New York Colleges: Seton Hall

Bobby Gonzalez, the former men's basketball coach at Seton Hall, who was fired in March, pled not guilty to a shoplifting charge in Newark, N.J., on Wednesday.

Gonzalez was arrested last month after being accused of stealing a $1,400 Polo Ralph Lauren satchel from a store in a New Jersey mall.

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Seton Hall signs big man from England

July, 14, 2010
Seton Hall announced Wednesday that it has signed Aaron Geramipoor -- a 6-foot-11, 225-pound post player who hails from Manchester, England -- to join its men's basketball team starting next season.

Geramipoor has been playing at the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands, Spain, alongside fellow Seton Hall signee Patrik Auda, a 6-foot-9 forward originally from the Czech Republic.

Geramipoor reportedly has good hands and footwork in the paint, and will be England's starting center when they compete in the European Championships in Tel Aviv, Israel, later this month.

"Adding another talent from the Canarias Basketball Academy, one [of] the premier schools in Europe, will bolster our frontcourt lineup for next year and beyond," new Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said in a statement released by the school. "Aaron is incredibly long and has great tools for a man his size. We look forward to his growth in our system and believe he can be a real asset moving forward."

Seton Hall's other two freshman signees for next season are 6-6 swingman Fuquan Edwin from Paterson Catholic (NJ) and 6-8 forward Anali Okoloji from Impact Academy (FL), by way of Brooklyn.

Ex-Seton Hall coach Gonzalez arrested

July, 6, 2010
Former Seton Hall men's hoops coach Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired by the school on March 17, has been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at a New Jersey mall on June 29.

Read more here.

Seton Hall

Seton Hall adds Polynice from Ole Miss

June, 30, 2010
Multiple media outlets are reporting that Eniel Polynice -- a 6-foot-6 swingman from Ole Miss -- is transferring to Seton Hall.

Polynice will have one year of eligibility remaining, and should be able to play immediately, because he already graduated from Ole Miss and is entering a graduate studies program at Seton Hall that Ole Miss does not have.

Polynice averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game last season for the Rebels. He was also suspended for one game last March, for conduct detrimental to the team.

More from Adam Zagoria at Zagsblog here.

Seton Hall

Big East basketball matchups announced

June, 25, 2010
Somewhat lost amidst all the hoopla surrounding the NBA draft, the matchups for the 2010-2011 Big East basketball season were announced on Thursday as well.

A reminder: Big East teams play an 18-game conference schedule -- you play every team once, and then there are three schools that you play a home-and-home with.

Let's take a look at the three local Big East teams, and see who they will be playing twice:

St. John's: Georgetown, Notre Dame, Cincinnati

Seton Hall: Syracuse, Marquette, Rutgers

Rutgers: Villanova, Providence Seton Hall

Seton Hall adds a big man from Europe

May, 19, 2010
Seton Hall has added another player to its roster for next season. Patrik Auda, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward who hails from the Czech Republic, has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Pirates.

Auda was playing for a prep school in the Canary Islands. At a tournament in Rhode Island in February, he was very impressive, according to Adam Finkelstein of ESPN Recruiting, who described him as having "a sturdy 6-foot-9 build, great energy and physicality and a well-developed lefty skill set from the perimeter."

More from Finkelstein on Auda: "Auda shot the ball consistently to the 3-point line and was very productive attacking off the dribble from the perimeter, where he has a good handle and efficient economy of motion, taking big strides through the lane. He is extremely physical and even a little mean inside the paint, banging defensively, diligently going to the glass and taking smaller defenders to the low post offensively. While he consistently made plays, his footwork was his most glaring weakness -- he was called for numerous traveling violations throughout the weekend. Physically, Auda has good muscle mass, coordination and agility, but he appeared to be only an average athlete."

Seton Hall

Seton Hall completes hoops coaching staff

May, 12, 2010
New Seton Hall men's basketball coach Kevin Willard formally announced his entire coaching staff on Wednesday.

