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.
Gonzo on Herb Pope; SHU, Rutgers, St. John’s Schedules Out
Herb Pope’s transfer to Seton Hall has become official and the 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward will sit out the upcoming season unless he receives a waiver from the NCAA.
Pope, who transferred from New Mexico State, will be eligible to practice with the Pirates this season and then will have three years of eligibility remaining.
“Herb will fill a huge need for us, as the one area we haven’t been able to address is a big-time power forward,” Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. “He is a special recruit and a talented young man. He’s been through some tough times in his young career, but he’s looking forward to a new start at Seton Hall. WE believe he has a very bright future with unlimited potential.”
Gonzalez told Andy Katz that he believed that taking transfers like Pope and Keon Lawrence was the best way to compete immediately in the Big East.
“This league is a joke,” Gonzalez told Katz. “They’re talking about 10 teams going to the NCAA tournament. If you want to get into the top six or seven in this conference, you’ve got to be creative and you’ve got to take transfers. I’m not sure what they’re saying about Gonzo, saying that I’m taking too many borderline guys, a gamble. But the [Seton Hall] president backs me, and I feel they’re all worth the gamble.”
Gonzo also said that the chances of Lawrence getting a waiver from the NCAA to play this year should be a “layup” because of his various family problems.
“There’s all kinds of stuff,” Gonzalez said of Lawrence, who led the Tigers in minutes played last season (29.2) and was fourth on the team in scoring (11). “He’s got to be there for his mom. Selfishly, from a basketball standpoint, him playing in the Prudential Center … He’s a local hero around Newark. Keon’s a big name. He’s big down here.”
Pope said he also transferred to be closer to his family, including his daughter and younger brother and sister.
“I have family matters back home and I wanted to get closer to the east coast,” Pope told the Las Cruces Sun-News. “I am a father and I want to get closer to my daughter because I don’t want her to go through the same things that I went through.”
Pope added that he hopes to receive a waiver from the NCAA in order to play immediately.
“My hope is that it goes through, but it’s up to the NCAA,” Pope said. “I’m prepared to sit out this year if that’s what it takes. I’m not the same person as my days in high school and I’m looking forward to moving on with my career.”
Pope appeared in 16 games last year at NMSU and made 12 starts. A native of Aliquippa, Pa., he averaged 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds. He tallied 18 points and 13 boards against Nevada in the WAC Tournament and added a career-high 20 points in the WAC championship against Boise State.
BIG EAST SCHEDULES OUT
The entire Big East schedule is also out and every game will be on TV for the second straight year, including many on my home network, SNY.
—Here’s the Rutgers sked.
EYE-OPENING NON-CONFERENCE GAME: Dec. 28 at North Carolina
—Here’s the Seton Hall sked.
EYE-OPENING NON-CONFERENCE GAME: Nov. 20 vs. USC (Puerto Rico)
—Here’s the St. John’s sked.
EYE-OPENING NON-CONFERENCE GAME: Feb, 19 vs. Duke (MSG)
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.