With Whitehead to Seton Hall, Is Tiny Morton Next? | Zagsblog
Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
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.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Couldn't connect with Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Saturday / June 3.
  • With Whitehead to Seton Hall, Is Tiny Morton Next?

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog
    NEW YORK — Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard has already hired one assistant coach with ties to a highly-touted 2014 recruit.

    Is Willard on the brink of hiring a second?

    “Coach Willard is a guy who’s hungry,” Brooklyn Lincoln coach Tiny Morton said shortly after his star guard, 6-foot-4 likely McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Whitehead, chose Seton Hall over St. John’s and others Thursday afternoon. “He didn’t win any championships so he’s going to probably do what he’s gotta do to make sure everybody is successful.”

    About a month after 6-9 rebounding machine Angel Delgado committed to Seton Hall in August, Seton Hall officially hired one of Delgado’s mentors, former Manhattan and St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua.

    There had been rumblings all summer on the recruiting circuit about a potential Antigua/Delgado package, and Seton Hall ultimately made it come to fruition.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong or illegal with such a move, and in fact Willard was thinking outside the box — a la Kentucky coach John Calipari — when he made the Antigua hire.

    “Oliver adds a new dimension to the program with his vast knowledge of New York City high school basketball coupled with his experience coaching on the international level,” Willard said in a press release that mysteriously disappeared from the Seton Hall Website on Thursday. “He is a proven recruiter who has experienced success throughout his coaching career. We are very excited to welcome Oliver to the Seton Hall family.”

    A potential Morton/Whitehead package was also discussed in recruiting circles over the summer, but once the Antigua/Delgado thing happened, many wondered if Seton Hall would have room for both.

    It remains to be seen whether Willard will hire Morton — the fiery, longtime Lincoln coach who has sent Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson to the NBA. Morton stopped short of saying there was a position awaiting him at Seton Hall, but he certainly wasn’t hiding his desire to join a college staff.

    “Isaiah picked Seton Hall because it’s the right fit,” Morton said. “If it’s the right fit, I’ll probably make a move if I can.”

    When asked if he expected to be the Lincoln coach going forward, Morton said “I expect to coach Lincoln until somebody offers me a job that’s appealing enough for me to leave. Seton Hall, St. John’s, UConn, tri-state area’s my strength,so help me out.”

    In an unusual bit of candor, Morton said he even spoke Thursday with St. John’s coach Steve Lavin about potentially joining his staff.

    “I had Lavin on the phone today telling me I was going everywhere,” Morton said. “But I asked Lav, ‘Why you didn’t have a spot for me there?'”

    At this point Willard doesn’t have an assistant coaching spot on his staff since Antigua, Shaheen Holloway and Freddie Hill all have jobs. One of them would have to leave — or be reshuffled — now or perhaps in 2014 for Morton to be added as a coach.

    Asked if he would coach Lincoln in 2014, Morton laughed and said, “Ha, who knows?”

    Would Whitehead like Morton, the man who was his teacher in middle school for two years, to join the Seton Hall staff?

    “Oh definitely,” he said. “That would make me even more comfortable than I am now so definitely.”

    While Willard has added some great players with these moves, it does run the risk of making your program become hostage to whoever the hottest recruits of the moment are, and of causing unnecessary turnover.

    What happens if Seton Hall hires Morton, Whitehead goes one-and-done and then Seton Hall wants another big-time player in two years?

    Both Morton and Whitehead said him being one-and-done wasn’t out of the question.

    “I believe there’s a great possibility of it but that’s just hard work and dedication in the classroom and on the court,” Whitehead said.

    Still, at a place like Seton Hall, where they need to make a bold move upwards in the new Big East, Kevin Willard continues to think outside the box and the moves have paid off with a tremendous recruiting class.

    One thing’s for sure: Seton Hall will be loaded with talent a year from now.

    Photo: Daily News



    Written by

    [email protected]

    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.