COURTESY OF BOBBY GUARENTE - PRESIDENT; BLACKJACK MEDIA, LLC.
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ- The highly anticipated 2019-20 season for the Seton Hall Pirates kicked off in high gear at legendary Walsh Gym as Pre-Season All-American Myles Powell led 5 Pirates in double-digit points with a 105-71 over feisty Wagner College Tuesday night. Powell’s return to Seton Hall, after dabbling in some NBA love this past spring, has ignited his team to a pre-season ranking of #12 and being named the favorites to win the Big East Championship in March. Along with Powell’s 27 points, sophomore F Jared Rhoden had 12 points, junior PF Sandro Mamukelashvili and sophomore C Ike Obiagu had 11 while senior PG Quincy McNight had 10 (7 assists).
With Head Coach Kevin Willard serving the second half of a 2-game suspension, assistant coach Grant Billmeier notches his first career win as a head coach. Not until a series of defensive stops in the early portion of the 2nd half did the Pirates start pulling away from the scrappy, tough team from Staten Island. While the outcome was never really in doubt, the Seahawks hung tough against one of the best teams in the country. They fought for every rebound and chased down every loose ball. The difference in this game and hopefully a sign of things to come was the immense height difference that the Pirates will deploy this season.
The 2019-20 edition of the Seton Hall Pirates boast 2 7-seven footers, Ike Obiagu and senior Romaro Gill and two 6’11” forwards (Mamukelashvili and Taurean Thompson) and big bodied 6’9” PF Darnell Brodie. If this game showed the college basketball world anything beyond Myles Powell’s destiny for greatness, it showed that this year’s team could be the re-incarnation of Phi Slamma Jamma. Blocked shots on one end turned into thunderous dunks on the other end. Obiagu, Mamukelashvili and Gill atoned for 5 of the team’s 6 blocked shots, with numerous other Seahawk shots altered by their presence in the middle. It’s hard to think there are any other bigger teams in the country and should be the key to success this year.
Aside from the 5 Pirates in double-figures, junior guard Shavar Reynolds had 9 points off of the bench while Gill had 8. Guards Anthony Nelson (6 assists) & Myles Cale had 7 and 6 points respectfully. The Seahawks were led by G Alex Morales’s 17 points (5 assists), Will Martinez’s 14 points and 12 points each for G Tyrone Nesby IV & F Patrick Szpir. The Pirates are back in action Saturday afternoon at Walsh Gym against Stony Brook.