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Seton Hall Recruiting Notebook: Who's up next for the Pirates?

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the sports world to a halt, but that has not stopped college coaches from being active on the recruiting trail. Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard and his coaching staff have not been able to physically visit with recruits, but have remained major players in the graduate transfer market and with the Class of 2020 as they look to fill out next year’s roster. With graduate transfer season in full swing and some talented 2020 recruits still without a place to call home, there is plenty of opportunity for the Pirates to land a talented player or two before turning their focus to offseason workouts and the 2021 recruiting class. Darnell Brodie and Taurean Thompson have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, leaving Seton Hall with two open scholarships to work with. How will Willard and company make use of those scholarships? Let’s get familiar with some of the players the Pirates could go after.

Off the Board

Four-star 2020 PG Zion Harmon: The Kentucky native decided to stay home, committing to Western Kentucky over a group of finalists consisting of Seton Hall, Murray State, Kansas and Maryland. Harmon’s decision was believed to come down to Western Kentucky and Seton Hall, with Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers ultimately winning out. Sacred Heart graduate transfer F E.J. Anosike: Anosike released his list of finalists on Tuesday and Seton Hall did not make the cut. The East Orange native averaged 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Pioneers last season. Quinnipiac graduate transfer F/C Kevin Marfo: Seton Hall did not make the top 16 for the nation’s leading rebounder a year ago. Sources told The Setonian that there was initial mutual interest between the sides, but things never came to fruition. Wichita State transfer SG Erik Stevenson: Stevenson committed to Washington on Wednesday. Seton Hall was among the initial group of schools to reach out to the sophomore guard, but never made any headway. Stevenson averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season.

Graduate Transfer Targets

Harvard PG Bryce Aiken 2019-20 stats: 16.7 ppg, 1.7 apg Ever since he announced his intentions to transfer, Aiken has been linked to Seton Hall. The New Jersey native had the Pirates in his top three coming out of high school and a return to the Garden State could be in store after a prolific, yet injury-riddled career at Harvard. Durability concerns are the main issue with Aiken. He missed 18 games due to injury last season and a combined 31 games throughout his sophomore and junior seasons. Averaging 13 games per season over his last three seasons does not exactly indicate that Aiken is prepared to handle the rigors of Big East play. With that being said, Aiken averaged over 20 points per game as a junior, is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is a solid shooter from the perimeter. He is undoubtedly Seton Hall’s top graduate transfer target right now – one the entire fanbase is clamoring for. Columbia PG Mike Smith 2019-20 stats: 22.8 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.1 rpg It’s tough to fathom considering he averaged over 20 points per game and was one of the Ivy League’s best players last season, but Smith has flown under the radar from a Seton Hall perspective since hitting the graduate transfer market. The Pirates have been involved with him, but with so much attention on Aiken, it is unclear where they are positioned to land Smith. Like Aiken, Smith is a dynamic scorer. However, he possesses more natural point guard facilities, which would play perfectly into Kevin Willard’s offense. If Seton Hall misses out on Aiken or opts to go with Smith over him, it would be getting a guard who can come into the Big East and contribute from day one. Hawaii PG Drew Buggs 2019-20 stats: 9.4 ppg, 5.3 apg, 4.5 rpg Buggs hit the graduate transfer market late Wednesday night, instantly becoming one of the top point guard options out there. At 6-foot-3, Buggs has good size and is a willing passer. He can also get the job done calling his own number with the ball in his hands. Buggs would be a nice fit at Seton Hall, but it remains to be seen if the California native has any interest in finishing out his college career anywhere but on the west coast. UNLV CG Amauri Hardy 2019-20 stats: 14.5 ppg, 3.3 apg, 3.3 rpg Hardy is more of a combo guard than point guard, but his versatility and ability to play both on and off the ball could make him an impact contributor at Seton Hall. Hardy is no stranger to running an offense and being the dominant ball handler. He is also not shy when it comes to letting it fly from deep (33% from three last season). UNLV SF Jonah Antonio 2019-20 stats: 6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.8 apg Seton Hall was involved with Antonio as a junior college transfer last offseason. Now, Antonio is back on the market and the Pirates are interested once again. The fit is not apparent here, with Seton Hall’s roster loaded with wings. However, Antonio has a reputation as a sharpshooter despite his struggles last season (31.2% from the field, 31.5% from three).

Sit-Out Transfer Targets

Illinois SG Alan Griffin 2019-20 stats: 8.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 apg Eligibility: Sit one, play two Griffin was one of the best shooters in the Big 10 a year ago, firing at a 48% clip from the field and 41.6% from beyond the arc. He is the son of former Seton Hall player and current NBA assistant coach Adrian Griffin, which provides some intrigue. However, there are rumors that Griffin could wind up at Duke with his brother, A.J. Griffin, a five-star 2021 wing committed to play for the Blue Devils. Virginia Tech F Landers Nolley II 2019-20 stats: 15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.4 apg Eligibility: Sit one, play two Nolley is the lone frontcourt player on this list and is easily the best sit-out transfer currently available. He can play either on the wing or in the post, which would make him an ideal replacement for Sandro Mamukelashvili in 2021-22. Wichita State CG Jamarius Burton 2019-20 stats: 10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.4 apg Eligibility: Sit one, play two Burton is a hard-nosed player who has experience playing both on and off the ball. Seton Hall has offered, but it’s unclear how high of a priority the coaching staff is making him at this time. Pittsburgh CG Trey McGowens 2019-20 stats: 11.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.3 rpg Eligibility: Sit one, play two Another versatile guard, McGowens is both a shooter (132 three-point attempts last season) and a facilitator. He stood out on a bad Pittsburgh team and is an intriguing option to run Seton Hall’s offense. Binghamton PG Sam Sessoms 2019-20 stats: 19.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.8 apg Eligibility: Sit one, play two Sessoms played for one of the worst teams in the country last season, but that did not prevent him from shining on a nightly basis. The last time Seton Hall took a chance on a low-major transfer, it netted Quincy McKnight. Sessoms isn’t the same kind of player as McKnight, but there is a chance the Pirates could catch lightning in a bottle once again with a talented low-major guard.

2020 High School Targets

Four-Star Patrick School (NJ) center Adama Sanogo Sanogo is a 2021 recruit, but is likely to reclassify into 2020. Depending on who you talk to, Seton Hall is either near the top of Sanogo’s list or considered a fallback option. I don’t expect him to wind up in South Orange at this time, but crazier things have happened. Three-star Putnam Science Academy (CT) center Josh Gray Gray was a frequent visitor to Seton Hall games last season and boasts impressive size at 6-foot-11. He’s raw, but these are the kinds of recruits Grant Billmeier loves to coach up. He has the motor and physicality to be a solid Big East center. He just needs a little bit of refinery. Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at Find him on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.

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