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.
Hazell Pours in Career-High 35 Points; Gonzo on Garcia, Suspension & The Big East
Jeremy Hazell poured in a career-high 35 points on 15-of-26 shooting to lead Seton Hall to a 101-70 rout of in-state rival Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Seton Hall improved to 9-3 in its last non-conference game before beginning Big East play Tuesday at Syracuse.
Robert Mitchell added 24 points and a game-high 10 boards, Eugene Harvey scored 17 points and Jordan Theodore 11.
Sean Baptiste scored 31 for FDU (1-9).
Senior big man John Garcia sat out his third straight game because of problems with his surgically-repaired left knee and Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said Garcia was questionable for the Syracuse game.
“It’s a tough call,” Gonzalez said on WABC-770. “We don’t want to risk it and push him if he’s not ready. Not just because I can’t coach in the game [because of a suspension]. The only thing I worry about is I’m not there to monitor him in the game. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust my staff. That’s one thing.
“The other thing is, I’m not going to bring him back too quick if I know we got 18 league wars and you see how valuable he is to us. As we’re waiting to read this Keon Lawrence thing, there’s too many things hanging in the balance. If Heather and the doctors say, ‘Hey, he could use a few more days,’ then that’s what we’re going to give him.”
Gonzalez must sit out the Syracuse tilt because of a one-game school-imposed suspension and he said Dermon Player would run the team in his stead.
“What we’re going to do is I’ll be there to do everything, prepare the team, scouting reports, scouting, walk through practice, in the hotel,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll go through everything like I’m going to coach in the game. ONce the game comes, I can’t coach in the game. What I’ll do is because Dermon is my top guy, but we’ll do it a little bit by committee with Murph [Kevin Murphy] and those guys helping him. But Dermon will basically be the No. 1 guy that will step up and coach and then I’ll have Scott [Adubato] and Murph and those guys kind of help him by committee.
“We’re going to get through it as quick as possible. We don’t want it to be a distraction. I don’t want a lot of attention. To me it’s a blip on the radar screen. We’re going to play it, we’re going to move on and go to the next game.”
After the Syracuse game, things don’t get much easier. The Pirates return home to play West Virginia and No. 18 Villanova before visiting No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 2 UConn.
“The thing is, everybody is going to panic and have all these questions,” Gonzalez said. “You can’t say, ‘Oh my God, John Garcia. We’re too small, we’re this, we’re that.’ You can’t look at it like that. You take one game at a time. Last year we went on a five-game win streak, we were 15-6, everybody thought we were on the bubble for the NCAA. And then all of a sudden Paul Gause gets hurt, John Garcia gets hurt. We don’t close well. We lose seven of our last nine.
“You can’t look at it like that. You just gotta go one game at a time and try to win as many as you can. This league is going to be crazy. There’s also some teams we can beat. I mean, I hear rumors about some teams in the league that aren’t that good. Maybe we could steal some of those games. You don’t know.
“I tell our kids, one game at a time….You know it’s scary. I mean, you look at West Virginia beating Ohio State by 30 today and you say to yourself, ‘My goodness gracious, they’re picked ninth or something like that.’
“You look at it like that, you’ll throw up and you won’t show up for the games, so you gotta go one at a time.”
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.