Seton Hall basketball: 5 pressing preseason questions for 2022-23

A new era of Seton Hall basketball kicks into gear this week as full-scale practices begin under favorite son Shaheen Holloway. Here are five preseason questions as the program continues to transition after 12 years under Holloway’s former boss, Kevin Willard.

1. Who will lead?

The most obvious candidates are two transfers with whom Holloway has longtime relationships: guard Al-Amir Dawes from Clemson and forward KC Ndefo from Saint Peter's. But it’s tricky for transfers to take charge right away. How much Holloway empowers talented, mercurial point guard Kadary Richmond will be fascinating to watch. Another candidate: senior forward Tyrese Samuel, who is the lone four-year Pirate.

Seton Hall Pirates guard Kadary Richmond (0) shoots the ball during practice before the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena.
Seton Hall Pirates guard Kadary Richmond (0) shoots the ball during practice before the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena.

2. How is the chemistry?

With five transfers, three freshmen and an entirely new coaching staff, the pieces will not automatically fit. This isn’t a reference to guys getting along. It’s about understanding and embracing roles, adjusting to Holloway’s expectations, and Holloway discerning the most effective player combinations. Fit is the secret ingredient. Injuries over the summer set this process back a bit.

Seton Hall welcomes Shaheen Holloway as the new men's basketball head coach during a press conference at Seton Hall in South Orange on Thursday March 31, 2022. Former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey and coach Shaheen Holloway have a quick chat.
Seton Hall welcomes Shaheen Holloway as the new men's basketball head coach during a press conference at Seton Hall in South Orange on Thursday March 31, 2022. Former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey and coach Shaheen Holloway have a quick chat.

3. How quickly can Holloway put his stamp on the offense?

There’s no doubt Seton Hall will defend and rebound aggressively from the start. Players who don’t do those things will ride the bench. But the finer points of Holloway’s offense could take longer to instill. The ball-sharing, spacing and shot selection the world witnessed from Saint Peter’s last March took years cultivate. Holloway has to undo iso-ball tendencies from the Willard holdovers. Won’t be easy.

4. How big of an impact will Ndefo have?

The reigning Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year should be pivotal on and off the court. In a frontcourt light on depth, his physicality, versatility and finishing skills around the rim will be paramount. Though quiet by nature, so will his attitude -- Ndefo will kill for a loose ball, he’ll run through a wall for Holloway, and he will give up a good shot to get a teammate a great one. Word to the wise: Do not judge him solely on stats.

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5. What will the freshmen contribute?

Holloway’s preference for a deep rotation means at least two rookies, forward Tae Davis and guard Jaquan Sanders, will get opportunities. The ultra-athletic Davis impressed the coaching staff and observers during offseason workouts. Sanders is a shooter who is still rounding into shape. It’s unknown when the third freshman, guard JaQuan Harris out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, will be ready for full contact after missing much of the past two years with injuries. He could be a redshirt candidate.

Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the college basketball beat since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 voter. Contact him at jcarino@gannettnj.com.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Seton Hall basketball: 5 preseason questions for 2022-23