Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
Seton Hall Pirates Men's Basketball
The Big Picture:
Coach Kevin Willard guided the Pirates into the NIT last season, his second year at the Seton Hall helm. The team’s top scorers, seniors Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope, have departed, but Willard believes two quality transfers will help his young nucleus and push the Pirates higher in the league standings. After a 15-2 start, the 2011-12 squad finished 21-8 overall and 8-10 in the BIG EAST. The Pirates made it into the national polls for the first time in 11 years.
Fuquan Edwin, a 6-foot-6 wing, emerged as one of the BIG EAST’s most versatile players as a sophomore last season. He averaged 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and led the league with a 3.0 steals mark. Edwin also earned a reputation as one the BIG EAST’s top defenders. Aaron Cosby won a starting guard spot as a freshman and averaged 7.9 points. He was the top 3-point shooting threat, making 37.7 percent. Patrik Auda, a 6-foot-9 junior, averaged 6.8 points and 4.0 rebounds as a starting forward. The Pirates got reserve help from rookies Brandon Mobley (5.6, 4.4) at forward and Haralds Karlis (3.2) and Freddie Wilson (1.8) at guard. Backup center Aaron Geramipoor (1.4, 2.2), a 6-foot-11 junior, also returns.
Theodore put together an excellent senior season. He averaged 16.1 points and was second in the BIG EAST with a 6.6 assist average. Theodore was an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection. Pope finished second in the conference in rebounding with a 10.4 average. He also averaged 15.1 points.
The Pirates are anxious to get 6-foot-6 Brian Oliver and 6-foot-9 Gene Teague, a pair of junior transfers who sat out last season, on the floor. Oliver is a dynamic scorer who is expected to be one of the top offensive threats. Teague is a bruising forward who will contribute immediately in the paint. Also, 6-foot-4 guard Kyle Smith has transferred from Iona as a graduate student and will have one season of eligibility. He is an able 3-point threat. If Edwin continues to improve, he should be one of the top players in the conference. Continued progress by Cosby, Auda and Mobley could help give Seton Hall its first winning season in league play since 2005-06.