Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Seton Hall traveled north tonight to take on Syracuse in the first BIG EAST game this season but they probably wished they had stayed home. With John Garcia missing his fourth straight game with a knee injury and Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez serving his one game suspension handed down by Czar Quinlan, Seton Hall lost 100-76.

Syracuse proved why they are the 1th ranked team in the country, shooting lights out against the outsized, outmanned Pirates squad. Canadian Mountie Andy Routins shot an unconscious 7-10 from 3pt range, leading a Syracuse team that shot 12-22 from 3. Contrast that with Seton Hall's abysmal 2-27 shooting from the arc and now you can get an idea as to why the Hall lost by 24 points.

Robert Mitchell continued his stellar play grabbing 12 rebounds (5 offensive) and putting up 22 points thereby earning himself Setonia's first Player of the Game award. However, that was the only higlight for the Hall. Brandon "Wawa" Walters almost created his own highlight film with a ridiculous one-handed put back dunk, but like most things tonight for Seton Hall, that came up short as well. In further disappointing news, Jordan Theodore continued his downward spiral as he too often looked lost on the floor, forcing too many bad passes and therefore committing too many turnovers.

Even with John Garcia and Gonzo at the helm, it would have been a tough night. Regardless, I think there were two factors that would have been against the Hall even if we had a fully healthy team. In looking at the box score, one thing sticks out like a sore thumb - Syracuse had 8 players come off the bench, the exact number of scholarship players on our entire team. Wow. On another note, on a cold Monday night the day before New Years in the middle of winter break, Syracuse had 23,000 plus at their game creating a raucus home crowd. Imagine what it would have been like if it was the middle of the semester and the students were there...?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hall Stylin'

With the economic crisis continuing to worsen and war raging in the Middle East, it's clear there's one thing on everybody's mind: fashion. For that reason, Dave and I felt compelled to highlight some of the more creative styles of this year's debonair squad. 

Jeremy Hazell: The landing strip pho-hawk

If you ask a person from middle America, hey, have you ever heard of Newark?? Usually, they respond with "No." Or, depending on your gender, "No'm." Occasionally, you'll meet somebody who has heard of Newark Airport. 

This was no doubt in mind when sophomore shooting stud Jeremy Hazell recently decided to shave both sides of his head, leaving a perfect landing strip of hawk down the middle of his dome. Taking after a star power forward from UConn, the Hazell pho-hawk adds another layer of intensity and makes his screaming during inbounds defense all the more feral. 

Fashion Police Score: 9.4

Brandon Wawa: The blue collar goatee

In America nowadays times are tough. From the union auto worker who just lost his pension, to the toll taker made obsolete because of EZ Pass, the tough guys on the street are the ones feeling it most. 

As a show of solidarity, Wawa -- whose nickname happens to coincide with a struggling convenient store chain along the outskirts of the rust belt -- has decided to sport the manliest of facial hair: the working man's goat. While Wawa can definitely get a little fancy sometimes out on the court, make no mistake... this guy puts the team first. Whether it's coming up with a big rebound or fighting for a deflection, Wawa is a man out there. A man with a goat. 

Fashion Police Score: 8.8

Pete "The Falcon" Peregrin: The boy-band ski-jump

With an apparent homage to the ever-popular Backstreet Boys of the late nineties, Pete has decided to wear his hair with just the right amount of gel to effect a perfectly understated "flip" in the front. Dubbed the "ski-jump" for its parabolic, yet gradual rise in elevation, the flip culminates in an almost static-electric facade of hair above the forehead, making it impossible for even the most nonchalant cheerleader to look away. The "ski-jump" also gives Pete a clear edge on the bench, and helps him stand out from his fellow walk-ons. 

