Kadary Richmond, Seton Hall Pirates

After a so-so debut, Seton Hall Pirates head coach Shaheen Holloway is hoping for a better second season in South Orange.

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Shaheen Holloway returned home to the Seton Hall Pirates following a miracle of an Elite 8 run for his Saint Peter’s Peacocks. However, Holloway’s first season in South Orange didn’t go as planned. The Pirates went 17-16, but struggled to score points and missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

SHU saw a big roster overhaul, led by Tyrese Samuel, Femi Odukale, and Tray Jackson all deciding to transfer. KC Ndefo graduated, which left the Pirates with holes to fix in the middle. Holloway saw the need for new big men and landed Elijah Hutchins-Everett and Jaden Bediako from the transfer portal. Both players are flying under the radar, but have big builds that make them interesting pickups to keep an eye on in the always physical Big East.

The Pirates should be strong at guard and on the wing, with four seniors that should lead the team. This includes the starting backcourt from last year, which is back.

Overall, the biggest questions for Seton Hall are in the frontcourt, and depth, but they have the pieces to follow up with a better season than last year.

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Head coach: Shaheen Holloway (6th season, 2nd at Seton Hall)

2022-23 record: 17-16 (10-10)

2023 postseason finish: Lost to Colorado, 65-64, in first round of NIT

Notable departures: Tyrese Samuel (Transferred to Florida), KC Ndefo (Graduated), Femi Odukale (Transferred to New Mexico State), Tray Jackson (Transferred to Michigan), Jamir Harris (Graduated)

Notable non-conference games: vs. USC (Nov. 23), vs. Oklahoma or Iowa (Nov. 24), at Baylor (Dec. 5), vs. Rutgers (Dec. 9), at Missouri (Dec. 17)

Projected Rotation

PG: Kadary Richmond (6-6, 210, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 10.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.0 SPG

SG: Al-Amir Dawes (6-2, 180, Gr.-Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 12.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 38.2 3P%

SF: Dylan Addae-Wusu (6-4, 230, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 9.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 36.3 3P% (St. John’s)

PF: Dre Davis (6-6, 212, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 9.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 51.7 FG%

C: Elijah Hutchins-Everett (6-11, 255, Jr.) 

2022-23 stats: 11.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.9 APG (Austin Peay)

6: Jaden Bediako (6-10, 245, Gr.-Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 6.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 BPG, 52.0 FG% (Santa Clara)

7: Isaiah Coleman (6-5, 180, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 113 rated recruit

8: Jaquan Sanders (6-4, 205, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG

9: JaQuan Harris (6-3, 183, So.)

2022-23 stats: DNP (knee injury)

10: Sadraque NgaNga (6-10, 220, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.3 APG (Boise State)

11: David Tubek (6-7, 205, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 277 rated recruit

Seton Hall Pirates MVP: Kadary Richmond

An all-around player, Richmond plays the point guard position in a unique way. At 6-foot-6, he’s certainly one of the tallest PGs in the Big East. This has helped him take over games when he has a favorable one-on-one matchup. Richmond also plays methodically but has aggression around the basket and on defense. It will be interesting to see if he uses that same pace of play, or if Holloway will try and speed up Richmond’s style.

Richmond is coming off an injury-filled season, and played in his last game of last season on Feb. 18. It will be crucial for a healthy Richmond to make the Pirates go. Although there are other key players in the backcourt, Richmond is the gas that makes the SHU engine run. Having him on the court is almost a necessity.

After a good freshman season at Syracuse, Richmond’s utilization has gone up at Seton Hall. However, with this being his senior season, many people are expecting a breakout year. He’s shown flashes – 27 points in a win over UConn in 2022, a 12-point, 10-assist game against Georgetown, and a 28-point outing against Providence last season. But Richmond doesn’t always come to play with that same edge every game. Getting more consistency out of their best player would make a big difference for Seton Hall.

Seton Hall Pirates make-or-break player: Jaquan Sanders

Although the Pirates NEED answers in the frontcourt, they also need depth and three-point shooting. Jaquan Sanders could wind up providing both in an important role off the bench for the Hall.

As a freshman, Sanders saw the court in 22 games. He was a half-step away from securing a spot in the rotation, but never fully got around. As a sophomore, Sanders will get more chances to be an asset for the Pirates.

Sanders showed a few glimpses of his ability to shoot the three-ball. Against Monmouth, Sanders went 2-for-4 from deep, and against Xavier, he also went 2-for-4. It’s a very small sample size, but when Sanders did see more court time, it was usually thanks to strong shooting performances.

Although the Seton Hall Pirates have a fairly strong starting lineup, the bench is far from complete. There’s no reason Sanders can’t grow into a major role as the season goes on, and if he can become a knock-down three-point shooter, it will give the Hall someone they can count on when the starting backcourt needs a rest or gets in foul trouble. It’s the depth pieces that really make a team.

Key analytic: FTAR

This Haslametrics stat told the story all too well for the Seton Hall Pirates last season. SHU had the 14th-best rate of free throw attempts per 100 trips up the court. The Pirates played aggressively driving to the rim and drawing fouls. In the Big East, it’s a great way to play, because physical play is the identity of the conference.

However, Seton Hall did not make the most of their opportunities. Of the top 14 teams in FTAR, the Pirates had the worst free throw percentage. In fact, as a team, SHU was just inside the top 300 in the country, certainly an issue throughout the season.

I’m a strong believer in free throws mattering, especially for a team that went 5-7 in games decided by 7 points or less. I’d bet that with better free-throw shooting, Seton Hall could have made the NCAA Tournament last season.

Seton Hall Pirates 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 8th in the Big East

Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 64 Exit

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