Team: Seton Hall Pirates
2016-17 Record: 21-12, 10-8 Big East
2016-17 Big East Finish: Part of a four-way tie for third place.
Final 2016-17 KenPom Ranking: #51
Postseason? Lost in slightly absurd circumstances to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament
Key Departures: Madison Jones (5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists)
Key Returners: Angel Delgado (15.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists); Khadeen Carrington (17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists); Desi Rodriguez (15.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists); Myles Powell (10.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists); Ismael Sanogo (3.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists)
Key Arrivals: 247 Sports’ #40 recruiting class (#6 in the Big East), including Myles Cale (shooting guard, 6’4”, 185 lb., #92)
Coach: Kevin Willard, in his 8th season at Seton Hall and 11th overall (128-102 at Seton Hall, 173-151 overall)
Outlook: Seton Hall caught a massive break when Angel Delgado elected to return to school for his senior season. The man from the Dominican Republic is a double-double machine, finishing second in the nation with 27 this past season. For whatever reason, NBA scouts weren’t particularly enthused about him, so he’s back for one more go-round in South Orange.
The Pirates overall are going to be major players in the Big East this coming season. They return all of their top four scorers, and their top five rebounders. They are going to have to find a way to replace Madison Jones’ team lead in assists, and he was a top 100 guy in steal rate as well. Odds are that distribution role is going to end up landing on Khadeen Carrington, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
This is quietly a very important season for head coach Kevin Willard. His teams have qualified for each of the past two NCAA tournaments, but those are the only two Big Dance appearances in the career of the former Iona head coach. They’ve been knocked out in the first round each time, and while advancing in the tournament isn’t crucial to saying a season is a success, it’s going to be important for Seton Hall. Their four best players are all seniors in 2017-18, and a big year and a big postseason run will be beneficial to the younger guys going forward.