shaheen holloway
Anne-Marie Caruso |

Shaheen Holloway began his introductory press conference by acknowledging his past. It’s a good sign for the future at Seton Hall.

Shaheen Holloway is a rising star in college basketball. He didn’t need to step onto the coaching carousel after his run to the Elite Eight with Saint Peter’s because he had a job waiting for him — Seton Hall.

The former player-turned-assistant coach is finally fulfilling his destiny as Seton Hall’s head coach. This is his program and he intends to build on the solid foundation that Kevin Willard is leaving. But before he talked about the future in South Orange, NJ, Holloway needed to recognize the past.

The entire Saint Peter’s basketball team showed up for Holloway’s presser, which highlights his deep connection with his players. We can call a spade a spade — the Peacocks were a stepping stone for Holloway on his path to this point.

However, the stepping stone analogy isn’t a perfect one in this instance because Holloway is leaving that program and the MAAC in a much better place than he found it. And that’s why there is so much hope for the future in South Orange.

If he can turn Saint Peter’s into a consistent winner, there’s no reason to believe he can replicate that at a bigger school.

Holloway checks all the boxes for what programs look for in a head coach. He has deep roots in the program already, knows how to recruit local talent, and can go shot for shot with anyone in the country from an in-game coaching standpoint.

It always felt like Willard would eventually leave for a bigger school. It’s only day one, but it feels like Shaheen Holloway is here to stay.

What’s Next for Saint Peter’s?

Holloway is leaving this Jersey City Cinderella in a better place than he found it, but that still begs the question — what comes next for Saint Peter’s?

College basketball insider Adam Zagoria is reporting that “Saint Peter’s is targeting Rutgers assistant Brandin Knight.”

These local schools have a tendency to keep it in the family. Between Seton Hall, Rutgers, Iona, and Saint Peter’s there is so much overlap among coaching staffs and administration. But that’s neither here nor there.

Knight is a Jersey guy who racked up a slew of Big East honors during his four-year career at Pittsburgh between 1999-2003. He’s paid more than his fair share of dues as an assistant, spending eight years on the bench at Pitt before joining the Rutgers staff in 2016.

There are other options out there as well. The Peacocks could promote from within or look to other local schools. It doesn’t sound like anything is a done deal yet.

Saint Peter’s, and the MAAC as a whole, is a great place to go to cut your teeth as a head coach. It won’t always be easy, but the program will have a little more money to work with going forward.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.