Willard has brought associate head coach Shaheen Holloway and assistant coach Dan McHale with him from Iona, his previous coaching stop. And he has added Chris Pompey, formerly an assistant coach at New Mexico State.

"I think we've assembled a talented staff of both familiar faces and new personnel to coach these young men and best represent Seton Hall," Willard said in a written statement. "We've hit the ground running and are already looking forward to next season."

Holloway is a former Seton Hall player, and the school's all-time leader in assists. He worked as an assistant under Willard the past three seasons at Iona.

Seton Hall

What Mike Rosario's departure means

April, 15, 2010
It was two years ago that Mike Rosario said he wanted to be a pioneer. On National Signing Day in 2008, Rosario, a McDonald's All-American, went against the grain.

He opted to stay home. He opted to try and attempt the difficult task.

He chose Rutgers. Or, in his words, he chose to be "the prince of New Jersey."

Now, just two years later, after two seasons of losing in the rugged Big East, Rosario has had enough. The 6-foot-3 product from St. Anthony's in Jersey City got has received his release from the Scarlet Knights, giving him a chance to go on and star somewhere else.

He'll probably wind up in Chapel Hill playing for Roy Williams, or maybe hooking up with his former high school teammate Jio Fontan at USC. Two years of top-notch college basketball should follow, making Rosario forget the last two years in Piscataway.

But the lesson we should all learn from Rosario's experience at Rutgers and other blue-chip prospects trying to be Pied Pipers at other places in the Big East is simple.

No one can do it alone. You need help. You need a supporting cast.

Fred Hill knew that and brought in Corey Chandler from East Side High School in Newark. He turned out to be more agony than ectasy and was dismissed from the team at the beginning of last season.

Hill also beat out Villanova and Duke for Gregory Echenique, a lumbering 6-foot-9 big man from St. Benedict's. Echenique transferred to Creighton in December.

Without these players around Rosario, the kid from Jersey City was on an island by himself, making a tough situation more and more difficult by the day.

It was a tantalizing situation for Rutgers, and proof that if one of the local Big East schools was ever going to be able to climb the Big East ladder, almost everything would have to fall into place.

"The problem that St. John's, Seton Hall, and Rutgers all have is that if they put together two or three good recruiting classes, they'll just be getting ready to be competitive while everyone else in the conference is just adding to the foundation they've already built," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told me in Sept. 2008. "That's what makes these jobs so difficult."

Now, 19 months later, all three of those schools have new coaches. All three have made incremental progress, but none have gotten to the upper echelon of the conference.

"If someone in the lower third of the conference were to ever move up in the standings, someone else would have to take a step back," UConn head coach Jim Calhoun told me in early 2009. "Look at our league, who is taking a step back?"

That's what makes the task in front of Steve Lavin (St. John's), Kevin Willard (Seton Hall), and whoever Rutgers chooses to succeed Hill that much more difficult.

Lavin has national ties and a quality roster back next year that should compete for a berth in the NCAA tournament. But Lavin will have to replace a plethora of players after next season that will be lost to graduation.

Willard has an NBA player in Jeremy Hazell, a lightning-quick floor general in Jordan Theodore, and most of the components back from a team that won 19 games last season. However, he might not have Herb Pope, who was the best rebounder in the Big East last year, averaging 10.7 boards per contest. No Pope could mean no postseason next year for the Pirates.

And as far as Rutgers goes, whoever the next coach is knows it's going to take a slew of players to get the Scarlet Knights back into college basketball relevance.

Hill knew that and lost a bunch of players from the program. He led a team that competed every night but came up short.

Now they've lost their best player and have to start over.

There will be a day when Rutgers lands another McDonald's All-American, but it might not come for a long time.

When it does, it's important that whoever the next coach is assures him that he's going to have help. No help means no jump in the Big East standings.

Just ask Mike Rosario.