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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's A Mystery

Was driving earlier and saw a bumper sticker that said "Honk if you know SHU's mystery recruit". Car was getting beeped at a lot.

Just kidding. But seriously, are there really that many hard-core SHU/Big East hoops fans that don't know who this player is by now? Enough I suppose that I still won't divulge the player's name here. A careful perusal of certain websites could put one on the right track, though.

There isn't that much more to say about him here, other than that the feeling is that it might be rough for SHU to have him available for this year. It looks like it's contingent upon getting a waiver to play this year (which means one could logically infer that he's actually a transfer and not a recruit).

Speaking of waivers, it looks like Keon Lawrence might actually not be getting one this year. Have heard differing opinions about that. One argument is that it would be better to have him just dive into things at his new school full-bore, fully occupied with schoolwork and basketball, leaving him with virtually no time for much of anything else.

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The other is actually less an argument than a declaration of facts: he needs to take care of business academically in order to be fully eligible and to play. We won't get much more into this other than to say that if he does indeed sit out the upcoming year, then the latter carried much more weight.

That of course leaves the Seton Hall backcourt much less crowded this year. That certainly makes it easier figuring out who'll play the most minutes at three positions for the Pirates, but it's still intriguing trying to figure out just what kind of lineup Bobby Gonzalez will go with when it matters most.

As we all know by now, Gonzo loves smaller lineups and causing chaos. Brian Laing was an ideal player for him in that system, but he's gone now. Stix Mitchell seems destined to get most of Laings minutes, but the question remains: will he get them at the three or the four?

Jamar Nutter is also gone from last year's squad, so with Lawrence most likely unavailable, Jeremy Hazell will almost certainly be a full-time starter. That leaves returning starters Eugene Harvey and John Garcia as the other two definites.

So we have Harvey, Garcia, Mitchell, and Hazell seemingly set for four out of five positions. The only remaining question, and it's a big one, is who is the fifth starter? The two most obvious contenders appear to be a pretty short guy and a pretty tall guy - either Paul Gause or Mike Davis.

Right now, Gause seems to have far more things in his favor than Davis. For one thing, Gause is a senior who has played far more collegiate minutes than the sophomore Davis. Gause is also a guard, a position Gonzalez favors.

Perhaps most importantly, Gause isn't just any guard, but one Gonzo seems particularly enamored with. Gause is a tough-as-nails, pugnacious, supremely athletic defensive terror whose on-court demeanor appears to mirror his coach's real-life demeanor.

Davis, on the other hand, (at least last year) was a somewhat out-of-shape college basketball newbie who was just getting acclimated not only to the college game but to playing organized basketball again. His biggest accomplishments last year were off-the-court (as the young man who was not supposed to be college material made the Dean's List and had the highest GPA on the team).

Most SHU fans feel the Pirates will not go far playing small ball again. Stix Mitchell is indeed talented, but far less suited to playing the four than Laing was (not that Laing was an All-American there either).

Most SHU fans have also felt the Pirates needed to get a servicable power forward this off-season. Thus, the fascination with the "mystery recruit" (OK, he's a power forward and a transfer). However, Herb, I mean he, in all liklihood won't be there this year (or ever - and most likely neither will Michael Glover).

Mike Davis is there though - for three years.

Gonzalez will probably want to go with Paul Gause for most of those minutes, though. (Of course, with Augustin Okosun gone, if Melvyn Oliver doesn't get the green light from the Clearinghouse, Davis will have to play - often alongside Gause. But that's a story for another post).

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Seton Hall is hoping that Keon Lawrence will be available for them next season (something discussed previously here) as the Former Missouri Tiger is Seeking a Hardship Ruling to Play this Year (Kansas City Star).

Lawrence was to be Admitted to Seton Hall Monday ( and at that time Lawrence’s advisor, Alif Muhammad, says the process of an appeal for the waiver would begin. The basis for the waiver would be based on the NCAA’s allowing of Julian Vaughn to be eligible to play for Georgetown this season after transferring from Florida State.

Muhammad, according to the Kansas City Star, said several members of Lawrence’s family are facing “serious medical issues.”

The Star continued that in Vaughn’s case, Florida State did not object to the hardship appeal. MU officials might well object to Lawrence’s appeal, based on the way Lawrence left Columbia earlier this summer.

