After final exams ended last May, the more than 5,000 members of Seton Hall’s student body went in different directions. Some returned home to other states or countries, many spent the summer months at jobs or internships, and others got some much-needed rest and relaxation. For the men’s basketball team, however, summer was just another season in the yearly grind of being a Div. I athlete. In addition to the usual summer league circuit and practice sessions in the rec center, the basketball team spent 10 days in Italy from Aug. 7 – 16.
The team visited the historic cities of Venice, Florence and Rome and played two exhibition games while abroad, defeating Italian select squads Da Ground and Peak Warriors by convincing margins. The Pirates beat Da Ground by a final of 83-54 in Pisa on Aug. 11 and took down Peak Warriors 108-49 on Aug. 14 in Frascati, a city 15 miles outside of Rome.
Leading the way for the Pirates was Sandro Mamukelashvili, who scored 21 points and added 12 rebounds in the first game and finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in game two, averaging 19 points-per-game and 11.5 rebounds-per-game for the trip.
Myles Cale was excellent as well in the second game, scoring 17 points, including five three-pointers. Cale, often overshadowed by Myles Powell, averaged 13 points-per game on the trip.
Ike Obiagu, a 7-foot-2 center who sat out last year after transferring from Florida State, started both games in Italy. Obiagu averaged 10 points per game and shined in the second game, dropping 16 points and snagging six rebounds. Jared Rhoden, who suffered from in-game lapses in 2019 but came up clutch in key wins over Miami and Villanova, among others, was held out of the first game but dropped 15 points in only 10 minutes in the second.
Romaro Gill, Seton Hall’s second seven-footer, had 13 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks in game 2 and Anthony Nelson started both games at point guard instead of Quincy McKnight and averaged nine points and six assists per game.
Additionally, the Pirates received contributions in Italy from McKnight, Taurean Thompson, and Shavar Reynolds, as well as intriguing freshman Tyrese Samuel, and transfer Takal Molson, who will sit out the upcoming regular season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Returning First-team All-Big East selection Myles Powell and sophomore forward Darnell Brodie sat out the trip. Powell did not play in the games in Italy after a busy summer that included NBA workouts and the Pan Am Games, and Brodie stayed in the states due to a non-basketball related issue.
After a summer trip to Italy, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team, like the rest of Seton Hall’s student body, returned to campus for a new year, eagerly awaiting a challenging non-conference schedule and trying to live up to immense expectations for the 2019-2020 season.
Matthew Collins can be reached at email@example.com Find him on Twitter @Matt98533108.