If you thought a pair of giants had taken up residence in Turrell Manor, worry not. The 7-foot duo of Romaro Gill and Sandro Mamukelashvili come in peace.
Two of the three tallest athletes on Seton Hall men’s basketball team just so happen to be roommates in Turrell Manor. Gill is a junior center from St. Thomas, Jamaica, who measures 7-foot-2-inches tall, while Mamukelashvili, a freshman power forward from Tbilisi, Georgia, measures 6-foot-10-inches tall.
They share much in common, including their formidable size, their transition to American culture as foreign student-athletes and their love for basketball. And while some might assume based on their stature that these two would have difficulty sharing a cramped college apartment, Gill and Mamukelashvili concur that the situation could not be more the opposite.
“We have plenty of space; we even don’t see each other that much,” Mamukelashvili said.
Gill reiterated that surprising sentiment, saying that he and Mamukelashvili tend to bump into each other on rare instances, but truly enjoy living together.
With separate rooms, a common area and a kitchen, apartments at Turrell differ greatly from the suites found in nearly every dormitory at Seton Hall. It would be much more difficult for Gill and Mamukelashvili to avoid collisions if they shared a room, so their current accommodations give them both the flexibility and privacy to live their own lives, while allowing them to stay close friends off the court. Still, living in the apartment comes with its own hazards.
“I’m quite aware, now, to duck when I’m going through small doors,” Gill said. “And in the apartment, the roof is…high enough, so it’s quite comfortable.”
Gill, who is just a foot and a half shorter than the length of a Smart Car, faces the perils of glancing his head on smaller ceilings and doorways around nearly every turn both on campus and in Turrell. Slowly, but surely the center has learned to become aware of his surroundings.
The two players also have nothing but positive things to say about one another and their drive on the court. Gill, who may redshirt this season, can play a supporting role behind Angel Delgado, while Mamukelashvili could see significant minutes off the bench.
Head coach Kevin Willard said that Mamukelashvili could be a secret weapon for this team, singling out his “phenomenal” passing ability and growth as a shooter since joining the Pirate program. Willard also said that Gill’s size and speed on the floor could prove to be an asset for the team this year. However, their primary purpose right now is to provide depth to one of the strongest senior starting classes in the nation.
“I’m trying to bring as much as I can to the team, like my rim protecting ability; block all the shots I can, get all the rebounds I can, and hopefully, my contributions to the team will lead us to victory,” Gill said.
Gill, who averaged 5.2 blocks per game last season at Vincennes University in Indiana, is primed to learn from one of the nation’s best big in Delgado.
Delgado, no stranger to praise after averaging a double-double with 15.2 points and 13.1 rebounds last season, dished out some positive remarks himself in regards to the team’s newcomers.
“These guys are working so hard, and they deserve all the attention you guys give them,” Delgado said.
Delgado knows it will be critical for younger players like Mamukelashvili and veterans like Gill to step up for this team to ensure long-term success once he departs. He said that he pushes them harder in practice, but when it comes to playing one-on-one, they never want to accept the challenge.
“I always try [to get new players to face me individually], but they never want to play with me,” Delgado lamented. Still, he is hopeful that someone steps up to the challenge one day.
“[Delgado] always tells me I’m weak and [says] he just could destroy me in everything,” Mamukelashvili joked. “One day, I hope I can just play one-on-one with him and show him he’s the weak one now.”
Gill and Mamukelashvili are reverent towards their team’s elder statesman, and they prefer to take a learning role rather than engage Delgado one-on-one, for now. However, if Delgado gets his way and schools those two on the court, at least Gill and Mamukelashvili have a comfortable home to recover in.
Bob Towey can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BobTowey5.