Herb Pope finally ‘better than 100 percent’ for Seton Hall

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It’s now or never for Herb Pope. If Seton Hall’s senior is lucky, he’ll finally get a chance to showcase all that talent.

When the 6-8  forward transferred to the South Orange, N.J., school in 2008, he was a guy who’d overcome plenty of personal difficulties to average a double-double as a Pirates sophomore. Yet last season was spent recovering from nearly dying of a heart condition. He was often tired and unable to be a factor late in games.

Now, he’s fit, motivated and ready to show it.

“I’m better than 100 percent this year and I wasn’t close to this last season,” Pope told the NY Daily News. “My goal is to be the Big East Player of the Year … I now feel like I am one of the best power forwards in the country.”

That would be quite the leap. All-Big East would be more likely, and even that would be a large jump.

Pope’s best season – 11.5 points, 10.7 rebounds – came that sophomore year when he was a terror on the boards, but was your standard scorer in terms of efficiency. (Blame a poor FT shooting percentage a so-so FG percentage.) With Jeremy Hazell gone, Pope will almost certainly be Seton Hall’s primary scoring option.

There’s no way I’ll underestimate Pope. He has plenty of motivation and will get chance to showcase it. Sheer effort will make him a double-double guy. And an improved jumper might get him to 15 points a game.

That’d be a remarkable comeback from where he was two years ago. He might earn a few cheers from non-Pirates fans along the way, too.

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