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Seton Hall opens new era with visit from Monmouth

Mar 27, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; St. Peter's Peacocks head coach Shaheen Holloway during a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the finals of the East regional of the men's college basketball NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Seton Hall will start the Shaheen Holloway era Wednesday night when it hosts Monmouth in both teams’ season opener in Newark, N.J.

In 12 seasons under previous coach Kevin Willard, Seton Hall made five NCAA Tournaments and won one Big East tournament and one share of the regular-season title.

Willard departed for the same position at Maryland in March, but fortunately for the Pirates, one of their alumni had just proved himself on the national stage.

Holloway returned home to Seton Hall after guiding No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s on a run to the Elite Eight of last season’s NCAA Tournament in a memorable Cinderella run.

He’s promised the Pirates’ program will reflect the blue-collar class of New York City and New Jersey.

“We ain’t going out there to try to be pretty,” Holloway said. “We’re going out there to try to get the job done by any means necessary.”

Holloway had to restock the program after the Pirates’ top three scorers exhausted their eligibility. Joining top returner Kadary Richmond (8.8 points, 4.1 assists per game) in the backcourt are transfers Femi Odukale (Pitt), Al-Amir Dawes (Clemson) and Dre Davis (Louisville).

Seton Hall said forwards Alexis Yetna and Abdou Ndiaye and freshman guard JaQuan Harris are out indefinitely with knee injuries.

Monmouth is beginning a new era of its own. The Hawks have joined the Colonial Athletic Association after nine seasons in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, their second conference upgrade in a decade.

“When we went from the NEC to the MAAC, it was an exciting, exciting time for us. I was newer at this and I wanted to come after everybody,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “I was just ready to fight every coach and every team and everyone. This time, we’ve been through that and I’m a little more mature. I understand that everybody who gets to do this is really good at it.”

It’s a season of change in more ways than one. Rice must replace a ton of production — six of his top seven scorers and all five of his top rebounders from last season have moved on. Myles Foster (5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 54.0 shooting percentage) will shoulder more of the load in the post.

Rice became close with Holloway in the years he coached against Holloway’s Peacocks in the MAAC, and now they’ll renew a Monmouth-Seton Hall rivalry last played in 2017. Seton Hall has won all 13 meetings between the programs.

–Field Level Media