Andre Drummond: 'Who's Herb Pope?' | Zagsblog
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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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Friday / July 12.
  • Andre Drummond: ‘Who’s Herb Pope?’

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    Seton Hall power forward Herb Pope ranks among the Big East leaders in scoring and rebounding.

    His team is 12-2 and getting ready to host defending national champion UConn Tuesday night at The Prudential Center (7 p.m., SNY).

    But don’t ask 6-foot-11 UConn freshman Andre Drummond who Pope is because he apparently has no idea.

    “I don’t even know who [Pope] is,” Drummond told Connecticut reporters after Monday’s practice. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful. They said the name to me in practice and I was like ‘Wait, who’s Herb Pope?'”

    Well, here’s a primer, Andre.

    A Big East Player of the Year candidate, the 6-8 Pope is averaging 18.6 points and 10.9 rebounds. He has eight double-doubles in 13 games.

    He made news in April 2010 when he collapsed during a workout at Walsh Gym in and nearly died because of a heart abnormality.

    After a sluggish junior season, he spent seven weeks training with former NBA head coach John Lucas in Houston and has come back to South Orange a new man who has terrorized opponents.

    “I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone,” Drummond said after his comments hit the Internet. “I was just being honest — I’ve never seen them play before.”

    UConn has won 25 of 27 games against Seton Hall since the 1993-4 season and is 11-0 against the Pirates since 2001-2.

    Yet George Blaney, who is running the show for the Huskies while Jim Calhoun serves a three-game suspension, knows that Pope and senior point guard Jordan Theodore have made the Pirates better from a year ago.

    “The key was whether or not Theodore or  Pope were going to change the way they play,” said Blaney, who coached Seton Hall for three years in the 1990s. “And once they changed the way they play, then all of the sudden, they had talent. And you need talent in this league. There have been a lot of great coaches who have done great jobs with teams, but if you don’t have talent, you’re still not going to win.”

    Seton Hall has been winning.

    A year ago at this time, the Pirates were 7-7. Now they are on a roll and own wins over VCU, St. Joe’s, Auburn, Wake Forest, West Virginia and at Dayton.

    But the UConn game will be a true measuring stick.

    After facing Seton Hall, UConn will remain in the New York area through Saturday, when they play at Rutgers.

    On Wednesday, former UConn star Kemba Walker will return to Madison Square Garden with the Charlotte Bobcats against the Knicks.

    The last time Walker played at MSG, he led the Huskies to five victories in five days en route to the Big East — and later the national — championship.

    The Huskies could take a field trip to the Garden to see their former teammate, but first things first.

    Drummond and company have to deal with Seton Hall.

    “I haven’t seen any other team besides my own,” Drummond said. “I’m not interested in any other team besides my own. I’m worried about UConn, not anybody we’re playing.”

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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.

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