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Sunday, May 18, 2008


May 17, 2008

Commitent Alert: Jamel Jackson, G from Technical Career Institute (NYC)

2008-2009 Projected Roster

Seniors: Paul Gause (G), Austin Okosun (C)
Juniors: Eugene Harvey (PG), John Garcia (C)
Sophomores: Jeremy Hazell (G/F), Brandon Walters (BF/C), Mike Davis (PF/C), Robert Mitchell (G/F), Jamel Jackson (G)
Freshmen: Jordan Theodore (PG), Melvyn Oliver (C)

Jamel Jackson has taken the long road to the high major ranks of college basketball, but he is finally there as Jackson to Seton Hall (zagsblog) became official today when the 6'2 guard from Technical Career Institute verbally committed to Bobby Gonzalez and the Pirates.

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Jamel Jackson graduated from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn in 2005 and then spent two years at the now defunct Boys to Men Academy in Chicago. This past season, Jackson played basketball at Tecnhical Career Institute where he averaged over 24 points a game. Reputed as a strong perimeter shooter, Jackson will likely take the role that Larry Davis had with the Pirates last season before transferring. Jackson adds another perimeter scoring threat to go with sophomore Jeremy Hazell. Jackson will have three years of eligibility at Seton Hall.

With big men in the spring recruiting period in high demand, Bobby Gonzalez and the Seton Hall staff have been beating the bushes looking for frontcourt help for a team that was exposed often in the paint last season. It looks as though the Pirates found their man in 6'11, 340 lb Melvyn Oliver out of Mississippi Elite Christian Academy. Oliver averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds last season for the new program in Jackson (MI).

Oliver looks to choose the Pirates over Nebraska, Southers Miss and Baylor and will take his oficial visit to the Seton Hall campus in early May. Oliver is originally from Los Angeles where he completed his eligibility at Leuzinger (CA) in Lawndale (CA), near LA and moved to the Jackson prep school as a 5th year player and consequently the Really Big O Has Had College coaches Buzzing (Clarion Ledger) this past season.

Mississippi Elite Christian Academy’s basketball program has spawned from Genesis One Christian School, which closed last year, as head coach Victor Evans moved from Genesis One to help begin the MECA hoops program. Mississippi Elite headmaster Darel Thigpen also came over from Genesis One and saw Oliver last year and told him about the new school when he heard that Oliver was looking for a post-grad home.

Mississippi Elite is adjacent to the New Dimensions Church in south Jackson. The K-12 school has about 60 students, including about 20 in high school grades (any non-basketball players?) including the 5th year prep players.

Oliver and Jackson will be joined in the incoming class by Jordan Theodore, a 5'11 point guard from Paterson Catholic, who signed last November. Theodore is a lightning quick point guard who thrives in pushing the ball and attacking defenses with the dribble. Theodore should fit in very well with Bobby Gonzalez's high octane attack on both sides of the ball and give junior Eugene Harvey more of a break with the ball-handling and playmaking duties. They could also be used together to help ice the game to beat pressure applied by the opposition.

The trio of Theodore, Jackson and Oliver will not be the only newcomers joining the Pirates next season as Robert "Stix" Mitchell, a 6'6, 185-pound sophomore G/F who was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year at Duquesne during the 2006-2007 season. Mitchell averaged 16 PPG and 5 rebounds playing in Ron Everhart's 40-minutes of chaos system. Mitchell, originally from Brooklyn, has been a basketball vagabond of late, spending one season at Genesis One Christian in Mississippi where he played for Victor Evans and the 2005-2006 season at Notre Dame Prep, where he played for Bill Barton, now an assistant at Duquesne, before spending a season in the Steel City.

Mitchell sat out the 2007-2008 season at Seton Hall and the plan is for him to step into the role that was filled by gaduating senior Brian Laing, the Pirates very productive small forward.

Mitchell had some difficulty at Duquesne, being suspended one game for violation of team rules and was criticized by Duquesne coach Ron Everhart for a lack of effort in practice and was dismissed from practice a number of times. After being informed his Leading Scorer Planned to Transfer (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Everhart was not surprised
"[Leaving] wasn't really unexpected. It didn't take me by surprise. But in the big picture I'm more excited about our basketball team and the depth and talent we have than I am disappointed about anyone going."

