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Saturday, October 06, 2007


October 6, 2007


Official Website of the Seton Hall Pirates

Official 2007-2008 Seton Hall Roster & Bios

Meet Coach Bobby Gonzalez

The Prudential Center: The New Home of Seton Hall Men’s Basketball

2007-2008 Seton Hall Pirates Schedule


Bobby Gonzalez enters his second season as head coach of the Seton Hall Pirates with some increasing expectations for his new program. After struggling with a very thin roster last season, the Pirates look to enter this season with a much deeper squad and a much better opportunity to compete with the better teams of the conference.

Bobby Gonzalez made his name as a very successful recruiter on Pete Gillen’s staffs at Xavier University, Providence College and the University of Virginia. An intense competitor and aggressive recruiter, Gonzalez possesses outstanding contacts and ties to the New York metropolitan area. He was assistant high school coach at Rice High School in the Bronx in 1992-93 and assistant at St. Nicholas of Tolentine from 1988-91.

Gonzalez, 43, came to Seton Hall after a seven-year tenure as the head coach at Manhattan College where he led the Jaspers to four 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournaments in seven seasons. His record at Manhattan was 129-77 with his best season coming during the 2003-04 season, when he guided the Jaspers to a 25-6 overall record, 16-2 in the MAAC. Manhattan was a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated No. 5 seed Florida in the first round before losing a close game to No. 4 seed Wake Forest.

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Gonzalez has already put those New York City recruiting contacts to good use as he rebuilds the Seton Hall roster. The Pirates were an NCAA team in 2005-2006 and coach Gonzalez is determined not to let the Pirates go too long without a return trip to the ‘Big Dance.’

THE 2006-2007 SEASON:

Following an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2005-2006, the Seton Hall administration decided on a new direction for their men’s basketball program and parted ways with Louis Orr. With the support of many of the school’s boosters, the Pirates turned to Bobby Gonzalez to take the reigns of the program and make SHU a more viable destination for some of the areas top talent. Being located so close to the fertile recruiting grounds of New York City and the powerful prep programs of New Jersey, Seton Hall fans grew tired of the lack of success in recruiting, especially locally, of Louis Orr and his staff. Despite the success of an NCAA appearance, recruiting was disappointing and a change was made.

The Pirates fall from an NCAA Tournament team to a team missing the Big East Tournament in 2006-2007 was not unexpected. Coach Bobby Gonzalez inherited a program that was low in numbers and did not have any committed recruits in the spring he was hired. ‘Gonzo’ quickly changed that and added St. Benedict’s Prep standout Eugene Harvey, Chris the King star Larry Davis and Rice High School’s Kashief Pratt to help fill the roster. However, the team still had major holes upfront with the uncertain injury status of John Garcia and the transfers of David Palmer and Marcus Cousin. Losing Grant Billmeier early in the season due to injury depleted their front line even more.

An early season loss to Farleigh Dickinson illustrated how far the Pirates had to go and additional out of conference losses at the hands of Oral Roberts, BYU and Virginia Tech signaled a long season ahead in the Big East. The Pirates stumbled to a 4-12 conference mark, losing 10 of their last 11 Big East games. The Pirates showed some early life, beating Rutgers, St. John’s and Providence in their first five games, but as the schedule got a little stiffer, the Pirates’ lack of depth, size and talent was no match for the rest of the conference (seven of the 11 loses were by more than nine points).

Seton Hall did have a pair of impressive individual performers last season with Brian Laing and Eugene Harvey having big years. In conference play, the duo combined for nearly 50% of SHU’s scoring with Harvey, as a freshman, averaging 17.2 PPG and Laing adding 16.9 PPG. The Pirates never quit and Laing and Harvey continued to attack the basket until the very end. There was a lot of fight in the Pirates and this season they hope to have the depth and size to be more competitive for the entire 40 minutes in Big East action night in and night out.


Led by Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall has a very promising backcourt whose best basketball is still ahead of them. As mentioned, Harvey was a dynamo in his freshman season, scoring over 17 PPG in conference play while adding 3.6 assists/game. Harvey also averaged 3.6 turnovers, but that was often the result of having to do too much with little to no help in the frontcourt. Harvey’s offensive production was definitely a surprise as he was not known as such coming out of the prep ranks. Harvey will likely have more of a chance to distribute and run the team this year with improved depth throughout the program. Harvey’s next step in establishing himself among the elite point guards is to show he can manage a team and make the players around him better and lead a winning team. He should take steps toward that this season.

