Seton Hall's Senior Night honorees with head coach Shaheen Holloway (left to right: Kadary Richmond, Dre Davis, Jaden Bediako, Dylan Addae-Wusu and Al-Amir Dawes

Seton Hall Gears Up for Clash with Saint Joseph’s in 2024 NIT Tournament

In the wake of not making it to the NCAA Tournament Sunday night, while several college basketball teams decided to call it quits, Seton Hall chose a different path.

Merely an hour after the disappointment of seeing their NCAA dreams pop in their campus locker room, the Pirates embraced the opportunity to compete in the NIT. Coach Shaheen Holloway put the decision in the hands of his five starting players, who are either seniors or postgraduates.

Holloway shared, “The choice was theirs to make.” Unlike last year where I made the call, this time I had the five seniors deliberate among themselves. I asked them to inform me of their decision once they were ready, and they unanimously agreed they wanted to continue playing.”

The players, Kadary Richmond, Al-Amir Dawes, Dre Davis, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Jaden Bediako, reached this decision together.

Holloway expressed his concern to them, stating, “I wanted to make sure they were all in because there’s no point in playing if we’re not aiming to win it all.” To which, all five confidently responded with their desire to play.

As a result, Seton Hall will enter the tournament as a No. 1 seed, kicking off with a home game against Saint Joseph’s at Walsh Gym on Wednesday at 7 p.m., broadcasted on ESPN2. Saint Joseph’s, boasting a 21-13 record including a victory over Princeton, recently made it to the semifinals of the Atlantic-10 Tournament. A win against the Hawks would mean hosting either LSU or North Texas on Saturday at Walsh, with the time yet to be determined.

Should Seton Hall advance to the quarterfinals, they could face off against second-seeded Princeton or third-seeded Providence. This marks the second consecutive NIT appearance for the program under Holloway, who is in his second year of coaching.

Reflecting on last year’s Big East Tournament, when asked about accepting an NIT bid, Holloway had said, “Given the chance to continue playing basketball, who would say no? I’d love to.” Despite traveling to Colorado for the NIT’s opening round last year and facing a tough loss in the final minute, Holloway’s approach this year remains unchanged.

“For me, being highly competitive, any opportunity to extend our season is fantastic,” he remarked. “The current basketball climate is challenging, with many players opting out or entering the transfer portal. So, I’m extremely proud of my players for realizing that for some, this is their last chance. For players like Al and Jaden, their eligibility is up. For Kadary, Dre, and Dylan, they still have eligibility left as postgrads next winter, but their future decisions are still pending.”

Holloway sees his players’ decision to continue as a testament to their character and a comforting gesture during a tough time.

“The fact that these guys could sit down, have a mature discussion, and decide they want to play made me very happy,” he shared. “It was heartwarming, especially since I felt deeply saddened for them.”

The NIT has seen a slight decrease in its prestige in recent years, especially after the semifinals and final were moved from their historic location at Madison Square Garden to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse.

This year, teams like St. John’s, Indiana, and Ole Miss declined NIT invitations, citing the opening of the transfer portal as their reason.

Holloway hasn’t discussed post-season plans with his underclassmen yet. “Now that they’ve decided to play, we’re focusing on the task at hand,” he stated.

Seton Hall had previously turned down an NIT invitation in 2021 under Kevin Willard, who mentioned the challenges of playing amid numerous pandemic restrictions as the reason.

However, Seton Hall has a proud moment in NIT history, having won the event in 1953 when it was considered as prestigious as the NCAA Tournament.

Jerry Carino has been covering the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the college basketball beat since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 voter. For more information, he can be contacted at