It's been a rough offseason around the Seton Hall basketball community.
First there was the firing of tyrannical former coach Bobby Gonzalez, which threw the program into minor turmoil (though, to be fair to the post-Gonzo turmoil, it never seemed like Seton Hall existed in anything other than "minor turmoil" for most of Gonzo's tenure). Then there was the horrifying collapse and hospitalization of forward Herb Pope during a workout at the Seton Hall Recreation Center. And, lastly and more trivially, there was the possibility that leading scorer Jeremy Hazell and small forward Jeff Robinson would stay in the NBA draft, leaving new Pirates coach Kevin Willard's cupboard all but bare.
There is some good news on both fronts today. For one, Pope's condition has stabilized and is improving, according to a report by Adam Zagoria. Little is known about the causes of Pope's collapse, and Seton Hall officials aren't disclosing medical details over privacy concerns (nor should they), but for now, the news is decidedly positive.
And as for the basketball team? It turns out both Hazell and Robinson will return to the Pirates next season. That's a major boost for Willard, who now has a solid base of talent already in place and won't have to do a complete from-scratch rebuild of the rough and tumble program he inherited. Hazell and Robinson don't make Seton Hall a lock to make the NCAA tournament, but they do make the Pirates' chances of getting there much, much better.
So, hey, Seton Hall fans, turn those frowns upside down. A bad offseason is, if only gradually, getting better.