Point guard Jaren Sina verbally commits to Seton Hall

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With Aaron Cosby’s decision to transfer to Illinois and the questionable status of Tom Maayan for next season, Seton Hall was in need of some help on the recruiting trail as they move towards the 2013-14 season.

And “help” is exactly what the Pirates received on Wednesday, as 6-1 point guard Jaren Sina (Gill St. Bernard’s HS) announced his decision to attend college in his home state and play for Seton Hall according to Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey.

Head coach Kevin Willard and assistant Dan McHale missed on Sina twice during his recruitment, with the sharpshooter first verbally committing to Alabama and then ultimately signing with Northwestern during the fall signing period.

However a coaching change at Northwestern led to the departure of head coach Bill Carmody and assistant coach Fred Hill Jr., who put in a great deal of work in recruiting Sina. Sina reopened his recruitment as a result of the change, ultimately picking the Pirates over Northwestern and Indiana (who had yet to offer Sina).

Hill Jr. joined Willard’s staff at Seton Hall last week, and his arrival in South Orange only served to strengthen the Pirates’ chances of landing Sina. Sina is Seton Hall’s second commitment in the 2013 class, as Monroe (N.Y.) JC forward Stephane Manga signed his letter of intent Wednesday.

Sina will join a backcourt that currently features Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs and rising senior wing Fuquan Edwin, who was an honorable mention All-Big East selection this season.

The question now is whether or not Seton Hall will retain the services of Maayan, who may have to return to his native Israel to fulfill the three-year military obligation required of all Israeli citizens.

Seton Hall had a tough season on the court, losing 12 of their final 14 games to finish with a 15-18 record (3-15 Big East). And things weren’t much better on the recruiting trail either, as verbal commitments Aquille Carr (will play professionally overseas) and Jerron Wilbut (arrested on charges of robbery) won’t set foot on the South Orange campus.

Given how the 2012-13 season played out Kevin Willard’s program was in need of some good news, and that’s exactly what they received in the form of Jaren Sina’s decision to attend Seton Hall.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.