Thursday, January 31, 2008

CAPITAL CITY

After winning five consecutive Big East conference games, the Hall now heads to the nation’s capital to tackle the biggest Goliath of them all: G-town. It’s a match-up that only a couple weeks ago had “BLOWOUT” written all over it. Well, Las Vegas, I hope you write your predictions in pencil, because one thing is certain: erasable pens don’t actually work.

Hey, call me crazy. Call me “Cray,” even. (The name of our crayfish.) And maybe I am. But this I know for certain: I’m going to this game. Fortunately, I have a lot of family members in the area I can stay with, many of which I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Will they recognize me in my Gonzone shirt? Will they recognize the man I’ve become? Would former Seton Hall head coach Louis Orr even recognize Brian Laing, the scrawny forward he recruited five years ago from St. Raymond’s who has blossomed into a legitimate NBA prospect, BIG EAST player-of-the-year contender? Brian…is that you?

So I hope you’re listening DC! Prepare yourself, because the Hall is coming, and so am I.

OT Victory Over Rutgers; Walters Still Missing


Wow. Simply incredible.

In an overtime masterpiece that featured some clutch lay-ups from Nunu, a couple huge jumpers from Laing, and even a charity stripe prayer of a “bank shot” from St. Augustine Okosun, Seton Hall pulled out a gritty victory over Rutgers in Piscataway, 84 - 71. There’s a ton to analyze about the game, but we’d be remiss if we did not first address one burning question sure to be on everyone’s mind:

HAS ANYONE SEEN BRANDON WALTERS?

Considering the Hall’s lack of depth at the forward position, it’s been surprising over the course of the season that freshman big Brandon Walters hasn’t seen more playing time. But last night, his absence was nothing short of astonishing. With fellow big men John Garcia and Mike Davis both fouling out of the game with more than seven minutes left, and St. Augustine fouling out shortly thereafter, we all expected that Walters would see some significant minutes. How wrong we were. Opting instead for a four-guard lineup, Gonzo kept Walters beside him on the bench for the entire rest of the game, including the overtime session.

We presume that when Gonzo was recruiting Walters out of powerhouse Lincoln high school, he must have liked his game enough to warrant giving him a scholarship. So what’s happened? Why this lack of faith? It goes without saying that freshmen rarely see a lot of playing time, but it’s not just that Walters isn’t getting minutes. He also isn’t getting seconds, or even fractions of them. Over the course of watching almost an entire season of Seton Hall hoops, I can honestly only remember one play that Walters has made in all that time: it was a game against Morgan State, and he received the inbounds pass, pivoted once (which was unnecessary since the opposing team had stopped pressing a long time ago), and passed back to Harvey. It was just one play, a sheer instant in time, but at the time, I remember thinking that this pivot marked a big step forward for him, even though technically it was not a step. How wrong I was then, how wrong, how wrong…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SHU - Rutgers


It is only fitting that our adventure begins with a truly epic battle: Rutgers vs. Seton Hall.



Tonight's match-up takes on mammoth importance for a number reasons. First, both Rutgers and Seton Hall are coming in to the game playing their best basketball of the year. Rutgers is looking to sustain the momentum it gained with big victories against Nova and Pitt, while Seton Hall is looking to gain their 5th straight Big East win. If Rutgers wins, they're one win closer to a spot in the Big East tournament. If the Hall wins, they further solidify their position among the elite teams in the conference.



But while the game has huge implications for this season, its realimpact might be felt more on the seasons to come. With a number of NewYork metropolitan recruits still undecided, this game becomes ineffect an all-out slugfest for the best talent in the state. You can be sure that all the big names (Cheek, Evans, Kilpatrick, etc) will be tuning in for this one.


Some factors to watch for:

- Rumor has it that Seton Hall junior captain Paul Gause may be suiting up tonight after missing about a month with a broken knuckle on his hand. If so, it should bolster Seton Hall's press, thus forcing turnovers against this young RU backcourt.

- How will Hazell rebound? After a sub-par scoring effort against Cincinnati this past weekend, and the initial sting of receiving a jersey with his name misspelled, will Hazell be able to stroke the three with confidence? While no doubt a sharpshooter, Hazell's game ranges beyond just the outside shot -- look for him to pump fake and drive against the Rutgers defense.







- Can Garcia walk? During the Cincinnati game, center John Garcia was frequently wincing in pain, and struggling even to take the floor. He's not exactly the most mobile big man to begin with, but his post moves on the offensive end give the Hall a great look inside. If Garcia struggles as he did this past weekend, look for Mike Davis to step up against N'diaye.

- As the starting point guard, "Nunu" Harvey is the leader of this squad, and he needs to start better exerting that leadership. You can bet the RAC is going to be pretty rowdy-- it's important that Harvey settle his team down, and set a good example by making his freethrows.




Prediction?

Seton Hall 79

Rutgers 75

Welcome to the Gonzone


Welcome to the Gonzone – home of all things Seton Hall Basketball. As new members to the Blogosphere, we are excited to share with you, our devoted readers, our thoughts about Seton Hall Basketball, the BIG EAST, recruiting, and of course, Gonzo.


Before reading further, however, it's important that you first understand the back story that has led to the creation of this blog, as it will help you better appreciate its significance.


For the last twenty-two years of our respective lives, my roommate and I have been searching for something. We didn't realize it during those years -- we could not fully comprehend the extent of our dissatisfaction and general lack of fulfillment. But then something at once magical and terrifying happened: we discovered our passion --nay, obsession -- for Seton Hall basketball.

Like any obsession, ours is not entirely healthy. It has come at the expense of relationships; other interests. But so far the reward has far outweighed all sacrifice.

Not unlike John Garcia's surgically repaired knee, there's a lot riding on this. We hope you will join us in this legendary adventure.