The Pirates still have two scholarships remaining. They received a visit from Largo (MD) 6'11 C Maurice Sutton. While Oliver tips the scales in the 350-lb range, Sutton is barely pushing 200, but Sutton is deciding between Indiana, Seton Hall and Villanova, where he just visited last week, and a decision is expected this week.

Seton Hall has also spent a lot of time after Chipola CC power forward Gary Flowers, who spent some time at Oklahoma State before being dismissed from the program. Power forward is a spot that really needs an upgrade for Seton Hall in their quest to rise in the Big East standings as Brian Laing, at 6'5, spent much of his time last year as their 'power forward' on the floor. Of course, if Michael Glover, who attended Seton Hall all last year, is ever cleared by the NCAA to be eligible to play, the power forward position gets a great boost as well.

Now that Seton Hall looks to have put the finishing touches on the 2008 class, their pursuit of gaining eligibility for Glover can be put into high gear and recruiting for the class of 2009 can get ramped up as well. The Pirates are expected to have between two and four scholarships available and, like their pursuit last year of Tyreke Evans, they are setting their sites high in the beginning by going after Lance Stephenson and Dominic Cheek out of the gate. The Pirates are also pursuing Dalton Pepper out of Pennsbury (PA), Durand Scott of Rice (NY), Omari Lawrence of St. Raymond's (NY), Sherrod Wright of Mount Vernon (NY), Andrew Fitzgerald of Owings Mills and David Bruce of Linden (NJ). Expect more names to come and go from the list as the spring and summer recruiting periods heat up.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008


2010 Guard Isaiah Epps is in High Demand and the Seton Hall Pirates are in a battle to keep the Plainfield High School star playing college basketball in his home state.

Competition is fierce already for the young guard as Maryland has been coming aggressively after Pete Vasil's talented player, “Maryland is recruiting him the hardest right now and Gary Williams wants him very much. Plus, Gary told him he can come and play right away. If Isaiah likes the situation there, I would recommend to him that he takes the offer. That way he has a solid foundation for the rest of his high school career. He can concentrate on his academics and making himself a better player, and he no longer has to worry about where he’s going.”

Also, Big East foes like Pittsburgh and Rutgers are aggressively pursuing Epps in hopes of luring them to their campus for his college career.

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Friday, May 09, 2008


Another player signing a delayed Letter of Intent happened yesterday as Melvyn Oliver Finally Signs LOI (zagsblog) with Seton Hall after a few delays. The Pirates were recently publicly reprimanded by the NCAA for an APR score that resulted in a scholarship penalty.

The delay in Oliver’s LOI could have been additional due diligence by the University into the player who has attended a few high schools, including a newly formed prep school, Mississippi Elite Christian Academy, to insure all the academics were in order. Or, maybe it was just lost in the mail…

Oliver is a BIG body at 6'11 and 340 lbs, so losing weight and reshaping his body will be first priority upon arriving on campus.

2008-2009 Projected Roster

Seniors: Paul Gause (G), Austin Okosun (C)
Juniors: Eugene Harvey (PG), John Garcia (C)
Sophomores: Jeremy Hazell (G/F), Brandon Walters (BF/C), Mike Davis (PF/C), Robert Mitchell (G/F)
Freshmen: Jordan Theodore (PG), Melvyn Oliver (C)

Seton Hall was also involved in the recruitment of Chris Turner and the Pirates Sign the 6’5 Guard (The daily Reflector). However, it was the Pirates of East Carolina who get the signature of Turner on a letter of intent. Again, with Turner, several bigger schools were interested, but questions on his academics as he has been to a few different high schools and prep schools the last couple years clouded the picture.

The Pirates are holding a scholarship open for Mike Glover, who was not cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse last season to be eligible for athletic competition. Seton Hall continues to try to get Glover through the clearinghouse to be part of next year's team. Two additional scholarships are open and Florida transfer Jonathan Mitchell, originally out of Mount Vernon (NY) is a possibility. The final scholarship could go to another wing player or a big man if one of quality is still available late in the recruiting period.

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