Ignore the 12.5-point spread. Forget the season-opening 21-point home loss to Indiana State. Seton Hall will get pushed by Indiana on Wednesday night Kevin Willard is convinced of it, and hes made sure his players wont overlook the Hoosiers.
Im hammering it into them, Willard said in a phone interview on Tuesday as his team prepared to host Indiana at the Prudential Center in the third annual Gavitt Games, eight games pitting the Big East against the Big Ten. Ive watched their games. They play at a much faster pace than anyone weve seen thus far. They really try to throw the ball inside more than anyone weve seen. I think theyre a very good basketball team.
Willard believes Indiana (1-1) is just struggling adjusting to a new coach, former Dayton head man Archie Miller. The Hoosiers still have plenty of talent, led by big man DeRon Davis and senior guards Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk. They rebounded from the Indiana State loss by knocking off Howard at home on Sunday.
This is definitely a challenge, Willard said. Theyve got good players and theyve got a good coach. Theyre just getting used to each other. Thats what it looks like during the games.
It will undoubtedly be a step up for the 22nd-ranked Pirates (2-0) after comfortable wins over Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth to begin the season. Seton Halls depth has been apparent so far Willard has used 10 players in his rotation, including freshmen Jordan Walker, Myles Cale and Sandro Mamukelashvili and so has its ball movement, averaging 15.5 assists. Senior Khadeen Carrington has tallied 10 in the two wins for the Pirates, who averaged 12.2 assists per game last year.
Were playing really unselfish, Willard said. I love that.
Tuesday afternoon, Seton Hall announced the signings of two members of its 2018 recruiting class: Harlem guard Anthony Nelson and Long Island wing Jared Rhoden. The three-star recruits both played for the New York Lightning the same program that produced Carrington and Angel Delgado. They will be joined next year by forward Darnell Brodie, who signed a National Letter of Intent last April, and is doing a postgraduate year at Montverde Academy in Florida, along with sit-out transfers Taurean Thompson (Syracuse) and Quincy McKnight (Sacred Heart).