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.
Freshmen Duo Vying for Hazell’s Old Job at Seton Hall
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Make no mistake about it, Shaheen Holloway says.
Neither Aaron Cosby nor Haralds Karlis is Jeremy Hazell.
“No, that’s not fair,” Holloway said Wednesday at Seton Hall media day. “He’s [freakin’] Jeremy Hazell. He had a chance to be the all-time leading scorer in Big East history.”
Hazell finished his Seton Hall career with 2,148 points, third in school history. He might have become the all-time leading scorer, but missed 13 games last season with a broken wrist. He’s now playing professionally in Spain.
In the post-Hazell Era, either the 6-foot-3 Cosby or the 6-5 Karlis — both freshmen — will likely start at shooting guard this season for coach Kevin Willard’s Pirates.
“I love Hazy,” Willard, whose team was picked 13th in the Big East poll, said of Hazell. “I miss Hazy. You can’t replace Jeremy Hazell with a freshman. That ain’t happening.
“What you have to do is you have to get some of your veteran guys to step up and you need one or two of the freshmen to be able to score eight points a game, nine points a game, and everyone else has to boost it up.”
When Seton Hall visits Boston College Saturday in a closed scrimmage, Willard knows he will start Jordan Theodore at the point, Fuquan Edwin at the three, Patrik Auda at the four and Herb Pope at the five. But the fifth starter is still up for grabs.
Both Cosby, a Louisville native who played for coach John Carroll at Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.), and Karlis, a native of Riga, Latvia, said part of their motivation in shooting Seton Hall was because of the playing time made available by Hazell’s departure.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to play in first year already,” Karlis said. “It’s gonna be amazing experience for me.”
Said Cosby: “I saw an opportunity to play right away in the best conference, in the Big East, so that’s why I’m here.”
Asked to compare the two players, Cosby said he believes he’s a better shooter, but acknowledges that Karlis has a size advantage.
“I think it depends on matchups,” Cosby said. “It’s not a big deal to me. I just want to play.”
Willard said he plans to play two other freshmen guards — Freddie Wilson and Sean Grennan — some at the point, allowing Theodore to move over to the off guard.
Cosby may eventually see time at the point, but not right now.
“Aaron is a shooter,” said Holloway, the associate head coach. “Over the years, we gotta get him to put it on the floor a little better.”
Karlis, meantime, must adjust to the rough-and-tumble American style of play after playing at the Canarias Basketball Academy, the same program that produced Auda and Seton Hall big man Aaron Geramipoor.
“Haralds, he’s just gotta learn the American game,” Holloway said. “He’s getting hit with screens left and right. But he’s a tough, hard-nosed kid. Probably he’s the best teammate out of all them.”
Said Karlis: “My strength is definitely shooting the ball. I’m not selfish so I’m going to pass the ball. I try to talk in practices. I try to talk with the team, communciate on the court.”
Willard said he believes that down the road, both Karlis and Cosby could averaged 15 to 17 points per game, but certainly not right away.
In the end, neither freshman will have to fill the huge shoes of Hazell — a high-volume, demon of a 3-point shooter who accounted for 21 percent of Seton Hall’s shots last season.
“I think it’s going to have to be collective, between a few players,” Cosby said. “Guys are going to have step up, guys are going to have to make shots.
“We’re a good shooting team. so I think once we get clicking we’re going to make up for a lot of that scoring.”
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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.