Joining Harvey in the backcourt is senior Jamar Nutter, a streak shooting 2-guard. Nutter struggled last season, shooting under 33% from the floor and 31.7% from 3-pt range. He still managed to average 12.2 PPG in league action, but Nutter was a pleasant surprise in SHU’s run to the NCAA Tournament the year before, but last season he was more of an enigma. He will be pushed hard by returning guards Paul Gause and Larry Davis this season. Gause is the energizer bunny coming off the bench. Originally known as instant offense, the small, but tough, Gause has turned into one of the most disruptive defensive players in the conference, fitting perfectly into Bobby Gonzalez’s high-energy, chaotic system. Davis is a player that could take a major leap forward in his sophomore season. He does a little bit of everything quite well for a wing guard and he showed his potential for big performances a couple times last season.

At the wing the Pirates return all-league candidate Brian Laing who should find a comfort zone playing less inside and more on the perimeter. With the lack of bodies upfront, Laing was forced to play a power forward role in the line-up last season. Laing put up big numbers last season and will hope to see that production translate into more wins this season. A newcomer to keep an eye on is dead-eye shooter Jeremy Hazell. Originally headed to Oral Roberts, Hazell instead opted for a season of prep basketball at the Patterson School in North Carolina and turned an excellent season into a free ride to the Big East. You can never fully know what to expect from a shooter as a frosh, but Hazell will certainly push Nutter for the designated shooter role and if he finds his niche this year, he will be a valuable weapon. The backcourt and wing positions are pretty crowded, so getting consistent time to find his shooting rhythm could be his biggest challenge.


The biggest question mark with the Seton Hall program will still remain in the frontcourt, however at least Bobby Gonzalez has options this season with four new faces and one oft-injured returnee in the mix. John Garcia returns after missing his freshman year and most of his redshirt frosh season because of recurring problems with his knee. Garcia is a strong and fundamentally big man that knows what his strengths are and plays within himself. The Gonzo style of play may not be the most conducive for him to put up big numbers, but he will rebound and defend on one end and take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves on the other end.

As for the newcomers, the much-traveled Mike Davis will finally make his Big East debut this season. The New York City product has taken a long road to the college game and the Pirates were more than happy to add him to their squad. There has never been a question on the court for Davis, it was if he could get everything in his life in order of the court to play in college. He will have to shake off some rust from a lack of big-time game action, but the 21 ½ year old freshman is already a man on the floor.

The Glover name has been around Big East basketball before as Anthony Glover was a productive player at St. John’s several seasons ago. Now, younger brother Michael comes to the Big East as a freshman forward for the Pirates. Glover is a high-effort, yet undersized, forward that will battle on the boards and never give up an inch. Players of his ilk are always overlooked, but end up being very productive. JUCO transfer Augustine Okosun is a 6’11, 240 lb center who played last season at Harcum College in Philadelphia. Okosun is a physical specimen who should be able to provide help on the boards and on defense this season. He is athletic enough to run the floor in Gonzalez’s fast past style, too. The final newcomer to the mix is freshman Brandon Walters, another New York city product. Walters is a player with some exciting potential as he has skills and athletic ability which make him a player to watch in the future. Look for the Pirates to bring him on a little slower as they will work to add strength to his frame. He is a definite player to watch in the future.

2007-2008 PREDICTION:

Looking at Seton Hall this year, I see a similarity to a successful Big East program of the last several years that they might be following a similar path to success: Pittsburgh. The Panthers began building their program with some tough and overlooked talent from NYC and New Jersey, players who might have been a bit undersized, but were at a maturity level that was beyond the typical freshmen they were playing against. They have the tough-willed point guard in Harvey, the long and athletic guard in Davis, the defensive dynamo in Paul Gause. They even have several freshmen entering college basketball over 21 (Hazell, Davis) and are not afraid to add some help via JUCO or prep school. Bobby Gonzalez has left no stone unturned in his quest to improve the talent at Seton Hall. This year is still going to be tough as the Pirates work to find their footing in this conference. The schedule is daunting, but watch out for this team by the second half of the season. I really wanted to place them a little higher, but they had a few more questions than some others and it is still tough to overlook last year’s 4-12 mark in the Big East.




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