Arizona was involved. The same was true for Miami, Texas Tech, Florida and Missouri. Major conference schools wanted KC Ndefo to complete his academic career in their programs.
But they lacked one thing: Shaheen Holloway, the new coach of Seton Hall.
“Why not [join] the coach who brought me in and gave me the opportunity and the chance from the start? Ndefo told the Post.
Really, it was a no-brainer for the former Saint Peter’s star and Elmont, NY native, who played such a big part in the Cinderella Peacocks’ run to the Elite Eight last March. He was comfortable with Holloway. He knew Holloway wouldn’t lie to him because of their long history. He was certain that playing for Holloway one last year was the only way to end his college career.
“He’s not going to jerk me off,” the versatile 6ft 7in Ndefo told his adviser, Will Carter, when he made up his mind.
The three-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, who averaged 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a year ago, will play a big role for Seton Hall, though playing in the Big East will require adjustment. Ndefo will face better, taller and longer athletes, more talented players than he is used to in MAAC. Again, against Kentucky, Murray State, Purdue and North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, he averaged 9.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks, proving he can compete with just about nearly anyone.
“What he’s going to bring is the little intangibles, teaching our guys how to play hard, teaching our guys how to compete with every possession, do all the little things to win,” Holloway said.
A Big East assistant coach familiar with Ndefo from his time at Saint Peter’s expects him to make an impact for Seton Hall. In a recent training session observed by The Post, Ndefo was arguably the Pirates’ best player, defending at a high level, creating shots for his teammates and even hitting a few long jumpers.
“He’s an elite defender at every level,” said the coach. “I think he would help any team in our league.”
Holloway believed in Ndefo when no one else did, offering him his only full scholarship after high school. They grew together, Holloway as a coach and Ndefo his best player, and bumped into each other as well. Ndefo entered the transfer portal after his junior season and almost didn’t return to Saint-Pierre. But, eventually, he came back and became a March star like Holloway. Now the kid who wasn’t considered Division I material by everyone but Holloway will play his final season in the Big East.
“I feel like this year is a year of declaration, understanding what is meant to me and understanding what I need to do,” Ndefo said. “It means the world, just being able to walk in with the coach who gave me my first opportunity to play Division I basketball, start a new journey with him after having such a great trip to Saint Peter’s.
“I’m very excited. I’m counting my days until Game 1, being able to play here and at the Prudential Center against big schools. This season alone is going to be so much fun for me.
New York Post