Fashion Police Score: 9.1 

Stay fabulous, SHU!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hall Rolls Over "Fairly"

With chants of "Fairly Ridiculous" reverberating in my skull, Seton Hall played a masterful second half last night to defeat an overmatched Morris county squad, 101 - 70 . Coming off consecutive losses to IUPUI and JMU, the victory was much needed for our morale. (The past few days have been particularly difficult for Dave... He has been hunger striking as a show of support for the team.) Hazell starred with superb shooting for 35 points and Wawa played decently around the basket, flaunting his pillowy mitts during each timeout. Also, Matt "The Juice" Cajuste added some nice moments off the bench. Even the Falcon Peregrin soared!

But while tonight's win was a true team effort, most of my attention was focused on Stix. You see, earlier in the day I had played a tough 5-on-5 pick up game at the recently renovated JCC in West Orange. With my sneakers freshly polished and my game similarly polished, I was ready to ball. Unfortunately, I somehow found myself appointed team power forward... next thing I knew was bodying against this mountain of a man who used his elbows like ginsu knives. Nevertheless, I would not give up. After receiving monthly payment after monthly payment of ginsu knives to my face, I continued to battle. And even though my final "stat line" was not traditionally impressive, I can assure you my "intangibles" were off the charts.  

Stix, we are two peas in a pod, my friend. I feel your pain and I respect your toughness all the more. Also, let me know if you'd ever like to stop by the JCC... I can get you a guest pass. Unless of course you're already a member! Then you should just enter the building regularly and wait for me at the water fountain. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Popkin, Mitchell Not Enough; Hall Loses 70-64

What was supposed to be a nice peaceful evening listening to the Prodigal Son and Gary Cohen announce an easy Seton Hall victoryA turned into an actual nightmare. The Hall travelled south this evening to take on James Madison University in what should have been a rather winnable OOC game. Instead, James Madison came out swinging and led at one point by 21 points in the first half. Overcoming their second straight sluggish start, the Hall battled back in classic Hall form, overcoming the 21 point deficit with a combination of steals, three point daggers and pressure D. However, it just wasn't enough.

For the third straight game, Seton Hall relied heavily on their "sprint squad," playing with four guards and Robert "Stix Mitchell" as their "center." Stix actually single handedly kept the Hall in the game, putting up 23 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. However, there is no possible way that Stix can be expected to matchup with the likes of Harangody, Thabeet and Onuaku. Mike Davis and Brandon Walters were virtually invisible tonight playing a combined 20 minutes and zero collective minutes in the second half. With John Garcia out for the next few games, Seton Hall is going to have to learn how to play its young big men, especially when BIG EAST play begins. If Davis and Wawa cant grow a pair of mitts soon, it will be a long, long season for the Pirates - even when John Garcia does return.

Gonzo's reluctance to use either of his backup big men forced him to turn to walk-on Matt "O' Say" Cajuste for a few minutes to spell Paul Gause as he fixed his knee brace. If that's not a slap in the face to Wawa or Davis, I'm not sure what is. Maybe it's a wake up call. Maybe it's the extra motivation they need. The point is - in order to compete in the BIG EAST, Gonzo is going to have to call upon either Mike Davis or Brandon Walters, even when John Garcia does return from his inury. Garcia can not be expected to play day in and dayout on two surgically repaired knees against some of the biggest bodies in college basketball. He is going to need help and someone is going to have to step up. Since I'm not eligble to play yet, it's going to have to be someone else....Ben...??

The other thought that Ben and I kept having was how on earth will Seton Hall compete with the top teams in the BIG EAST if they have to scramble to come from behind against the likes of Delaware, Cal Baptist, IUPUI and James Madison? If they can be go down by 21 to James Madison, what will happen when they play Louisivlle? Or UConn? I've heard many say that Seton Hall plays to its competition. Well that may be true, but where is the mental toughness? If they were to play a high school team, would they lose by 40?

In the lone bright spot of the evening, Ben and I were able to add a new nickname to our list. At roughly the nine minute mark of the second half, the Prodigal Son was true to his name when he coined the nickname "Eu-Genius" in reference to one of Eugene Harvey's circus layups. "Eu-Genius..?" No, Dave Popkin, you're a genius.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hall Lands "Big Daddy" Kane

According to MSG reporter and New Jersey-demigod Anthony "Fooch" Fucilli, Seton Hall has received a verbal commitment from DeAndre "Big Daddy" Kane, a shooting guard from the Patterson School in NC. This is the same school that produced SHU's sharpshooter, Jeremy Hazell. Nice work, Fooch!!

