Kevin Willard finally has his team. For the first time in his three year stint at the Hall, every player that is on the roster was someone he brought into the program. To some this might not be a big deal, but it is time to see what Willard wants to do as the Pirates' coach. If you want to judge Willard as a coach, this is the year you can start, not worrying about the previous two seasons.
Louisville's Rick Petino, who Willard coached under as an assistant for 10 years, has said that he has never had an assistant leave to take over a program with so many obstacles to overcome.
As successful as Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope were last season, at times it seemed like they were doing their own thing out on the court. After the team's 15-2 start, Theodore looked like he started trying to do too much on his own, not getting his teammates involved and with Pope, he just looked lost at times.
With the roster now only Willard's players, he knows they all came to the Hall to have him as their coach. This is instrumental in getting players to follow his system since they came here because they want to learn from him.
These players may have been unknown to the common fan, unlike the four or five star recruits. However, to Willard these rankings do not matter and has stated numerous times that each player is brought in for a specific reason. And now is the time you will really be able to see those reasoning.
The team, though without that one go-to senior leader still shows signs of promise.
Fuquan Edwin will finally be asked to be a bigger offensive presence after leading the nation in steals last season, and this improvement will be key to the team's success. Aaron Cosby, who is injured to start the season, showed great range his freshman year while Brandon Mobley showed that he has one of the smoothest mid-range jumpers in the league. Transfer Eugene Teague will finally give the Hall a true center with an inside presence that can make shots in the paint.
The team looks like they have the players with the potential needed to take that next step after last season, but the question remains if they can actually make that jump with such an inexperienced team without that one senior leader and lack of an experienced point guard.