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.
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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Playing its first and only exhibition game of the preseason, Seton Hall routed Division 2 Molloy, 101-68, Friday night at Walsh Gym.
Junior guard Eugene Harvey led the Pirates with 19points and sophomore forward Brandon Walters had 18 points, including a 16-foot jumper, and 10 rebounds.
Walters said he was “definitely motivated” by comments head coach Bobby Gonzalez made about him on media day.
“I think he’s a borderline Big East player,” Gonzalez said of Walters last month. “I don’t have a ton of confidence in him right now but he is a forward.”
“It definitely did motivate me,” said Walters, out of Lincoln High. “I came out and played my heart out.”
“I know a lot of people sort of took it out of context and and they think I threw him under the bus, but I didn’t come into the press conference just to single him out,” Gonzalez said of his comments at media day. “What I was trying to say was that is he’s the one guy that I need to prove himself and get pumped up and play with confidence and show what he can do because if does that he can be a key guy because we’re desperate at the four spot.
“The thing that we’ve been on him that he’s got to give us is he’s got to be able to defend in the post, rebound the ball, block some shots and help us around the lane. If he can do that, he’ll get the other stuff…He can face up. He’s a pretty skilled big guy.”
John Garcia tallied 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Robert “Stix” Mitchell, playing his first official game since transferring from Duquesne,had 16 points and seven rebounds and Jeremy Hazell scored 16 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Jordan Theodore pushed the tempo nicely in his college debut with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
“I think I played OK,” said Theodore, a freshman out of Paterson (N.J.) Catholic who led the Cougars to the Passaic County championship last year. “I had two turnovers. I can’t turn the ball over as a point guard in the Big East. It’s just not going to happen. But I thought I led my team and we executed when we had to. I thought I did a good job.”
Theodore played in a three-guard set with Paul Gause and Harvey at times.
“It felt good, coach loves to play guards,” Theodore said. “Just being on the court with Eugene, I’m passing him the ball, he’s passing me the ball, I love playing with him. We got that good relationship off the court and on the court, so I think together this season we’re going to be terrific.”
“I thought Jordan was terrific,” Gonzalez said. “He’s got a presence on the court. He doesn’t look like a freshman. He comes out there with a chip on his shoulder. He’s confident. He can take pressure off of Eugene by handling the basketball. I thought him and Eugene were pretty good together. He gives us a dimension we didn’t have.”
Matt Wafula led Molloy with 21 points and Girard Fitts added 20.
It’s hard to know what exactly the Pirates get out of a game like this since Molloy, a Division 2 program from Rockville Centre, N.Y., doesn’t have a player on its roster bigger than 6-7. The Lions were picked eighth out of 10 teams in the East Coast Conference.
The Pirates, who are playing with eight eligible players, were picked 13th in the loaded 16-team Big East.
Seton Hall took a 59-33 halftime lead behind 13 points from Harvey and 12 from Walters.
Wafula had 14 points for Molloy at the half.
NOTES: Gonzalez said he plans to add four walk-ons and will announce them on Monday. One of them appears to be 6-7 freshman Matt Cajuste (pictured), who sat behind the bench tonight and was a 2006 All-Long Island selection by Newsday out of Jericho (N.Y.) High School. “There’s a 6-7 kid, you might have heard of him,” the coach said. “He got recruited by Division I schools. And he’s a very good student and he’s a pretty big player. I’m not going to put any pressure on him and say he’s going to play and have to help us. But hey, he’s a Division I player and he looks like he could body up on our guys in practice and help us.”…The Pirates open the season Nov. 14 at home against St. Francis (N.Y.) and then host Columbia Nov. 16…Transfers Herb Pope and Eugene Lawrence sat on the bench in street clothes. Pope was denied a waiver to play this year, while Lawrence remains hopeful of getting one….6-11 freshman center Melvyn “Big Mel” Oliver sat upstairs wearing a sweatsuit. The NCAA has yet to rule on his eligibility. “No word on Melvyn yet,” Gonzalez said. “We’re waiting intently. It’s a lot of paperwork.”…Former Seton Hall big man Luther Wright made an appearance…St. Benedict’s assistant coach Scott Smith sat behind the Seton Hall bench with a group of Gray Bees who looked like a junior United Nations meeting. Kids from all over the world, including 7-foot sophomore Blaise Mbargorba of Cameroon; 6-9 junior JP Kambola and 6-foot freshman Marcello Kambola, brothers who come from Ro Russell’s Grassroots Canada progam; 6-4 sophomore combo guard Andres Misters of Latvia; and Gilvidas Biruda, a junior forward from Lithuania.
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.