NEWARK – Coming into the year, Kevin Willard knew he’d have to rely on seniors Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore for a bulk of his young team's scoring. As the season began to unfold, sophomore Fuqan Edwin quickly emerged as a guy to round out the Pirates big three.
After that, there’s a drop off in offensive production. Seton Hall’s four freshmen that contribute the most, Aaron Cosby, Patrik Auda, Haralds Karlis and Brandon Mobley — who missed the first nine games recovering from a shoulder injury — have yet to significalty help with the scoring load.
While each has shown flashes, none of the quartet has shown consistency. But Cosby may have finally turned that corner.
The 6-foot-2, 190 pounder has put three solid games together starting with a 10 point outing at Connecticut, followed by 9 points at Rutgers, including a big three with 0:45 to help the Pirates pull away.
“That three against Rutgers really got his confidence going,” Willard said.
Which Cosby parlayed into a career-high 19 point outing against Pittsburgh. Something his head coach felt he could do after watching him at Walsh Gym a day earlier.
“I really saw the light go on and yesterday in practice,” Willard said. “He must have made about nine threes in a row and you could just see that he wanted to shoot the basketball.”
Which is exactly what he did, very efficiently. The shooting guard was 7 of 12 from the field including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
So what’s changed?
“I just kind of let things come to me,” Cosby said. “I was more relaxed. I brought more energy and effort on defense and that just translated into offense.”
He added: “I’m reaching more of a comfort level.”
And at the perfect time.
With the Hall on the NCAA Tournament bubble, there’s an added magnitude to every game.
Theodore noted that, at first, Cosby didn’t understand how hard he needed to bring it in college basketball. Especially in a conference such as the Big East. That’s not a surprising issue. It’s one that most freshmen have.
But now, Theodore said that doesn’t appear to be a problem for the Lousiville, KY native anymore. In turn, the point guard has an added confidence in his backcourt mate.
“The way he shoots the ball — it’s amazing,” Theodore said. “He catches it and just lets it go. Every time he lets it go I think it’s good.”
And the confidence of his teammate has seemed to rub off on Cosby. As his first collegiate season is reaching its final stretch, Cosby is now self-assured in his ability to make shots at this level.
“I feel more confident,” Cosby said. “Every game I feel more confident. I feel like I’m doing better every game.”
With the added confidence, it’s apparent that if anyone is going to step up and help out the Hall’s big three, it’s Cosby. And as a team on the NCAA Tournament bubble, it’s something the Pirates could use now more than ever.
“It’s really important,” Cosby said about helping Theodore, Pope and Edwin carry the scoring load. “Those are the main offense guys and people are going to be keying on them, so when I step up it takes pressure off them.”