kevin-willard

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.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: