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Seton Hall officially hires Isaiah Whitehead’s HS coach

Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard announced on Tuesday that he had finally filled out his coaching staff for the 2014-2015 season, although the man that he hired came as no surprise to anyone that was paying attention.

Dwayne “Tiny” Morton will be an assistant coach in South Orange this season, moving up to the Division I level after spending 19 years as the head coach at Lincoln HS in New York City.

“After many years of coaching at the high school level it is a dream come true to take this next step in my career,” said Morton. “It is an honor to join Coach Willard’s staff and work alongside experienced coaches who I have built strong relationships with over the years. Seton Hall University is a very special place with great basketball tradition. I am thrilled to have this opportunity.”

“Dwayne was highly successful as a head coach at Lincoln where he worked with some of the top players to come out of New York City over the last two decades,” said Willard.

Lincoln is famous for being the high school that sent Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson off to the NBA, but the reason that Morton is now coaching in the Big East is his relationship with Pirate freshman Isaiah Whitehead, a five-star shooting guard and top 15 player in the Class of 2014. Desi Rodriguez, a three-star small forward, has also gone from Lincoln to Seton Hall for this season.

There are some that are disgusted when a high school coach uses his relationship with a player to land a cushy, six-figure assistant coaching job. I don’t blame them for feeling that way; it’s not exactly the most savory way to further a career. But it’s a necessary move for Seton Hall to make. Willard needed a talent infusion on his roster. He needed a reason for people in New York and New Jersey to be excited about his team. With Whitehead and Angel Delgado headlining a talented recruiting class loaded with local kids, he’s done just that.

The Pirates are a sleeper to make a run to the NCAA tournament this season if some of those youngsters pan out.

And if they do, than Willard may have saved his job.

Follow @robdauster