On Nov. 13, the Seton Hall women’s basketball program announced that it had secured the commitments of three recruits for the 2018-19 season. Femi Funeus and Whitney Howell, both Florida natives, signed National Letters of Intent to join the Pirates as freshmen next fall. Victoria Cardaci will also come to South Orange as a graduate transfer after finishing her degree at Clemson University.
Feneus, a six-foot-one guard from Plantation, Fla., has emerged as one of the best players in her home state. As a junior at American Heritage, Feneus averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds per game and was named the Sun Sentinel 2017 All-County small-schools Player of the Year.
Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella spoke highly of Feneus’s ability.
“What stood out to us most during the recruiting process of Femi was her outstanding versatility,” Bozzella said in a press release. “She is one of the most polished players I have ever seen at the high school level regardless of position. We think she is the type of player who can have an immediate impact in our program as soon as she steps on the court.”
As a six-foot-two forward, Howell will give the Pirates another post presence on both ends of the floor. In her junior season at Santaluces High School in Lantana, Fla., Howell averaged 11.4 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game. Her standout season earned her an honorable mention All-County selection and a second team All-Conference selection.
“Whitney is a tremendous athlete with a high-motor who already has proven to be an effective rim protector at the high school and AAU level,” Bozzella said in the release. “We are confident that her size and athletic ability will translate well to the Big East as her offensive game continues to develop.”
In recent years, Bozzella has placed an emphasis on adding high-level graduate transfers to insert maturity and veteran leadership to his rosters. Cardaci, a native of Holmdel, N.J., will attempt to fill that role on next year’s roster. In her three years at Clemson, Cardaci made 109 three-pointers and carved a role as a three-point specialist. The five-foot-seven shooting guard scored 6.1 points per game as a sophomore and 5.4 as a senior after making a total of 25 starts.
“Victoria is a tough, hard-nosed player who has battled throughout her career and had tremendous results,” Bozzella said in the release. “Her basketball IQ, toughness and shooting ability along with the experience that comes from playing in a conference like the ACC will be invaluable to our team in practice this year and on the court next year. I’m so excited to bring another one of New Jersey’s best players back home.”
Past graduate transfers under Bozzella include Daisha Simmons in 2014 and Shakena Richardson in 2015. This year’s graduate transfer, Donnaizha Fountain, has quickly become one the Pirates’ best players. Cardaci is sitting out this season to graduate early in December, thus allowing her to join the Pirates to practice in the spring.
“As a grad transfer, I will bring my experience of playing against the top teams in the country which will help me serve as a leader, especially while I’m sitting out,” Caradaci said. “I will work extremely hard to make sure that I am preparing not only my teammates for their games but also myself for the following season.”
Looking towards the 2018-19 season, Bozzella will again have an abundance of options at each position. The Pirates will also have a balance of youth and veterans, which could be huge when it comes to dealing with a schedule that consists of the powerhouse Connecticut Huskies a year from now.
Most importantly, Bozzella is establishing a culture with the recruits that he brings in and so far, most of those recruits have paid dividends for Bozzella and the Pirates.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lombardo_andrew.