For 99% of the basketball world this news is a blimp on the radar, but for the Seton Hall faithful and any fanatic of the Big East conference this should sting.
Today Seton Hall announced the number changes for existing players and the numbers that incoming players will wear for the 2020-2021 season, assuming it happens.
Among these numbers chosen are 0, 15 and 31. All numbers worn by members of Seton Hall’s most influential recruiting class of the 21st century, the recruiting class of 2014.
For those of you familiar with the original 5 of the Front Office you know that not only are we all Seton Hall alumni, but we all stepped on campus the same semester as that recruiting class.
The hype was unreal with that class. Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado, Mike Nzei, Ish Sanogo and obviously Isaiah Whitehead. These guys changed the culture of Seton Hall and while it did not take shape until their Sophomore season the groundwork was set for Seton Hall to change from one of the less successful programs in the power 6 to a perennial NCAA tournament team.
As many Big East fans know the 2016 Seton Hall team went on a run at the end of the regular season that changed the course of history of the program and quite frankly might have changed Big East history. Isaiah Whitehead went on a tear which propelled him to being the 42nd pick in the NBA Draft. And Seton Hall rattled off big win after big win, ending in beating future National Champion Villanova to win the 2016 Big East Tournament.
After losing a heart breaker in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament to shouldn’t have been an 11 seed Gonzaga, Whitehead declared for the NBA draft and fans and media across the country counted Seton Hall out. However, it was only the beginning and the 2014 recruiting class, who were now Juniors, along with incoming freshman Myles Powell brought the school back to the NCAA tournament. Much of the same happened in 17-18 and Seton Hall made it back to the tournament and the 2014 recruiting class finished up their Seton Hall tenure (with the exception of Michael Nzei who had one more year of eligibility and made it to the NCAA tournament again, so he was 4/4) making it to the NCAA tournament in 3/4 of their 4 seasons in South Orange. Which was an incredible feat for a program who up until they made the tournament in 2016, hadn’t made it in a decade.
Through it all there was one guy who was arguably the face of the program and that was Angel Delgado. He always played with his heart on his sleeve and was always there to make a clutch play. And his numbers speak for themselves. Delgado is the all-time leading rebounder in Big East history, and has a plethora of other awards to his name. The 2014 recruiting class needs to be remembered in many ways by the Seton Hall program and one of those ways should be to retire the number of the guy that exemplifies what it meant to be a Seton Hall Pirate. It’s a shame it doesn’t look it will happen now that they gave away the number. Nothing against Jahari Long, I’m sure he’s going to continue the legacy of #31 and will kill it as a Pirate, but #31 should be up in the rafters at the Prudential Center.