Sunday, April 26, 2009

Keep An Eye On Seton Hall

Seton Hall collected their first rated recruit for the '09 class on Friday with Ferrakohn Hall, a 6'7" swing man rated the 46th best Power Forward by and the 38th bet Small Forward by Scouts, Inc. Hall fills a huge need for a team that lacked a true swing man last season.

I think most casual college basketball fans didn't realize how good Seton Hall was this past season. They finished 7-11 in the Big East, meaning that they were one win short of a plausible at-large scenario entering the Big East tournament. Sagarin rated them 76th overall, and Pomeroy had them 73rd with a Luck rating of 241st overall. As I said in my Big East preview, they were closer to being a Bubble team last season than most people realized.

They lose one player to graduation (Paul Gause), and he started as a guard, but he was probably the least important of their five starters this past season. Eugene Harvey and Jeremy Hazell made a great back court duo last season, and they'll both be back. They also have Jordan Theodore, a highly touted recruit who scored 6 points per game in 22 minutes per game as a true Freshman. Keon Lawrence transfers in from Missouri (he scored 11 points per game for Mizzou in 2007-08), as does Jeff Robinson from Memphis (3 points per game in 9 minutes per game on the Memphis team that made the NCAA Championship Game in 2007-08). In other words, their back court will be excellent and very deep.

On the inside, John Garcia and Robert Mitchell were decent starters last season, and both will be back. They get a great addition in Herb Pope, transferring in from New Mexico State (11 points per game and 7 rebounds per game for the Aggies in 2007-08). Mike Davis and Brandon Walters were the two big men in the regular rotation that came off the bench, and they'll both be back. As will 6'11" Melvyn Oliver, who redshirted this past season and still has four years of eligibility left. And now we can throw in Farrakohn Hall, who is a bit small to be a post player (6'7", 210 pounds), but he will fill a big need. Seton Hall clearly has big men, and they clearly have guards, and all they needed was a swing man. That's what Hall is.

So what will next year's roster be? Hazell and Harvey will be locks to start. I think Herb Pope will start as well, and my guess is that John Garcia will start as well. I think Keon Lawrence will actually be the fifth starter, and they'll go with a three-guard lineup again. Robert Mitchell is actually a better player than John Garcia, but he's only 6'6". If you're going to go with a three guard lineup, you've got to have two bigs to counter, especially in the Big East. But don't be surprised to see a lineup with two guards, Farrakohn Hall, Robert Mitchell and Herb Pope getting a lot of time together.

If I'm right about the starting lineup, that means Hall, Theodore, Mitchell, Robinson, Oliver, Davis and Walters will all be coming off the bench. That's a quality 11 man rotation that will play well in a Big East that won't be as good as it was last season.

Even before the Farrakohn Hall signing, I had Seton Hall as one of my first five or six teams out of the BP65. I'm not sure if I'm going to move them into the next BP65 quite yet, but I'm certainly keeping my eye on them. I have them eighth in the Big East right now, but they could potentially finish as high as fifth. Bobby Gonzalez is building a good program at Seton Hall. Keep an eye on them.

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