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.
For SHU’s Carrington and RU’s Williams, rivalry means bragging rights in more ways than one
When Seton Hall sophomore guard Khadeen Carrington steps on the floor on Saturday at the RAC, the Pirates’ Garden State Hardwood Classic match-up with Rutgers will mean a lot in more ways than one.
The rivalry speaks for itself, but Carrington will see someone familiar on the other side in Rutgers red, his high school teammate and friend Mike Williams. The two played together at Bishop Loughlin High School, and made for quite a duo.
Carrington is Loughlin’s all-time leading scorer with 2,196 career points and capped his career with the 2014 New York Daily News Brooklyn Player of the Year Award in 2014, while Williams was a two-time NYDN First Team All-City honoree during his career.
“This rivalry means a ton,” said Carrington. “But with my high school teammate on the other side, it means even more. There’s a lot on the line, and it’s all about bragging rights.”
Carrington is off to a red-hot start for The Hall this season, with back-to-back career-high performances. On Saturday night in a 69-62 victory over Georgia, the second-year guard went off for 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists. He surpassed the 20 point-mark on Wednesday, exploding for 21 in what was a 72-64 defeat at the hands of a 7-1 George Washington team.
“As a freshman, I was still trying to figure so much out,” said Carrington. “It’s not as hard as a sophomore. My feel for the game has gotten better, and I’m looking to get going early in games. I think part of it is knowing my role on this team this year and knowing that I’ve got to be a leader.”
Working with Isaiah Whitehead in what is a thin backcourt in terms of depth, the Pirates’ play has really depended on the two sophomore guards at the forefront of the backcourt. That was put on display in Saturday’s win over UGA, when the two combined for 42 points while Whitehead delivered a late dagger three.
On the flip side, the Abraham Lincoln High School product only tallied nine in Wednesday’s loss to George Washington, and will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Piscataway on Saturday.
“We’ve got to shoot the ball better,” said Carrington. “We’re getting looks, but they’ve got to keep falling for us to win.”
When the 5-2 Pirates and 3-4 Scarlet Knights tip off Saturday, Rutgers will be seeking revenge after SHU buried RU last year at the Prudential Center, 81-54. Eddie Jordan’s team will have to do so without power forward Deshawn Freeman, who will sit out due to a knee injury. Even though they’re playing without one of their stars, Carrington knows Rutgers still wants to get his team back.
“We know they have to be hungry for us after what happened last year,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle with them, we know that. And, to go into that atmosphere with their fans, we have to keep our focus.
* Seton Hall may have to go without its all-sophomore starting five for the second time this season. Sophomore Ismael Sanogo is questionable with a shoulder injury, which could cause a shift in Kevin Willard’s rotation. We could see Desi Rodriguez play at the power forward spot a little more, with Derrick Gordon and Veer Singh sharing duties at the other wing spot.
* There will lots of young talent on the floor Saturday, as the Scarlet Knights counter Whitehead and Carrington with freshman guard Corey Sanders, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half in Monday’s 69-68 loss to Wake Forest in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge
* At halftime of Saturday’s game, Rutgers 1966-67 team, which went to the semifinals of the NIT and finished 22-7, will be honored. The squad featured co-captains Bob Lloyd and the legendary Jim Valvano
* Series History: This will be the 67th meeting in the series between SHU and Rutgers. The Pirates lead it 37-29, and these two know all to well how to play to dramatic finishes. 17 of the last 20 meetings have been decided by six points or less or have gone to overtime The series is even in Piscataway, as Rutgers has gone 16-16 in home match-ups with SHU.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.