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Sunday / May 27.
  • Willard ‘Optimistic’ About Seton Hall Going Forward

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    JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard can’t publicly comment on Kyle Anderson or his decision to play for UCLA instead of the Pirates.

    But in his first interview since the 6-foot-8 Anderson announced for UCLA late Monday night, Willard told SNY.tv he’s optimistic about his team and its recruiting efforts going forward.

    “I’m actually really optimistic,” Willard said Thursday during a recruiting visit to Hudson Catholic.

    “The one thing I’ve come to discover over the last five months of talking about who’s on our roster, and people questioning our roster, is the fact that I love who’s on our roster.”

    Anderson disappointed many Seton Hall fans by choosing the Bruins over the Pirates even after Willard and associate head coach Shaheen Holloway attended every one of his game’s over the summer. St. John’s, Georgetown and Florida also made Anderson’s final list.

    Still, Willard said he’s moving forward to replace the two seniors who will graduate after this season, point guard Jordan Theodore and power forward Herb Pope.

    “Obviously, we got to find a replacement for Jordan and Herb and that’s what we’re doing, You gotta sign one guy.

    “We don’t lose anybody off next year’s team [2012-13], so we have no seniors the year after. I think this is a team that can really grow and become something really good.”

    Here are Willard’s comments on a few other topics:

    ON SYRACUSE AND PITT GOING TO THE ACC

    “I think it’s unfortunate. It was such a great league with unbelievable matchups and rivalries, and great traditions. Unfortunately, the people who are doing this are doing everything besides what they should be doing for the student-athlete, and that’s unfortunate.

    “Everyone tells you when you get a job that they want you to represent the school and do this and do that, and the last people who are doing it are the people who told you to do it.”

    ON WHETHER THE BIG EAST CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM

    “I think the way the league is right now, even losing two great basketball schools, you want to keep it together because it’s still a great league. You look at the 14 schools that would be left, it’s still an unbelievable league. I’d like to see the league stay together as it is. But if it doesn’t, you kind of go at that when it comes.”

    ON HIS SIX-MAN FRESHMAN CLASS

    “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with all the freshmen. Right now, Haralds [Karlis] and [Aaron] Cosby are a little more advanced than the other guys, but I think that’s because they were here longer in the summer. Brandon Mobley is getting better, coming back off [shoulder] surgery. And Sean Grennan and Freddie Wilson are really starting to pick up what to do on the court so I’m happy about that.”

    ON THE STATUS OF 6-10 FRESHMAN KEVIN JOHNSON

    “He’s still under review.”

    ON PLAYING JORDAN THEODORE AT THE TWO

    “Yeah, we’re going to, yeah. There will be times when we need scoring and he’ll play the two, and there’s times when we need a little quickness at the point that will play him.”

    ON FUQUAN EDWIN

    “Fuquan’s had a really good summer. He’s really gotten better. He’s really working hard every day.”

    ON HERB POPE

    “Herb’s looking good. He’s got his bounce back. He looks like the guy from the year before last [when he averaged 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds]. He  seems to have a great bounce-back. He’s shooting the basketball really well.”

    ON PATRIK AUDA & AARON GERAMIPOOR

    “I think playing in the World Games for his country really gave [Auda] a lot of confidence. Even at the end of last year coming off a tough injury, I felt he started showing what he could be. He’s really playing well.

    “And Aaron Geramipoor doesn’t have mono this year, which is a huge thing. Last year he played with mono the whole year. He’s up to 255. He’s doing what he needs to do to get better.”

    ON TRANSFERS GENE TEAGUE AND BRIAN OLIVER

    “Our two transfers are doing terrific and they are what we hoped they were going to be. We’re just trying to get two more guys to fill in the pieces there to help that roster.”

    FREE THROWS

    Among the coaches on hand at Hudson Catholic were Willard and Holloway from Seton Hall, Pitt’s Brandin Knight, Wagner’s Dan Hurley and Scott Smith and Iona’s Jared Grasso. Stay tuned for more recruiting updates on Reggie Cameron, Mike Young and Kavon Stewart of Hudson Catholic, which figures to challenge St. Anthony in the North Non-Public B bracket.

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    **Where does Seton Hall go from here?

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    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.