At Setonia, we're very happy with this news. Kane had been hotly sought after by a number of big-time Big East programs, including Pitt and UConn, and his stock was on the rise. Based on various scouting reports I've read, he's a scorer and an excellent outside shooter.

If we have one hesitation, Dave and I are a little distraught that Kane comes to SHU with an already established nickname. Why not "Citizen Kane" or "DeAndre 300"? One of our greatest joys is coming up with the nickname ourselves. Still, we will embrace the "Big Daddy" with open arms, and hope that he can play like a "Big" because at 6'2'', he'll probably be playing power forward.

Think we're gonna be sick...

In one of the most stomach-churning college basketball games you will ever see, Seton Hall lost a heartbreaker at home to the visiting IUPUI Jaguars. With almost as many letters in its name as points scored, Indiana University Purdue-University Indianapolis beat the Hall 67-65 on a last second layup that bounced around the rim and then actually stopped atop the iron for seemingly an eternity (2 seconds) before falling in. That last second drive by IUPUI was just the final straw in a game that had many up and downs from the beginning.

After breaking the news of Big Mel and still basking in the success of our music video, Ben and I arrived at the Rock with our supporting cast - Coach Gonzo and the Ref - who were warmly received by fellow Seton Hall fans. It was such a great feeling to introduce Gonzo and the Ref to our friends and extended family... See you next year at Thanksgiving!!

Then, as we started walking to our seats, we looked up to the scoreboard to see that last game's hero, Brandon "Wawa" Walters, was getting the starting nod!! A much deserved start after a valiant effort against St. Peter's last Saturday. Also, we know how hard the kid works, how much he wants to please the coaching staff and how much his teammates root for him - so it was a pleasant surprise to see his efforts being rewarded.

But then, wait, oh no! As the starting lineups were being announced, the PA announcer declared that a "Class B Technical Foul Penalty" had been assessed against Seton Hall resulting in two foul shots to be taken before tipoff. Not exactly the way we wanted to start the game. But oh well, Seton Hall has battled adversity before and this would prove to be no different. We're used to the chips being stacked against us.

As the game progressed and the Hall fell behind due to sluggish play and poor shooting, we felt an obligation to rally the crowd. With most of the student section away on holiday break, Ben and I decided to return to our collegiate roots, harassing the refs with the most outlandish and creative insults possible in the efforts to provide a spark. After all, if the team cant make their shots, why not take our own shots at the refs!? Then, the unthinkable happened. After one of our more ingenious and visually inspiring provocations, two female security guards approached Ben and asked to see his ticket. Now I'm not sure what was more surprising - Ben's ability to sweet talk the guards or the fact that they did not recognize us from our video!?!? Honestly, how could they forget? Maybe they would have recognized him if he had performed some dance moves?? Fortunately for us, Ben was allowed to stay in the arena, provided he return to his actual seat which just so happened was geometrically the furthest one from where he was sitting. 

After a game that felt more like a ride at Six Flags than a basketball game at the Rock, I can safely say this - I am definitely looking forward to a calm evening of listening to the prodigal son Dave Popkin and Gary Cohen announcing the game Monday night as the Hall takes on James Madison. At least this time we know we can't get kicked out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

News on Mel

In all my months as a "blogger-journalist," I've had some difficult stories to report. None, however, has been as personally painful as this. 

At exactly 4:52 pm, I had a Facebook interview with my friend, Melvyn Oliver. For those of you who don't know (stop living under the Rock!) Mel has been waiting on word from the NCAA clearinghouse about his eligibility status.

Here are the contents of that interview:

Ben: What's up man. Did you hear anything yet?

Mel: Yea I did.

Ben: Do I want to know? We need you so bad out there.

Mel: It's over wit gotta wait till next year

Ben: Damn. I'm so sorry.

