconds on the clock.
Three games later, Edwin again propelled the Pirates to victory against USF in the first round of the Big East Championship. Down six with 1:35 left in regulation, Edwin rattled off six straight points to send the game into overtime and then the second round of the tournament.
The Pirates will lose two players from this year’s roster going into next season, graduate Kyle Smyth and senior walk-on Connor Laverty. Smyth started his career with Willard at Iona and came over to the Pirates for his final season.
“I think any collegiate athlete, when it comes to the end, it’s very emotional, and just all the emotions you run through five years in your head, everything that went on,” Smyth said. “Ending it with the guy I started off with, that really meant a lot.”
The Pirates will head into the offseason looking forward to getting guys healthy for their first season in a realigned Big East conference.
Stephanie Vedral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.