Blackjack's Blog: Pirates Fans Sounding The Alarm. Time to Panic?
(Photo Courtesy of Bob Dea at Daly Dose of Hoops. Photo taken on 11/23 vs. Florida A&M)
Ok, Seton Hall Pirates fans. The season of your dreams has started with an early 6-3 record. We’ve experienced the highs of narrowly beating Michigan State on a national stage, seeing our team ranked high to start the season and watched as star player Myles Powell came dramatically back from an anticipated long recovery from an ankle sprain to almost upset said Michigan State. A Thanksgiving week trip to the Bahamas was also a lukewarm experience. Yes, the Pirates came away with a 2-1 record and 5th place, but they faltered down the stretch against a higher-ranked Oregon team after holding a 19-point lead. A win there, or a win last night at Iowa State (by the way, what was up with that 9 PM start on a Sunday night?) and we’re looking at 7-2. BUT, we’re not and now our #2 player, Sandro Mamukelashvili is out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist. Many of the fans aren’t happy. On the fan pages of Facebook, the word “overrated” has been brandished about quite frequently in describing this team. Is that justified? Is it time to panic yet?
From my view in the press box, so to speak, I’d say not quite yet. Beat Rutgers, our hated in-state rival, and they’re back on the path we expected them to be on. Beat highly ranked Maryland (#4) the week after and MOST of the heartbreak and disappointment we feel now will be gone. That would leave the Pirates at 9-3 (assuming Seton Hall takes down Prairie View A&M) and I’d consider that a successful start of the non-conference part of the year. A year with enormous expectations. After all, we’re talking about college student-athletes here!
Blackjack’s Musings: With Sandro Mamukelashvili out an extended period, it’s time to see what we have at the 4/power forward spot with Taurean Thompson and Darnell Brodie. TT earned a scholarship to Jim Boeheim’s program at Syracuse before coming to The Hall. He MUST have some sort of upside no? If he does, NOW is the time to show it. Brodie is a BIG, STRONG body (I can see him playing TE in the NFL with that muscular frame) who flashed some skill a couple of times last season. I don’t want to see Ike or Romaro playing the 4. Maybe a dark horse candidate like Tyrese Samuel (future star!) could excel there with a smaller line-up. Either way, whoever covers this position for the foreseeable future will need to take up some of the slack of Mamu’s offensive production. I believe his defensive side will be covered with the aforementioned players.
I’ve also noticed many fans frowning on the play of Shavar Reynolds with the usual rants of him being “a walk-on” and a “nice story” but I do agree with the overall vibe that he’s on the court in far too many crucial moments during the game (Oregon anyone?). BUT this is certainly not Shavar’s fault. After all, it’s Coach Willard putting him into the game at these moments.