January 27, 2022

Newark, NJ- OK Pirate Nation, I’ve heard you loud and clear last night while at the game, corresponding with many of you about our annual January swoon. My partner Joey Jarzynka of the Eastern Observer noted during the game that Head Coach KEVIN WILLARD is now 25-26 in the month January since the 2014-15 season. So yes, you’re not wrong with the assumption that we seem to go through this every year because we do! Is this a characteristic of Coach Willard’s coaching or the tough pre-Big East season he sets up to get the team ready? Then again, off the top of my head, I don’t recall the Villanovas, Xaviers and Providences going through a swoon period like us year after year. Do upsets happen? Heck yes! But it just seems our Pirate teams of late hit a brick wall and go through a dry period year after year.

I still have the utmost in confidence in this team. For one, our “swoon” has occurred a week or two earlier than usual, which means that we have plenty of time to rest, regroup and get into a roll before the Big East Tournament and the Big Dance. As Coach Willard mentioned during last night's presser, the leading scorer in Big East play league-wide is BRYCE AIKEN! I didn’t even realize that and it makes sense that our “swoon” has coincided with Aiken being in concussion protocol. Kadary Richmond is also playing PG for the first time at the college level so he’s literally learning on the fly AND clearly exhausted going from 24-25 minutes/game to 39-40 minutes/game in Aiken’s absence. After the first half, our shooting split was 24%- FG, 30%- 3PT and 50%- FT compared to Marquette’s 50-50-0 (See above) Even the best teams in the nation would be hard-pressed to beat anyone with those percentages. When asked at the presser about their recent slow starts, Senior F JARED RHODEN responded that the team just needs to get together and figure it out. The team is still in the process of re-grouping after their “Covid period” so maybe nearly a week off to their next game (Georgetown, February 1st) they can find the answer to both ending their slow starts and their January swoon.

Congratulations to Gr. C IKE OBIAGU for eclipsing SAMUEL DALEMBERT’S team blocked shots record and has now blocked a shot in 28 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. While stating that the record is a great accomplishment, he admitted that he’s never seen Dalembert play. If you don’t already know, Dalembert has had probably the greatest NBA career of any Seton Hall Pirate (13 seasons). See everyone next Friday night as we take on Creighton at home for that rare Friday night college hoops game!

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