There were many times last sea- son where red-shirt senior Eugene Teague was called upon to shoulder the load for the Seton Hall frontcourt.
This season the big man in the middle is going to get by with a little depth and his friends.
“It’s a great thing to have in the back of my head,” Teague said. “Knowing that we have other guys in the interior and down low and the fact that I’m not the only one down there feels good.”
Redshirt junior forward Patrik Auda and senior center Aaron Geramipoor each had their junior campaigns hindered by foot injuries in the early part of the season.
Geramipoor eventually came back and helped his team in the Big East Championship tournament, but Auda’s broken foot ended his season in November.
In Saturday’s 67-49 exhibition win over Caldwell, Auda had six points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes. The game marked the first game action Auda has seen in nearly a year. “I’m really excited to be back on the court,” Auda said. “Especially with this team we got now.”
Geramipoor has been plagued by various injuries dating all the way back to his freshman year when he missed the first 15 games of the season with mononucleosis.
“I got a lot of personal goals for this year,” Geramipoor said.
“I got a lot of personal goals that I haven’t met during the years because of my injuries or illnesses or whatever you want to call it.”
Another name returning from an injury-stained season is junior Brandon Mobley.
Mobley averaged nine points and 5.5 rebounds per game in a season where he missed some time with a shoulder injury.
The 6-foot-9-inch power for- ward is anxious to show that the injury could not keep him down. “It’s time I show all the hard work that I put in this summer and offseason,” Mobley said.
The Pirates welcome a number of transfers and freshmen to the club.
But while a lot of attention was focused on the new talent in the back court, the inside post presence also got its boost.
Junior Stephane Manga, a product of France and transfer from Monroe College (N.Y.), is a bull down low and will use his 6-foot-6-inch, 230-pound frame to move people around in the post.
“I’m a hustle guy,” Manga said. “I’m good on rebounds and fast breaks.”
Manga averaged 14.9 points and 5.7 rebounds for a Monroe College team that finished 24-8 last season. Coming from the junior college ranks, Manga is looking forward to proving what he can do in a powerhouse conference such as the Big East.
“I’m very excited,” Manga said. “I’ve been waiting for this and I’m ready to step up and play.”
Poised and ambitious, the Pirates’ ability to boast some depth down low in the paint is a luxury they can finally afford.
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at email@example.com. edu.