Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Seton Hall is trying to land a big fish. Real big.
Pirates head coach Bobby Gonzalez and assistant coach Derm Player met in Mississippi Sunday for about three hours with Melvin Oliver, a 6-foot-11, 340-pound senior center from Mississippi Elite Christian Academy.
“It was perfect, Bobby’s a great guy,” said Victor Evans, Oliver’s coach. “It was good to see Dermon again. It was good to talk to Bobby. He had a great visit with Melvin.”
Evans said Oliver is still considering Seton Hall, Nebraska, Baylor and Southern Miss and still hasn’t finalized any visiting dates yet. Oliver averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks and is qualified to play in college, Evans said.
“Nothing has been finalized yet, but I think it was a very positive visit,” Evans said. “I think (Gonzalez) shedded some light on his situation and where he is with the school and the accomplishments they had this year winning 17 games. It looks like things are going in the right direction there. With the recruiting he’s done, I think he made a positive impression on Melvin.”
Evans said Gonzalez was very high on Oliver, but encouraged him to drop some weight. Oliver is currently at about 340 pounds and Evans said he’d like to see him get down to 295-300.
“Bobby loves what he sees in Melvin,” Evans said. “A guy that size with the skill level, he passes, he has great hands, his skill level is off the chart for a guy his size. He has something to work with. Y ou don’t have to teach him how to score.
“Bobby says we gotta get the weight down. He came in at about 375 and he’s down to 340. He’ a lot of different than what he was. His endurance is a lot better. He plays in longer stretches and at full speed. We’ve go to continue to build on that.”
Evans said the Seton Hall style, four out and one in, would be condusive to Oliver’s style as well.
“He’s a good kid,” Evans said. “He’s a good person. His dad is involved in the process and I want them to have some ownership in the process. I want his dad to really have a say-so on what happens with his son. Bobby’s been in touch with the dad.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.