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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two big breaks for Seton Hall

Depending on decisions by two or three key players, Seton Hall could have been anywhere from a team with realistic NCAA tournament hopes to one almost certain to finish near the bottom of the Big East in Kevin Willard's first year.

Judging by the decisions of Jeff Robinson and Jeremy Hazell, the Pirates should be closer to the former.

According to a report by's Jeff Goodman, Robinson, a 6-foot-6 forward from Trenton, and Hazell, a 6-5 guard, have both withdrawn their names from the NBA draft.

That neither had good hopes of being selected was clear almost from the beginning, but their low draft stock didn't provide a guarantee that they would return.

Both have only a year of eligibility remaining, but that hasn't stopped other players from transferring. For an example, just look at Rider-bound Jeff Jones, who actually played a full season after the coaching change in Charlottesville before making the move. Boston College's Rakim Sanders -- a likely addition to Fairfield's roster -- is another such example.

Robinson has already transferred once -- from Memphis to Seton Hall after his freshman year -- but though he said he hadn't thought much about playing next year in Europe, he didn't rule out the move completely.

In the end, though, both wisely chose to return to school. Neither player was remotely on the NBA radar screen, but both -- especially Hazell -- could earn earn professional contracts by having good senior years. In the case of Hazell, the Pirates' leading scorer last year, the NBA could come calling if he becomes one of the Big East's premier perimeter players.

The status of the third Hall player who declared for the draft -- forward Herb Pope -- remains unclear. Pope is in the hospital, recovering after he collapsed during a workout, and even if he's healthy enough to play next year, he may not do so at Seton Hall.

But by retaining Hazell and Robinson, Willard ensured that the Pirates will be relevant in Year No. 1 -- something that, barring a Mike-Rice-propduced miracle, won't be true of the Hall's Garden State rivals to the south.


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