Mel: i kno. its cool im ready for next year ima bring us a championship

Ben: Keep working hard man.

Mel: i got u

Ben: That's all you can do.

Mel: u already kno

Ben: Okay man... gotta run here. Stay strong. Fans all love you, should know that.

Mel: fa sho

What's in a Name: IUPUI


1. a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I'm Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.

It is once again time for our “What’s in a Name” series. This week’s edition will focus on the visiting Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars. While Ben may be the English major, I have decided to take my own approach to analyzing IUPUI's bizarre relationship with the English language.

The visiting Jaguars may have the longest school name in NCAA Division I history. With a whopping 48 letters and 17 vowels, IUPUI is an English teacher’s (wet) dream. Secondly, and the focus of this week’s column, is that IUPUI is one of a few NCAA schools that is a palindrome. A palindrome is “a word, verse, or sentence (as “Able was I ere I saw Elba”) or a number (as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Stemming from the Greek word palindromos, the Greeks used the phrase to capture the backward movement of crabs. I have to imagine that there are at least a few other NCAA schools out there that are palindromes, but IUPUI might be the longest.

The ancient Greeks used the word “palindromos” to refer to the backward movement of crabs, noting that crabs often retraced their steps by moving backwards the same way they move forwards. Having the ability to move backwards and forwards in the same line without altering one’s movements drastically is a lesson that we, as Seton Hall fans, can all learn from. That which may set us backwards – John Garcia’s knee injury, the seemingly everlasting wait for Big Mel and Keon to be cleared, disappointing recruiting news – can just as easily be undone by a few strong steps forward in the very same line.

And that’s all for this edition of “What’s in a Name”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dix-On, Dix-Off

After verbally committing to Seton Hall, Cliff Dixon has announced he is no longer set on coming to South Orange. According to various sources, Dixon felt too "pressured" by the SHU staff. 

Well, wake up, Clifford!! This is Seton Hall we're talking about here! We love the pressure defense more than anyone. Gonzo recruits the same way he coaches: pressure, pressure, and more pressure!!! I would not be shocked at all if Gonzo actually sent Gause and Theodore to Dixon's Hutchinson dorm room to trap him in the bathroom until he slipped a letter of intent under the door. 

But seriously... at Setonia, we're not too worried about this news. Dixon seems like a good player, with good connections to the NBA, but his loss would not be devastating. For right now, we just need to focus on winning games...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hall Wins Tough Battle with Saint Peter's; Garcia Postgame Interview

Wow... that got personal. 

In a game that featured multiple technical fouls, a lot of pushing and shoving, and even a couple patented Gonzo "foot stamps," SHU was lucky to escape Jersey City with a win, beating St. Peter's College 60-46. The squad survived a terrible day of shooting (1 of 15 from deep) and Walters gave some quality time off the bench. Showcasing a rare mixture of emphatic claps and power dribbles, Walters stunned the crowd in attendance when he was wrongly assessed a technical foul for allegedly retaliating during a minor altercation with an opposing player. Anyone who knows Wawa knows that he would never do anything... The kid wouldn't lay a mitt on a butterfly. 

The scariest moments of the game, however, came when John Garcia and Jordan Theodore both fell to the floor with apparent knee injuries in the second half, only a couple seconds apart. Both players were re-inserted later in the game briefly, but questions still swirl. That's why I made sure to catch up with John on Facebook after the game. 

Here's the interview:

Ben: hey you feeling okay man?

John: im ok... thanks for asking.

Ben: you're tough man. that was a battle out there today.

John: yea... im jus glad we won.

Ben: me too man. just glad you and JT walked off alive. we were freaking out in the bleachers.

John: yea but don't worry... ima be okay.

Ben: cool man. great news. okay i'm out for now. nice win.

John: iight fam. thanx. be safe.

Perhaps the only thing more comforting than John's reassurance of his well-being is his expressed interest in mine. "Be safe?" Thanx to you John, I think I'll be just fine. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dave and Ben Featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition!!

