When Kevin Willard took over at Seton Hall following former coach Bobby Gonzalez's self-destruction, the situation didn't look as drastic as most coaching transitions. Herb Pope's health issues are a major concern, sure, but the return of leading scorer Jeremy Hazell and small forward Jeff Robinson from brief dalliances with the NBA draft means Willard will have a built-in store of veteran talent already on his roster. That's a leg up on most rebuilding efforts.
Now there's even more good news: Eniel Polynice, the 6-foot-6, 220 pound forward from Ole Miss, has decided to transfer to Seton Hall. Even better, Polynice graduated as a Rebel without using his final year of college eligibility, and can play immediately under an NCAA rule that allows transfers to skip the customary transfer year if they intend to pursue a graduate degree in a field not offered by their own school. Ole Miss doesn't have a communications program; Seton Hall does. And so Polynice qualifies.
The word is still out on Pope -- his collapse in the Seton Hall gym earlier this summer could be enough to keep him out of basketball indefinitely -- but even if Pope doesn't return, Willard and company have to be, like, totally stoked. Most coaching transitions, at least those that originate out of a Gonzo-esque institutional meltdown, tend to leave the cupboard bare. But it's entirely possible Willard's team will be even more talented in his first year than Gonzalez's was in his last.