Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.comNEWARK, NJ — Brooklyn Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo and the 1992-93 Seton Hall Pirates he coached were honored at halftime of Seton Hall's game against the Cincinnati Bearcats this past Saturday afternoon at Newark's Prudential Center. Carlesimo was joined by three assistant coaches, Mike Brown, Bruce Hamburger, and Tom Sullivan, along with five players, John Leahy, Arturas Karnisovas, Luther Wright, Jerry Walker, and Terry Dehere.
The 1992-93 Seton Hall Pirates team is the only one in team history to have won the Big East Conference regular season and Big East Conference Tournament championships. Both trophies were on hand for the ceremony.
That season, the team went 28-7, including 14-4 in the Big East. The team was led by Terry Dehere, who was selected with the 13th pick in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Dehere scored 22 points a game that season. Arturas Karnisovas, the second-leading scorer and rebounder on the team with 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, is now an international scout for the Houston Rockets. Wright, the team's leading rebounding with 7.5 rebounds per game, was also a first round draft pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, selected 18th by the Utah Jazz.
Carlesimo was overjoyed with the honoring of the team. "We love being back in Jersey with you all," he said, mentioning that he had crossed the river from his other job as interim coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Deflecting attention from himself as he usually does, Carlesimo gave all the credit to his team, saying "It's very, very easy to coach this level of player."
Though the current Seton Hall team is struggling, with a record of 13-9, including 2-7 in the Big East Conference, Carlesimo urged patience with the young team and the current head coach, Kevin Willard. "Please support him the way you supported us," he said to the crowd.
Seton Hall entered the NCAA tournament that year with hopes of making another championship run, as they did in 1989 with PJ at the helm. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed in the second round by Western Kentucky, 72-68. In a twist of irony, that team was coached by Ralph Willard, who is the father of the current Seton Hall coach.
Carlesimo is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Seton Hall, and was named the Coach of the Century by the school for his work from 1982-1994. He has since coached in the NBA, both as a head coach and an assistant. Brooklyn Nets fans are hoping for PJ to have some success with the franchise, and perhaps become their coach of the century as well, by bringing a championship to Brooklyn.