Oct. 29, 2013
Seton Hall men’s basketball hosted its media day this afternoon as part of the lead up to the fast-approaching 2013-14 campaign.
Fourth-year head coach Kevin Willard addressed the media contingent in attendance inside Historic Walsh Gymnasium and fielded questions about this year’s squad before the members of the squad were made available for comment as well.
Below are some highlights of coach Willard’s opening address:
On emphasis placed on offseason training:
I hired a new guy, and I think (Strength & Conditioning Coach) Jason [Nehring] has been tremendous with these guys, I think you can see when you look around at these guys’ bodies - Eugene was 296 pounds at the end of last season and he’s 265 right now, Patrik’s down to 230, right around there, Brian Oliver is down, Fuquan’s up, Haralds is up - I think everyone is in better shape than we have been. I think these new rules have kind of let us ease into practice differently. (Director of Sports Medicine) Tony [Testa] and Jason have really done a great job getting these guys ready for this season. Brandon [Mobley]’s shoulder is great; Brian Oliver’s ankle is really good. Eugene, he had surgery on his ankle. Patrik’s foot is great. I could go right down the list I guess but everyone is back to where we were when we left Spain last year so I am really excited about this group.
I’m thrilled about having these four seniors and even more so because it has been showing that they understand that they have no more second chances. This is it for them, this is their last time to go out on a good note and that pushed all four guys to have great summers. They’re really playing at a high level and they really understand that this is their last chance and they want go out as being the four guys that changed our program. I think their leadership has through their approach and that stems from the fact that they really want to change what has gone on over the past four years.
On increased depth:
I feel like I have 13 eligible guys for this first time definitely since I have been here. When you have 13 guys you have great competition. Everybody knows there were times last season where we had about six guys. I think now we have a team now where you never quite know who is going to get you. Everyone knows about Fuquan and Eugene and Brandon and those guys but we have some new guys that can really come in and it will present a challenge for the teams we play because they are not going to be able to key on one or two guys on any given night. You might have your older guys be consistent getting good numbers, but you can have a guy off your bench getting you 20, which we haven’t had. I think that’s something I am really excited about, the fact that on any one given night someone different can step up for us.
On biggest surprise in practice:
I think everyone’s really surprised me. There’s not really one guy who has stood out. I think they’ve all had some great days, they’ve all had some bad days but from just an overall consistency level they’ve all really brought it and that’s something that has made our practices much more competitive and it is one of the reasons why we are starting to see a lot more progression than I did two weeks ago.
On shift in offensive gameplan:
We’re trying to get our power forwards and wings a little bit more involved. We want to get our PFs more active in the post offense and our wings more opportunities off the pick and roll. Instead of just depending on one guy at a time, I think we are talented enough all-around to have a nice, balanced attack. I think our power forwards are just as good in the post as our centers, and post play is something we have shied away from in the past, but I think their progression and their development has given me the chance to do different things that we haven’t been able to do.
On a revamped backcourt:
That’s something about this roster I really like, the different combinations we can play with. We’re working right now to figure out who plays well with each other, who doesn’t play well with each other. Obviously Sterling [Gibbs] was here last year, and I have a much better feel of what he can do. Having Hakeem [Harris] and Jaren [Sina] at that guard spot changes things for us. There are so many different little combinations we can do depending on the game and situation. I really believe with the new rules, foul trouble will dictate how a lot of people play this year. I just think that there are going to be a lot of guys in foul trouble and that’s why I’m excited about this team. We can survive that this year, we have guys that if someone is having a bad night, they are going to be able to step up and produce for us.
To view a photo gallery of the event, use the link above or CLICK HERE
The Hall gets its first taste of competition this Saturday, November 2 when they take on Caldwell College in an exhibition that will also be held in Walsh Gymnasium at 6:00 p.m., one of the Pirates’ two on campus appearances this season.
The regular season will get underway the following Saturday, November 9 when Seton Hall welcomes Niagara to the Prudential Center as part of the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Single season tickets went on sale earlier this week, for more information CLICK HERE or call the Seton Hall Athletic Ticket Office at (973) 275-HALL (4255).