For the past few seasons, Seton Hall men’s basketball has relied heavily on one part of its frontcourt – Angel Delgado. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award winner and all-time leading rebounder in Big East history took much of the load in the paint. This year, however, Seton Hall’s frontcourt is made up of depth with some new and old faces taking center stage.
Outside of Delgado and Ismael Sanogo, it was Sandro Mamukelashvili and Michael Nzei who played a part down low. With each averaging less than four points-per-game, though, the duo will need to step up in the new system.
Nzei will be the most experienced player on Seton Hall’s roster this season. After playing a backup role, he will now take on a starting role as well as one of leadership, being surrounded by young talent.
Mamukelashvili had a freshman season where he was able to gain experience under the senior core. However, this year there will be more emphasis on production rather than familiarity. The mobile forward can spread the floor for the Pirates and battle down low. Now that he can handle the ball, Mamukelashvili has added a lot more to his game.
Nzei mentioned how the sophomore was able to take the ball up himself in the team’s scrimmage against Boston College on Oct. 27.
“He’s always been like that but it’s just sometimes being on the team and having a set role,” Nzei said.
Taurean Thompson is another name that Pirates fans will soon get used to hearing. The sophomore transfer from Syracuse comes in with athleticism and a fast style of play. After averaging 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds for the Orange, including multiple double-digit scoring performances, Thompson will look to add toughness down low for Seton Hall.
Another player that offers something that Seton Hall has not had recently is Romaro Gill, who is a dominant rim protector. The junior transfer sat out last season due to eligibility issues.
Freshman Darnell Brodie also has the ability to dominate in the paint with his size. It will be a year of learning for Brodie, but he should not be forgotten for the different role he can play down low.
“Right now, we’re a solid nine deep,” Kevin Willard said. “I think I would be confident going ten deep right now.”
After a year that heavily relied on senior leadership, the young roster will make teams need to prepare for plenty when arriving in Newark. With five new faces coming in the frontcourt, there will be weapons of all types to deal with near the net.
“I think this year we’re not going to be so dependent on one person,” Willard said. “We still will go inside but we won’t have to be so dependent on that on both ends.”
The young talent of the Pirates will be on display early and often, and the frontcourt will be a key part to Seton Hall’s success this season.
Keith Egan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.