Okay, so that's not exactly true. But here are the actual facts:

Today, our Seton Hall Music Video was posted on the Campus Clicks section of the Sports Illustrated website!! Take that, Amanda Beard!!

Thanks everyone for the continuing support -- apparently Gonzo himself has watched the video, and gives it two "foot stamps."

Here's the link. Check it out!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


While Ben and I love an audience and writing our hilariously informative blog entries, every once in a while we like to give someone else a shot. This is our first Guest Column and is written by none other than my old college roommate. A California man himself, he had a special interest in seeing California Baptist the game. Although he may be a PAC 10 supporter (and TuPac fan…posthumously igniting the TuPac v. Biggie beef), we’ll cut him some slack here as he recounts his first Seton Hall game experience:

Hey avid Setonia blog followers and first time readers alike – Guest from the West here reporting on my first trip to the Prudential Center. At the heart of Newark, the Rock is the product of a city working to make a good hand out of the bad cards it was dealt – a fitting home for the Pirates.

What should have been an easy win against visiting California Baptist turned into a back and forth game, with SHU unable to hold on to multiple leads. The Hall's press defense was effective in creating numerous turnovers but inevitably tired out its players. When unable to force turnovers, they looked a little lost when in their half court offense. Gonzo put in Mike Davis and Brandon "Wawa" Walters when John Garcia got into early foul trouble, but they lacked confidence with the ball down low and were too often getting out-rebounded by smaller opponents. Gonzo played Garcia until he fouled out then ran the court with no center for the final 9 minutes of the game. While this was able to work against the smaller Cal Baptist, I’m not sure this will be so successful against the bigger BIG EAST schools.

But enough of my criticisms. Jeremy Hazell and Eugene Harvey both played well with 25 points each and Paul Gause was sniping steals and forcing turnovers all night long. Robert “Stix” Mitchell was sinking his shots and John Garcia was looking good at center until he got into foul trouble.

SHU has a lot of young players, and according to Dave, a few of the new recruits will contribute a lot of talent to the team when they get through the red tape with the NCAA. So for now, the Hall needs to make do with what they have.

To Gonzo, I say this: Get your team to build confidence. If you get your players to think like winners you will be the coach of a winning team...Oh, also, stop yelling in the ref's ears in the middle of plays, it won't change his mind and will probably piss him off. It will also save your Adam’s apple, you'll thank me later...

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Reviews Are In...Two Thumbs Up!

Well, the critics have spoken. And so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone who watched our music video on YouTube (all 2,182 views and counting...) and shared it with friends. Ben and I ask that you continue to share it with anyone who might enjoy it.

Of course, as you can imagine, fame has its cost. Ben and I can no longer take the Path train for fear of paparazzi. Even buying eggs has become an adventure. Still, we would not trade it for the world.

Family, friends, Seton Hall students, fellow bloggers, South Orange residents, random internet surfers -- all of them have had very kind things to say about our video. From Ben's "butterfly foxtrot" to my "Sam Cassell testicle dance," the video has a little something for everyone. However, nobody's response has meant more to us than the players themselves.

We facebook messaged the entire team the night before we released the video as part of our "soft" launch. Afraid they would think we were totally deranged, we naturally were hesitant. Their comments, however, confirmed our suspicions... They love us unconditionally.

Here's what just a few of them had to say about the video:

John Garcia: "thanks alot man..that $%*&'s cool as #*&%..thanx 4 the vid

Paul Gause: "yall funny as #@*^ &*^% was crazy nice job fellas"

Melvyn Oliver: "laughing my *&^ off dat ^&%# was crazy funny......good *@#^ fellas

Brian Laing: "lol thats &$*# funny lol"

While they might not be Ebert and Roeper, their praise was way more meaningful. Thanks for watching and for not issuing any restraining orders.

Stay tuned for the sequel...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Seton Hall Music Video

The first of hopefully many Setonia Productions...Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SHU Soars to Victory; Everything AOK

Tonight's game against Monmouth was a well deserved "breather." As opposed to the last three victories where Seton Hall was forced to overcome double digit victories and pay Coach Gonzalez's enormous shoe repair bills (after all the stomping around, someone has to pay), SHU was finally able to enjoy an easy victory.

