Myles Powell eyeing NCAA East Regional at the Garden, March run as Seton Hall picked to win the Big East | Zagsblog
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Monday / October 21.
  • Myles Powell eyeing NCAA East Regional at the Garden, March run as Seton Hall picked to win the Big East

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Even before Seton Hall was picked to win the Big East regular-season title, and before he was named Big East Preseason Player of the Year on Thursday, Myles Powell was eyeing the East Regional at Madison Square Garden in March.

    The Trenton, N.J. native, knows that nearby Albany, N.Y. hosts early-round games in the Big Dance while the Garden hosts the East Regional March 27-29.

    If all goes according to his ideal plan, Powell and the Pirates could be dazzling fans during a March Madness run in a couple of months.

    “Especially with it being in Albany NY and [the Regional] right there in the Garden,” he told me last week at practice. “We never know. We could wind up close to home and that would be a dream come true.”

    Seton Hall, a preseason Top 15 team in many polls, now has an ever bigger bullseye on its back after the league’s coaches picked the Pirates over defending regular-season and tournament champion Villanova.

    “I think we beat them by 1 in the Big East final,” Villanova coach Jay Wright told me of his team’s two-point 74-72 victory in the Big East final last March.

    “They were that good last year and they’ve got most of that team coming back and I think probably the best player in the league in Myles Powell. And Kevin [Willard] is a great coach. And they’ve been there. It’s not like this is new to them, they’ve been there before. So I think they’re going to be a really good team.”

    Led by Powell, the Pirates have a deep, big and veteran team that includes two 7-footers in Romaro Gill and Florida State transfer Ike Obigau.

    A candidate for the 2020 Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and consensus All-America, Powell is only the second-ever Pirate to earn the Big East’s top preseason honor. He joins The Hall’s all-time leading scorer Terry Dehere, who was the Big East Preseason Player of the Year in 1992-93 and went on to win the actual award at the end of the regular season.

    Powell averaged 23.1 points per game last season before testing the NBA Draft waters and then returning to school.

    Willard has stacked the schedule with matchups against preseason No. 1 Michigan State, along with Maryland, Iowa State and Saint Louis. The Pirates will also travel to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis where they open against Pac-12 favorite Oregon.

    Willard packed the schedule because he knows he has a veteran team capable of a deep run. He wants to learn about his team early, and also wants to build a resume for March.

    “Coach knows what he’s doing,” Powell said. “If he didn’t believe in us and think that we’re ready, he wouldn’t’ set us up for failure. He put this schedule [together] and he did what he did for a reason and I know we’re going to be ready. We have one of the best coaches in the country and we’re definitely going to be prepared.”

    For Powell, anything less than a run at a Big East title and a deep run in March — possibly at the Garden — will mark failure in his senior season.

    “Yeah, of course,” he told me. “Since I’ve been here coach has always had high expectations for us and we’re going to all live up to them. We gotta understand this year that we’re everybody’s best game and we gotta have that same hunger that we had last year.

    “Last year we had that edge on our shoulders becuase they had us 8th in the Big East. We didn’t know how we were going to be without the seniors and stuff and I feel like we gotta have the same hunger and that same edge and we’ll be alright.”

    2019-20 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll

    1.      Seton Hall (5) – 77 points

    2.      Villanova (5) – 76

    3.      Xavier – 52

    T4. Marquette – 50

    T4. Providence – 50

    6       Georgetown – 49

    7.      Creighton – 45

    8.      Butler – 21

    9.      St. John’s – 19

    10.   DePaul – 11

    First-place votes in parentheses.

    2019-20 BIG EAST Preseason Honors

    BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year

    Myles Powell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Trenton, N.J.

    BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year

    Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova F, Fr., 6-9, 232, Overland Park, Kan.

    BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team

    Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Sr., 6-1, 190, Winder, Ga.

    Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Charlotte, N.C.

    Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Sr., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.*

    Alpha Diallo, Providence, G, Sr., 6-7, 210, New York, N.Y.*

    Naji Marshall, Xavier, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Atlantic City, N.J.*

    BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team^

    Paul Reed, DePaul, F, Jr., 6-9, 215, Orlando, Fla.

    James Akinjo, Georgetown, G, So., 6-0, 180, Oakland, Cal.

    L.J. Figueroa, St. John’s, G-F, Jr., 6-6, 195, Lawrence, Mass.

    Mustapha Heron, St. John’s, G, Sr., 6-5, 210, Waterbury, Conn.

    Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-3, 191, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

    Jermaine Samuels, Villanova, F, Jr., 6-7, 222, Franklin, Mass.

    Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention

    Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown, C, Jr., 7-0, 275, Istanbul, Turkey

    Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-4, 196, Indianapolis, Ind.

    *Unanimous selection

    ^Tie in the voting allowed for an additional honoree

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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.