New York Post - 13.03.2020

(Ben Green) #1

New York Post, Friday, March 13, 2020
Seton hall’s


Willard disappointed, especially for

seniors, but understands decision

By Zach Braziller

Seton Hall’s best season in
27 years will be forever
marked as incomplete.
The hope of a big March
run ended Thursday after-
noon, before the Pirates
could play a postseason
game. First, the Big East
Tournament was canceled at
halftime of the first of four
scheduled quarterfinals
games. A few hours later, the
NCAA Tournament was
called off, too. There is only
March sadness in South Or-
“I don’t think it’s sunk in to
be honest with you,” coach
Kevin Willard told The Post
in a phone interview. “Dis-
belief is how I feel.”
After earning a share of
the Big East regular-season
crown with Creighton and
Villanova, multiple Pirates
were honored by the
league’s coaches. Quincy
McKnight was an All-Big

East honorable-mention se-
lection. Romaro Gill was
named Big East Defensive
Player of the Year and Most
Improbed Player of the Year.
And Myles Powell was
named the league’s Player of
the Year, the first Pirate
since Terry Dehere in 1993
to win the
award. All
are seniors,
all will
never get
one last crack at March.
Depending on how Seton
Hall fared in the Big East
Tournament, it was likely
looking at a three-seed in
the NCAA Tournament, its
fifth straight trip to the
dance. It hadn’t received a
seed that high since it was a
No. 2 back in 1993.
“I’m just like everybody
else, disappointed, but I un-
derstand something had to
be done,” Willard said. “I
feel bad for my seniors. I feel
bad for all the seniors who

put in a lot of time and work
to get into this position
when you have a real chance
of winning a championship.
“You put in a lot of hard
work for eight months to get
to this point,” he added. “I’m
sure they’ll take it hard, but I
always try to tell my guys
ball is
about life
and learning from them. It’s
obviously disappointing,
sad, you’re angry, but you
got to deal with life, man.”
Willard and his team were
following the news Thurs-
day afternoon, watching the
St. John’s-Creighton game at
their hotel. The Big East
Tournament being canceled
was almost expected, but
there was hope the NCAA
Tournament could be sal-
vaged. Willard hoped they
could at least play the
games in empty arenas, but

he feared for the worst as
“Once you saw all those
dominoes start falling, they
were almost forced to do it,”
he said. “I wish they
would’ve had Selection Sun-
day and postponed it for a
few weeks, see what was go-
ing on. But it’s such a big
tournament. Can you get
arenas? Can you get hotels?
Can you get charters?”
It would’ve been very dif-
ficult, and who’s to say coro-
navirus wouldn’t linger?
Schools are being shut
down, spring sports are be-
ing postponed or canceled.
There is no telling how long
professional sports will be
put on hold.
“The hardest thing is all
the people that put the work
in had no say on the decision
or how to make a decision or
how we got to this point,”
Willard said. “That’s the
frustration at this point and
they’re in a bit of shock.”

Powell waved farewell to the
fans at Prudential Center last
week. Now, he won’t get the
chance to return to campus a
conquering hero after what
could have been a
memorable March Madness
run. Bill Kostroun



The college basketball
season came to a close
Thursday afternoon, with
the NCAA announcing it
was canceling the season
due to the coronavirus
pandemic. The inevitable
news came a few hours
after every conference
canceled its postseason
The Post’s Zach Braziller
asks a few questions,
provided with answers,
about what led to this
decision and where
the sport goes from
Q: How come
the NCAA didn’t
consider just
postponing its
men’s and
tournaments and
playing them later?
A: There were just too
many moving parts, from
venues to hotels to travel
accommodations, to make
it work a month, or longer,
down the road. Schools are
closing and already
canceling athletic
programs for the spring
semester. It’s also
uncertain how long
coronavirus will last.
Q: So basically, there are
no champions, right? Has
that ever happened
A: This is a first. Since the
men’s NCAA Tournament
was established in 1939,
there has always been a
winner. This year made
history. Louisville’s title in
2013 was technically
vacated for rule violations
if you want to count that.
Q: Would any players be
able to claim an extra year
of eligibility because of

A: Not under the
current rules. Once a
student-athlete appears
in 30 percent of his or her
season schedule or past
the halfway point of that
season, it counts as a
year of eligibility. Seniors
will have to settle for
their last year not
including March Madness
unless the NCAA makes
an exception.
Q: What happens to
those fans who have
tickets for
A: Anyone
who ordered
tickets from
an official
vendor online or over the
phone will be refunded
automatically. The Big
East is also planning to
refund tickets.
Q: So what’s next? Will
there be coaching
movement? Players
announcing their NBA
decisions, etc.?
Sources believe there
will be less movement by
coaches this year, since
school presidents will be
dealing with the
pandemic and deciding
when to reopen their
institutions rather than
firing a coach because of
a losing season or two. As
for players, expect the
timeline to be moved up.
You’ll see them enter
their names into the NBA
draft or put their names
in the transfer portal,
though visiting schools
and in-person recruiting
is on hold.



NO NEED FOR THIS: Arena workers put away
seats at Atlantic CIty’s Boardwalk Hall after the MAAC
Tournament was called off. AP
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