Team preview: Seton Hall

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 26, 2006, 11:02 AM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

By the time late August rolled around, Bobby Gonzalez had put together a staff at Seton Hall, assembled a solid recruiting class, done his best to make the switch from "New York guy" to "Jersey guy" and fueled the rivalry with Rutgers and its new coach, Fred Hill.

Oh, yeah, Gonzalez also got married.

Welcome to the world of Big East basketball, Mrs. G. And welcome to the wild, high-speed world of Bobby Gonzalez.

"[My wife] kind of helps me reel it in a little bit," Gonzalez said with a laugh. "I'm a little crazy, and she's more calm."

An NYSE floor trader is calmer than Gonzalez, the high-speed dervish who helped make Manhattan into an NCAA Tournament team and now faces the challenge of re-establishing the Pirates as a Big East force. After taking a "mini honeymoon" to California's wine country, Gonzalez began the serious work of making Seton Hall powerful again. The good news is that last year's Hall outfit played in the NCAA Tournament. The bad news is that the two top scorers from that club are gone, and the team has just six holdovers of consequence.

That's why Gonzalez's first class had to be a good one. Even though he had a short period in which to work, he accomplished that mission. It isn't a deep crew, comprising just three players, but what he reeled in is choice. Two top 100 guards are included in the haul.

"I don't know if we could have done much better," Gonzalez said. "Everything in life is timing. We had playing time to offer, and we sold the Big East."

Gonzalez also sold himself and his success with the Jaspers. That was big. Even though the Big East is a substantial step up from the MAAC, Manhattan's home, Gonzalez had been a "hot" coach for a while. That was a key point in his pitch. If "Gonzo" could do it with fewer resources -- remember that win over Florida in the NCAA Tournament? -- he could be even better at a school with a better tradition and more at its disposal.


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