Jeremy Hazell lit it up from the floor, matching a carer high of 32 points while going 10-16 from the floor and 6-9 from 3pt range. Euguene Harvey and Paul Gause helped pace an explosive offense. John Garcia got some much needed rest. Mike Davis and Brandon Walters donned their respective mitts and played a combined 39 minutes. There were electrifying dunks and inspired defense. There were alley-oops, 3 point flops, steals, and guys sprawled everywhere on the floor...basically everything you could ever hope from a Seton Hall game.

Then came the unthinkable. With deafening chants of "We Want Pete" echoing through the Rock, Gonzo succumbed to peer pressure and inserted walk-ons Pete "The Falcon" Peregrin and Matt "O Say" Cajuste into the lineup with roughly five minutes to go. Not having practiced much, and definitely not having played much, the two players were understandably a little unsure of themselves when they were asked to play the remaining five minutes of the game.

However, the walk-ons did not disappoint - rather they did the only think walk-ons should do when playing in garbage time...look to shoot at every opportunity! And shoot they did. Cajuste in particular hoisted up a number of questionable, yet hilarious shots with my favorite being his tribute to former Pirate great Augstine Okosun. As you know from reading this blog, AOK was the first SPOTY (Setonia Player of the Year) winner and Cajuste honored him in the only way possible - throwing up an unbelievable bank 3 pointer!!! In a tribute to Okosun's patented finger roll bank jam, Cajuste lofted up an off balanced, highly contested shot from roughly 28 feet that clearly needed the blessings of the reigning SPOTY award winner. Nice job Cajuste! And Augustine, if you're reading this, I hope all is well and please don't hesitate to drop me a Facebook message.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

News on Melvyn???

For the last few months, Seton Hall fans have held their collective breath. We've all been waiting to hear about the pending eligibility of one of Seton Hall's most prized freshmen: Melvyn "Dancing Bear" Oliver.

Now, Dave and I do not have any inside knowledge on this story. I repeat: we know nothing. Zero. Zilch. HOWEVER, as I was perusing my Facebook friends this evening, as I tend to do on most Monday nights to unwind after a fine meal, I happened to come upon this profile update from Big Mel:

"Melvyn is jus woke up from a good ass nap if u kno me good enough u already kno da situation.....hellll yea."

I'm literally not sure what exactly this means. It seems unlikely that the Bear would be napping this late into the evening, which inclines me to believe that this is all some sort of metaphor.

If that's the case, might this mean what I hope it means?? Might the "situation" have just resolved itself??

(Please, please, please, please...)

Monday, December 1, 2008

John Garcia Exclusive Interview!!

At Setonia, we strongly believe in giving our readers all-access to the Seton Hall players. With that in mind, Dave and I are proud to present our exclusive interview with SHU senior co-captain, John Garcia. I caught up with John after Saturday's game against Delaware...

As you can see, the interview wasn't very long. But the details tell you everything you need to know about Big John.

First of all, the very fact that John even dignified my Facebook IM with a response speaks volumes!! John had just played practically the entire game on two surgically repaired knees, yet he still found the energy to talk to a fan. Outstanding!!

Next, let's consider the response time, shall we?? I sent my Facebook IM to John at exactly 9:12 pm. And how long did it take for him to respond, you might ask? Did he go watch TV for a couple hours? Did he open a different browser window in the hope that I might grow discouraged and ultimately log off? No. Absolutely not. He replied at exactly 9:13 pm. How polite!! How punctual!!

And finally there's the content of the interview. Short and sweet, John said more in one word than others have said during their entire lifetime. In response to my compliment on John's play, John answered with a simple word: "Thanx." In this one word, John communicated everything I wanted to hear. With the perfect mix of gratitude and internet slang, John proved it once and for all: he will always be my friend. 

Well, that's all for our interview with John Garcia. We'll be bringing you more exclusive interviews later in the season.