The Seton Hall Pirates had its ups and downs, from beating Louisville, to losing to rival Rutgers. You never knew exactly what you were going to get. But one thing that was consistently relevant in every Pirates game was passion, spearheaded by our four seniors who gave it all for the Pirates.
Angel Delgado, Ismael Sanogo, Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington gave everything they had to this program, and have really shaped Seton Hall into what it is today. Pirate fans, although your views for the future of this program may be bleak, this squad has established a culture unlike any other program with players like Myles Cale and Myles Powell next in line.
They will continue that winning tradition to each of the next few recruiting classes, until it becomes an almost unbreakable chain of Seton Hall brand basketball that we all know and love. An exciting recruiting class is coming up that includes stand-out transfer Taurean Thompson from Syracuse, who many think will be a formidable replacement for Angel Delgado. Although the future can really be a glass half-empty or full situation, losing these seniors will still be a great blow to this program.
We start with forward Desi Rodriguez, the athletic wing who has come a long way since high school. He began his career at Seton Hall as part of the Isaiah Whitehead package deal, and has quickly formulated himself into an all-time fan favorite for this program. The amount of hysterical videos you can find of Rodriguez playing reporter in the interview room, or on the court, always put a smile on the faces of Pirate fans. But his basketball performance has also gone through the roof since his freshman year.
His stats have gone up since his freshman year, going from 5 points per game to 17.5 points per game, becoming one of Seton Hall’s most reliable scoring options over his tenure. His awkward but effective shooting form worked well, as did his patented left-handed floater. Don’t forget about Desi’s absolutely thunderous dunks as well, watching him fly through the lane and jamming it down with authority every time was truly something that got the crowd electrified, no matter what the situation. Desi’s consistent play and constant smile will be something that Pirate fans never forget.
Next comes the tool belt. Many know him as Seton Hall’s “glue guy,” but Pirate fans know him as “Ish.” Ismael Sanogo has been one of the pirates most important players since he came on the team. The Newark, NJ native is an athletic forward who can be your best perimeter and interior defender at the same time. Sanogo brought a fiery passion to the defensive end that the Pirate always looked for. He’s always involved in some fashion on the big plays, rebounds, and buckets that have helped the Pirates preserver over some of their toughest opponents. Ish’s offensive game has also drastically improved this year.
Many Pirate fans used to be worried when Ish had the ball in his hand, thinking that he was just the guy down low to cleanup on the offensive glass. But, this season Ish expanded his game by being able to hit form anywhere on the floor, including three-point range. This new offensive addition was another thing that really helped the Pirates, and helped spread the floor and open up the lane for his teammates like Carrington and Delgado who like playing close to the basket. Whenever Ish stepped on to the floor the crowd was on its feet. Ish would dive for every single ball on the floor, and no play was over until the whistle blew. His heart and ability to care for the little things is something that I feel like many Pirate fans will only appreciate after he’s gone.
The exciting slashing guard is straight out of Brooklyn, NY. Khadeen has always been the scoring jolt that the Pirates needed with the ability to score both mid-range, and outside the arc. When Carrington started heating up, there was almost no way to stop him because of his versatile scoring ability. At the end of that Kansas game, although it didn’t have the outcome desired, Carrington showed Jordan-like tendencies by putting the team on his back. That was a constant theme with him because he was a pure scorer that never stopped shooting. Even if he had a bad game, he always had that shoot-first mentality late in games.
My favorite Carrington memory was his 41 point game against Creighton that was capped off with a diving steal to win the game. Khadeen also faced some adversity during his stint in South Orange, a position change that needed him to play a whole different game then what he’s used to. He took the point guard role with open arms and was a sponge to develop great techniques to put this team in a wining situation. He finished with his assist totals nearly doubled from last years, as well as moving into Seton Hall’s all-time top ten in scoring.
Finally, we get to Angel Delgado. The heart of Seton Hall University. I honestly can’t say that I have ever seen a more passionate athlete then Angel Delgado. His numbers prove just that, with 72 double-doubles. That’s a truly incredible stat that puts him in great company. Some notable names on the list behind him are Larry Bird and Bill Walton, two of basketballs all-time greats. Having Angel in the offensive paint was Seton Hall’s biggest advantage over the past four years. Although Angel didn’t have great jumping ability, he had an unbelievable basketball IQ and made his disadvantages into his advantages by always having better body position for the upcoming shot.
Outside of his rebounding ability, Angel also created numerous points for his teammates with his unreal ability to pass out of the block. Fake hook shot passes are typically moves you see coming from NBA talent, but Delgado made it a common theme to put is back to the basket and rocket the ball to his teammates who always seemed to be open when Angel let the ball rip. It’s because of Angels unbelievable strength and body control that allowed him to always have the edge on any opponent. The final game of his career, although it ended in a loss, I believe was the culmination of everything Angel had worked for and had done for pirate fans.
A 24 point, 23 rebound and five assist performance against the number one seed Kansas Jayhawks showed the true grit of the Big East. Angel showed them just that giving them consistent problems down low and absolutely hammering the Kansas big-men until it was proved who the dominant post-man was. In 2016, when Delgado said he was moving on, it left a sour taste in the mouth of Pirate fans. Was the last memory of the great Angel Delgado going to be missing a point-blank buzzer-beater to stay in the Big East tournament? Pirate fans and Angel both knew that wasn’t the case, and mid-summer, Angel announced that he would be returning to the South Orange with a purpose. This season, he finally got that coveted NCAA tournament win. All that can be attributed to the hard work and never-ending hustle of Angel Delgado.
The Future is bright for the Pirates, but watching next year is going to be tough without these guys. I’m excited to see if the brand they built will stick with the Pirates. By the looks of it, these four seniors have made a big impression on the underclassmen, especially Myles Powell, the only non-senior starter. He is the key to next year’s team. So Hazard Zet Forward seniors. The Seton Hall community wishes you nothing but success.