The Star reports that Lawrence sent a letter to the Missouri coaches stating he was unhappy and that he wanted to look around for another school. He later had second thoughts but Coach Mike Anderson, tired of having to talk Lawrence into staying at MU on several occasions, released Lawrence.

Looking at this situation from a distance, another difference in the transfer when Vaughn left FSU it was reported that George Mason was the only other school in consideration which, like Georgetown, is very close to his home. It was reported that Lawrence Chose Seton Hall (Columbia Tribune) over schools such as Providence, Marquette, Houston, Georgia, Virginia, Cincinnati and Morehead State, none of which were too close to his Newark (NJ) home.

We will see if this situation is as clear cut as we previously believed.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

2nd Blog Entry (I can't even think of what to call this one)

Talk about an auspicious debut! Looks like my initial entry on this blog has generated quite a bit of discussion, as you can see HERE. Four pages, and as some on the thread have noted, most of it is actually about basketball!

The thread just shows how passionate and knowledgeable Pirate fans are about their basketball.

As has now been noted now, though, Momo Jones will not be enrolling at St Anthony's. Perhaps the biggest blow this might be to the Pirates (if it even qualifies as such) is simply because he would've been a St Anthony's kid, and thus might 've helped Gonzo with Dom Cheek and the other assorted and various D-1 prospects that regularly populate the Friars roster.

Still, even if the Pirates don't land Jones, the view from here is that with Keon Lawrence possibly being eligible this year (and we'll proceed under that assumption, even though nothing is definite yet), the Pirate backcourt is absolutely loaded.

Keon Lawrence could very well turn out to be one of the most significant and eventful transfers ever for the Hall. A true stud and a perfect fit for Bobby Gonzalez's system, he seems more than able to give a truly big-time talent like Jeremy Hazell a real run for his money (and then some) for a starting position. Add in terrific freshman Jordan Theodore and the return of a healthy Paul Gause, and that should be more than enough to keep the somewhat enigmatic but undeniably gifted Eugene Harvey from wearing down like he did toward the end of last year.

Harvey. Gause. Theodore. Hazell. Keon Lawrence. That's a backcourt potentially as good as any team's in America.

If Bobby doesn't get too hung up on playing former A-10 ROY Stix Mitchell at the 4 (and Stix didn't acquire his nickname because he's a percussionist), and can put some faith in Mike Davis (and even Brandon Walters), the Pirates could be a surprising force this year.

But that last paragraph is a topic for another entry.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

News and Notes: Keon Lawrence, MoMo Jones, Mike Glover

Seton Hall will apparently be filing a waiver (if they haven't already) to see if they can get Newark native and Missouri transfer Keon Lawrence eligible for this season. Sources close to the situation feel it will happen.

Seems like both Keon and the Hall have legitimate reasons to feel this way. For one thing, both his mother and his grandfather are in poor health. What's more, it's not like he transferred to SHU for more playing time - he led Missouri last year in both minutes played and shot attempts.

For those two reasons, this may very well be a slam dunk.

The Pirates are hoping that getting Lawrence eligible for this season will help them in their pursuit of Lamont "MoMo" Jones, who will play his final year of high school basketball at St. Anthony's. If Lawrence plays this year, he will have just one year left after this one. Factor in that Paul Gause will be gone after this year, and the Pirates are hoping that Jones will see that the backcourt won't be overly crowded, and that the opportunity to play immediately will be there.

Some feel however, that the Pirates may not be quite as in with MoMo as they'd like to be (or would like others to think they are). However, if they succeed in getting Lawrence eligible for this year, with Jordan Theodore making his debut this season and Jeremy Hazell back for just year two -aside from the fact that MoMo is a St Ant's kid now -there may not be much reason for despondency should he eventually head elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Pirates are still working on getting Mike Glover eligible, and are now trying a different tactic. All parties concerned are now taking their case directly to the Big East (although other approaches have not been abandoned). The feeling is that since Glover sat out last year while a student at SHU (in effect a year in residency), perhaps the league might change its rule and allow him to play as a partial qualifier.

Most other leagues would. Stay tuned, as a decision could come as early as next week.

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