After trudging through the Big East Conference with youthful exuberance over the past two seasons, head coach Kevin Willard finally has a semblance of experience on his squad. Although the likes of Isaiah Whitehead and Derrick Gordon have departed, the Pirates are poised to be mostly junior-laden this season as a hoard of their heavily touted 2014 recruiting class are all now juniors and rich with veteran presence. Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez are the triple threat of Seton Hall hoopers you should have your eye on, but a veteran transfer could also make an impact in 2016.
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The Pirates scored a transfer from Wake Forest earlier this offseason. His name is Madison Jones. Jones will be eligible to play right away for The Hall when they take the floor later this year as they aim to make the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Should they accomplish that, they would do so in consecutive seasons for the first time since a four-year stretch dating back from 1990-1994.
One would figure that Jones will likely play a big role for the Pirates this season. That’s because when it comes to guard depth, there isn’t all that much in the pot for the Pirates. The depth chart is highly weighted towards forwards even with the additions of incoming freshmen Myles Powell and Eron Gordon, as well as the remaining presence of Carrington, Jevon Thomas, Dalton Soffer and walk-on Michael Dowdy Jr.
It isn’t known quite yet if Jones will make the starting five. He’ll figure to have some competition for those roles with Carrington, Desi, Delgado, and defensive ace Ismael Sanogo likely to fill up 80 percent of the starting five. From there, Kevin Willard will have his pick of the litter. Will he go young with one of his 2016 recruits? Will he tab Jones to fill the need at guard? There’s a variety of options, but choosing Jones could have its benefits.
Jones hasn’t played since the 2014-15 season when he and his Demon Deacons had a disappointing 13-19 season. He was a role player for those teams and averaged 3.9 points and 2.7 assists per game in his career. If he’s given that starting role he’ll have to produce better and also improve on his shot selection and efficiency. When glancing at his eFG% and TS% over his career, it’s a little bit of an eyesore as he’s yet to post numbers greater than 50 percent in either category. Furthermore, Jones’ 53.9 percent mark on 2-point field goals as a freshman was not nearly matched in his sophomore and junior seasons. He shot below 44 percent in each of those years and didn’t display much of a willingness to shoot from outside either as he’s only attempted 15 3-point field goal attempts in his entire college basketball career.
He did display a stout assist rate in his time at Wake Forest but given the scope of how things are at The Hall, it would be surprising if he was the primary ballhandler as Khadeen Carrington figures to supplant that role yet again this coming season. So Jones will have to fit within the system. If Willard opts for the youngsters as opposed to Jones, Jones will have to continue to ball as a role player in the second unit which will be imperative to Seton Hall’s successes.
It will be interesting to see what Madison Jones does with Seton Hall given how his first three years of college basketball plays out. He will likely be given a chance to shine in this go around in New Jersey. We’ll see if he has the muster to make it happen in The Garden State, or if he continues to be what numbers indicate that he is.